The term "nuts" in poker — referring to the best possible hand — is of obscure origin. One commonly shared explanation dates back to the Old West and the early days of poker, when rules regarding "table stakes" weren't so strictly observed.
According to Elkan Allan and Hannah Mackay, authors of The Poker Encyclopedia, "the phrase evolved in the frontier states of the nineteenth century when chips or cash were only some of a huge number of goods that could be wagered at the poker table."
"If a player got so deeply embroiled in a hand that he'd run out of funds, he would often end up betting his horse and wagon, which were represented in the pot by the nuts and bolts of the wagon wheels themselves."
It's a neat story — and it gets repeated a lot — although it's hard to know for sure if it's the true source of the term. In fact, if you think about it, here the word is being referring to a bet and not a hand, although perhaps being willing to bet the nuts from your wagon's wheels is something a player should only do with the "nuts."
Less difficult than figuring out where the "nuts" came from is identifying what the nuts would be in a particular poker hand, although sometimes certain boards and situations can be a little tricky. This week's quiz presents eight poker hands, asking you in each case to identify which hand represents the nuts or best possible hand.
Six correct answers earns a passing grade. When finished check "Top results" to see if your entry was the "nuts" compared to others'. If you're signed into your PokerNews account, your username will appear on the leaderboard. Don't have one? Click here.
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