Learning to milk the nuts, or close to it

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How often would you say you hold the nuts? Not very often, right? Once in the big blind with the {5-Clubs}{6-Clubs} I flopped the {2-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{4-Clubs} for the nuts. Sadly, I only had the button in the hand after the flop and made little money. We’ve all experienced this and were disgusted we weren’t able to capitalize.

Thinking outside of the box and realizing how many good players abound in cash and tournament play, we need to utilize other hands we feel are the second, third and (dare I say) fourth nuts.

You’re in middle position in a $2-$5 game and hold the {k-Hearts}{q-Hearts}; you’re the first to act after a limp of $5. You raise to $15 and everyone behind you folds. The small blind folds and the big blind calls, the limper also calls.
Three players will see the flop with $47 in the pot; you have position through the hand.
The flop is {7-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{q-Clubs}. You hold top pair and a flush draw. The big blind bets $50 and the next to act folds. You call.

What type of player is the big blind? He’s a somewhat conservative player who bets with strong holdings. With top pair and second kicker and a flush draw, getting almost 2-1 on the money, this was an easy call for you.

The turn is the {2-Hearts}. The big blind bets $100 into a $147 pot. With your flush you decide the big blind will also make a river bet, so you call.

The river is the JH. With four hearts on board and $347 in the pot the big blind checks. You hold second nuts and want to capitalize on your holdings; what do you do now that the big blind has checked?

You put him on an A-Q after he bet postflop. Would he have checked with the {a-Hearts}? Doubtful. He would want to get additional value for his nut holding. Now is milking time for you to add value with what you feel is the nut hand, absent the {a-Hearts}.

With $347 in the pot, you bet $100 giving the big blind better than 4-1 on the money to make the call.

Holding top pair and top kicker and not holding a heart the player rethinks the hand and remembers you raised to $15 preflop.

He had bet $50 postflop, and you called with two hearts on board, thus he felt you were not indicating a draw. With such a small bet into a big pot he simply can’t resist; he calls with A-Q and you win the pot.

Make small bets into big pots and milk second, third, and even fourth nuts for large profits. If you win two out of four, you’ll likely make a big profit.

— Antonio Pinzari has been playing professionally since the ’70s. He’s the creator of 23 Poker and Wild Tallahassee Poker, which you can learn more about at WildTallahasseePoker.com.