What is the nit in poker? Origins and strategies

In poker, the “nit” is usually a term that refers to a very specific way of approaching the game. Hence, it has been used as a qualifier to talk about a specific type of player, who bases his game on a niche strategy.

In this post, we are going to talk about nit in poker, its meaning, what it implies and what strategies a nit player uses. Maybe you’ll discover a new way to enjoy poker and you can give a twist to the way you play.

What is a poker nit?

The term “nit” in poker refers to a specific type of player who is characterized by his extremely conservative style of play. His profile fits the type of player who bases his strategy on observation and caution, and who makes decisions only when he sees with clear data that he is not taking more risks than necessary.

That leads to nits being known for their extreme ability to be selective in the hands they play. In fact, they usually prefer to play only those that have a very high probability of winning.

But that has a downside: it makes them very predictable. That breaks with some of the basic precepts of poker, and being so easily “x-rayed”, it is very easy to establish a pattern of action for them. In other words: they are very easy to fit.

Nit poker origin

The concept of “nit” has its origin in the jargon commonly used in poker, and has been part of its glossary for years. Although there is nothing certain about the origin of the term, it is believed that it arose at some point in a live poker game, and ended up being consolidated with the rise of online poker.

In the early days of poker, when games were played primarily in casinos and land-based tables, players who took a highly conservative approach were often perceived as reluctant to risk any money in the game.

This perception was associated with the idea that nits only bet when they had an extremely strong hand. Over time, the term “nit” caught on and became a common label to describe these cautious players.

The rise of online poker in recent decades has brought the term “nit” to a wider audience. With the ability to play multiple tables simultaneously, playing styles, including nit playing, became more apparent and more popular.

Nit poker strategy

The nit poker strategy is based on five main points: the careful selection of hands, the position at the table, the necessary ability to avoid unnecessary risks, having total control of the bets placed and the bankroll, and having the ability to make a detailed and adequate reading of the opponent’s game.

  • Detailed hand selection. It is the main characteristic of nit players, and it is the basis of their strategy. Therefore, the first step takes place directly preflop, when you decide to make the first bet. Although you can back off the flop and avoid playing, many nits, depending on their level of obsession with getting perfect results on risk-free hands, avoid even making a preflop bet, based on the probability that a hand will be good or bad. No. Many, for example, insist that it is only convenient to play one out of every fifteen hands.
  • Take into account the game IP. Playing position in a Texas Hold’em game is important, but for nits it’s everything. Out of position, a nit will never know how to move, which is why his strategy always takes this point into account.
  • Without taking absurd risks. Another “must” for a nit player: the risks they tolerate are extremely low. Although there is always a range that allows for slight variations in the game’s nit readings, they will generally never talk if they don’t see the possibility of winning clearly. For them, the unknown of victory is an unacceptable risk.
  • Perfect BRM and full control of the bets. One thing nit players are very good at is having excellent bankroll control, in part due to their ability to pick so selectively the hands they play. There is some debate as to whether there is merit in having such a good BRM playing so few hands, since the consequence of playing fewer hands is that it allows for better bankroll management by betting so little.
  • Correct reading of tells. This is basic to know how to judge the situation well. A nit player is not scared, although doubt is the germ that will lead him to abandon the hand. But in the event that he decides to go all the way and wins, he will demonstrate an unquestionable ability to read the game, and this makes them good players.

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