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How to beat the Nit

The nit is a tight, passive player who is only interested in playing premium hands. He or she can resist the urge to call bet preflop bets with cards like Queen Nine or King Eight. Nits play for the money, not for fun. They will wait for hours to hit the ‘bullets’ or the ‘cowboys’ or ‘big slick’. They rarely mix up their play, with their goal being to win one big pot an hour. 

The best strategy against such players is to steal their blinds. If they bet preflop, expect pocket pairs or an Ace with another face card. 3-bets or all-ins would almost always be a premium hand, that is, bullets (AA), cowboys (KK), big slick (AK suited or unsuited), ladies (QQ) or fish-hooks (JJ). Beware of their bet-sizing. They will always value-bet and they rarely bluff. But this can be used against them too. It is easy to pull off bluffs against them, because their play is super tight. 

The other advantage is that when you hit the nuts against them, it is easy to get paid. Assume the following situation. The nit, who is under the gun, raises 200 rupees preflop on a 10/20 table with everybody’s buy-in being 1000 rupees. He has two black Kings in the hole - K♠ K♣, and you call from button position with 9♠ 8♣. 

Flop comes - T♥ 7♠ 6♣.

You have flopped the nuts! But it looks like a fairly safe board for pocket Kings. So the nit raises about three-fourths the pot. You flat call in position, because you don’t want to drive him away so soon. The turn is a 2♣. He checks, you check back, showing weakness, as if you’re on a draw. The river is the J♥. 

T♥ 7♠ 6♣ 2♣ J♥

Your straight holds. He bets, you re-raise, he either flat calls or folds. Either way, you won a decent amount. A good value bet works well against them as calling them all-in might make them muck the second best hand. 

Doyle Brunson is an example of a poker nit. Often known as the ‘Godfather of Poker’ or ‘Poker Royalty’, Brunson is famous for his ‘table image’, which is one of an extremely tight player, who plays only premium hands, and strictly plays by the book. 

Now that you know how to beat the nit, you would also know that you’re better off not being one. Mix up your and play, and be unpredictable. 



Saptarshi 'Pixie' Basak

An avid poker enthusiast, a book bug, highly interested in International Politics and Affairs, he loves the variations in poker, his blogs bring the same variation in writing style and topics.