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In the event there are any people left on the planet who do not know what “the nuts” are then here is the definition. The nuts are the best possible hand based upon the community cards that are on the board. There is are only a few conceivable situations where you would check down the nuts. One of these examples I’ll lay out below.
Say that you are in the big blind and one player limps in and everyone else folds including the small blind. You have a pocket pair and you decide to check to see if you can get some action later on in the hand because you believe that you will not get any action if you raise pre-flop and you are also out of position. The flop comes out and gives you the nuts. You now have quads. You check to see if you can entice a bet and get a quick check behind you.
The turn card comes and you still have your quads which is still the nuts. You check hoping that the other player either made something or will try to buy the pot. Again you do not believe that you would get a call if you came out betting, no matter how small that you bet. The other player checks back to you. Now the river card comes out and you still believe that there is no way that the other player would call your bet so you check. The other player checks behind you and you win a very small pot.
Why You Shouldn’t Check The Nuts That Often
For reasons like the above situation, checking down the nuts down too much will often result in other players not making moves on you when you’re praying for a big bet on every street. You’re definitely hoping to make this play against more aggressive opponents, even those who actually have a decent hand to bet out with against your superior holding. For the most part though, good players will read certain board textures and betting tendencies on your part, so you may want to mix up your play before executing something as risky as checking down the nuts all the way to the river. You might as well extract as much value as you can when you have a huge hand and at least make some money!
Are There Any Other Situations to Check Down the Nuts?
For the life of me I can not think of another possible scenario where you could check down the nuts without playing the hand completely wrong. Even looking back at the previous example it seems that at least some kind of bet should have been made on the turn or on the river. The player that limped in pre-flop and checked the turn and the river is probably going to also check on the river.
By betting you would stand a chance of getting a call if he thought you were on a bluff or maybe, if you got extremely lucky, the other player would think that you were on a bluff and feel that if he put in a raise that you would lay down you hand. You should be happy any time that chips are pushed in your direction but it is certainly a less than fulfilling feeling to flop quads and not to take a single bet from another player.
Penalties For Checking Down The Nuts?
When you are in last position there is absolutely no conceivable reason, no matter how hard that you try to stretch the possibilities that you should check the nuts all the way down. Not only that, but if you check the nuts in last position, you could be penalized for doing that. There are rules against checking down the nuts when you are in last position.
The reason for this rule is that the casinos are trying to prevent any form of collusion and since there is no conceivable reason for checking down the nuts in last position on the river then it is considered a move that is punishable by a penalty. Now if you are not in last position, then although it may not be smart to check the nuts on the river, it at least would not be a penalty because you could conceivably have been trying to entice a bet and had intended to check raise.