What is a Nit in poker?
First of all, lets understand what nit poker is. A nit is a negative word that describes the tightest and most risk averse poker players around. It’s a term that can be heard in poker rooms all over the world, when a player loses action or folds a big hand and derides the opponent by calling him a nit. We know a real nit is an insect that can be found on children’s heads. They are itchy, irritating and suck the blood out of the head. I am not sure why this was twinned with the most prudent of poker players, nevertheless, this is what they are.
Nits Are Predictable
A nit is very easy to play against for several reasons. You know they won’t be bluffing; you know they only play a small range of hands and you know they won’t gamble. Poker is a game of missing information, with a nit, by process of elimination, you have a lot of information already. They play their range of hands and they play them the same way most of the time. If you are playing predictably, you are making it easier for your opponents. This is contrary to what you are trying to achieve, you want to be difficult to read, to enforce errors from your opponents.
Nits Miss Out on Value
Due to the cautious nature of a nit, they will miss out on value a lot of the time. Even an intermediate player will be prepared to fold a strong hand if a nit is putting a lot of money in the pot. They also miss out on value by checking back hands they should be value betting or playing flop and turns cautiously when they should be betting and inflating the pot for value later.
Nits Are Restricted to Lower Stakes
A decade ago, nit poker may be enough to get you moving up the stakes. By employing a cautious style against players who are playing 10 tables and not paying attention, you could still have a decent win rate and move up stakes. This is simply not the case anymore. A nit can’t crush the mid stakes so they are restricted to the lower stakes. Everyone is better now than they were. The game is always evolving and getting tougher. It’s survival of the fittest to get to the higher stakes and the fact is, nit poker won’t cut it in today’s poker world.
Nits Are More Likely to Get Bluffed
As a nit, your range is pretty well defined before you even get to the flop. An experienced player will know the range of hands you are playing from all positions at the table. As such, on certain board textures, they will abuse a nit. In deep stacked cash games, a nit may hold Q-Q on a 5-7-8 and be forced to fold by the river if an astute player recognises that the nit is holding a one pair hand and liable to fold to big betting. The worst part is, the nit probably thinks they have made a good fold in this spot when they have in fact lost money.
Nits Lack Ambition
This is contentious point but I mean this from a theoretical and intellectual point of view. Anyone who wants to employ a strategy that involves playing less than 15% of hands are not very ambitious, in my humble opinion. Most strong poker players are profitable simply because they have played so many hands in different scenarios. They are able to adapt to difficult situations.
This article is not meant to pass judgement on nit poker. I am simply highlighting the drawbacks of the nit poker style and how it is unlikely to generate much money in 2020. There are games where nit poker will win you money and that’s fine. I am hoping to reach players out there that are keen to improve their game and understand that they can increase their earning potential and poker ability by modifying their strategy. My intention was not to upset anyone who identifies as a nit.
Are you looking to improve your game and a play wider range of hands to increase your ROI? Get in touch to see how we can help you make money in 2020.