How to Crush a Poker Nit - Copy This Strategy!

How to beat a poker nit

Do you want to know one of the easiest ways to get mediocre poker results in today's game? It's simple, play like a nit.

A poker nit by the way is somebody who plays too tight and only wants to put significant money into the pot when they have a big hand.

Poker nits are the kind of players who will only play about 12% of the hands that are dealt to them in a full ring (9 person) game, and around 18% of the hands that are dealt to them in a 6max poker game.

This means that they are literally folding close to 90% of their hands preflop in some cases while they wait for their pocket AA or KK.

And they are very timid after the flop as well, usually only betting or raising strongly when they have a big hand like two pair or better.

I eat guys like this for breakfast. I love them. And thankfully, the micro stakes are still absolutely full of these poker nits today.

So in this article I am going to give you 5 super easy strategies to crush the poker nits.


Strategy #1 to Crush the Nits - Steal Their Blinds With Any Two Cards 


The first strategy to crush the nits is so simple that it hardly even requires any explaining. Basically I just raise their blinds with any two cards.

Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit here. I am not seriously always going to be raising their blinds with anything.

But if it is folded to me on the button for example, and I see two nits in the blinds who I know will only call or fight back with 10%-15% of their hands, then I am going to be raising a ridiculously high percentage of my hands.

Against a pair of super nits playing < 10% of their hands like you will still sometimes see in full ring NL2 games online, I will actually just raise 100% of my hands.

I may as well be blind-folded, I don't even need to look at my cards. So why I am doing this you might ask?

Well it is simple.

In this extreme example where it is folded to me on the button and there are two huge nits sitting in the blinds, I know that these guys are going to be folding so frequently that it almost doesn't even matter what I have.

I can turn a profit by simply raising with two napkins in this situation.


And since you only need to raise it to 2x or 2.5x the blind, you are risking so little to potentially take down both of the blinds.

It should also be noted that even if you are called, you get to play the entire hand in position (huge advantage).

So this is why it makes sense to steal the blinds with a ridiculous amount of hands when you see a pair of nits in the blinds.

Now if there is only one nit in the blinds and it is folded to me on the button, I will tone it down quite a bit for sure.

But I hope you get the main gist of what I am saying here. If you are playing against nits who want to sit around waiting for their AA all day, then go ahead and steal their blinds all day.

This adds up in a big way over time.


Strategy #2 to Crush the Nits - 3-Bet Them Light


The next strategy to crush the nits is also pretty simple and that is to 3-bet (re-raise) them preflop with a very wide range as well.

You see, here's the thing about nits.

They absolutely hate to get involved in big pots without an extremely strong hand. But as you know, it's really, really hard to have an extremely strong hand in poker.

In fact, most of the time when they raise preflop they will have a hand like:
  • KQ
  • 77
  • 44
  • 98
  • AJ

These are all hands which are decent. But a nit will routinely fold them versus a 3-Bet preflop and "wait for a better spot."

So I will 3-Bet the nits with a very wide range especially when they open in middle position, late position or blind versus blind.


This includes all sorts of hands like:
  • Broadways (KQ, KJ, QJ)
  • Suited Connectors (JT, 98, 87)
  • Small and Mid Pairs (88, 77, 66, 55)
  • Suited Aces (A5, A4, A3)
  • Suited Two Gappers (T8, 97, 86)

I think you get the point. A wide range.

I will 3-Bet the nits light like this especially when I am in position. For example, they raise from the cutoff and I am on the button.

This is because the only thing nits hate more than to call a preflop 3-Bet with a mediocre hand is to call a preflop 3-Bet with a mediocre hand out of position!

It is important to make sure that you DO NOT mess with the nits though when they raise from Early Position. Because this is when they often have a very strong hand.

How to beat a poker nit

Seriously though, this one of the absolute best ways to crush the poker nits in today's games, 3-bet the crap out of them. Just be careful if they open in early position.

If you use a poker hud like PokerTracker then you can just look for the guys who have a Fold to Preflop 3-Bet of 80% or more.

You can literally print money 3-Betting these guys light.


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Strategy #3 to Crush the Nits - Float the Flop and Bet the Turn


The next strategy to beat a poker nit is to float the flop with a wide range and then bet the turn when they check to you.

A "float" in poker by the way is when you call their bet on the flop in position with the goal of taking the pot away from them on the turn or river.

Now, if you have read my latest book The Micro Stakes Playbook, then you will know how big I am on this strategy. And that is because this strategy also literally prints money against nits!

Basically the idea is this.

You want to look for the guys who have a large gap between their CBet Flop% and CBet Turn% stats on your PokerTracker HUD.

A "CBet" by the way stands for continuation bet in poker. This is when you raise preflop and then continue the aggression on the flop and/or turn with another bet.

I typically look for players with a gap of 20 points or more (between CBet Flop% and CBet Turn%) in order to float them wide.

If I see a gap of 30 points or 40 points, then I am literally going to float them with any two cards.

The reason why I look for these large gaps between their flop and turn CBetting percentages is because it indicates a willingness to give up the pot too often.

So I will float them widely, especially in position, if I have any sort of equity at all.


For Example:

We have 54 and the flop is Q84

We have JT and the flop is Q84

We have A3 and the flop is Q84


In all of these situations we have a little bit of equity, bottom pair, a gutshot straight draw or a backdoor flush draw.

This is literally all I need to float these nits on the flop because so often they will just give up and check it to me on the turn. Then I can make a simple bet and just take the pot down uncontested.

If the gap is really wide between their Flop and Turn CBet%, then I will start floating them even wider, with just two overcards, sometimes with nothing at all.

Start using this strategy against the nits next time you play poker. It is literally like free money versus some of them because they just love to give up on the pot if they can't take it down on the flop.

Be careful if the nit chooses to fight back though as this hand shows (nits don't mess around!)



Strategy #4 to Crush the Nits - Double Barrel Turn Scare Cards


The next strategy for beating a poker nit is also one that I have talked about many times on this blog and in all my poker strategy books as well.

And that is to double barrel the turn against a nit on a scare card. Now, what is a scare card you might be asking yourself?

A scare card is any card on the turn that improves the perceived range of our hand and is therefore scary to our opponent. This is a key concept I discuss in Crushing the Microstakes.


Here is an example:

You have 44 and raise in early position in a 6max Zoom 5NL game.

A nit calls you on the button.


The flop comes: 37T

You make a CBet (continuation bet)

The nits calls


The turn comes: A

You should CBet again here (double barrel)


The reason why you want to double barrel on this Ace on the turn is because the nit's continuance range on the flop includes a lot of hands like:
  • 87
  • 88
  • 99
  • JT

All of these hands absolutely hate this Ace on the turn. Also, this Ace perfectly fits into our perceived range when we raise in early position.

The preflop raiser (especially when opening from early position) is "perceived" or expected to have a lot of big aces in his range like AK, AQ and AJ.

So this is yet another powerful strategy that you can use to crush the nits.


Strategy #5 to Crush the Nits - Check Raise the River When They Stop and Go


My last strategy to beat a poker nit is also one of my all-time favorites. And this is the check raise the river when they pull the old "stop and go."

What is a stop and go you are probably wondering?

A stop and go is when they check back the turn for pot control. This is a classic strategy used by nits to control the size of the pot and get to a cheap showdown with their one pair hand.

In fact, they do this so often at the micro stakes in particular, and rarely bluff the river, that it is ridiculously transparent when kind of hand they have.

Something good, but not great.


For Example:

A nit raises on the button in a 10NL 6max game with AQ

We call in the big blind with JT


The flop comes: QT4

We check

The nit CBets

We call


The turn comes: 8

We check

The nit checks


The river comes: K

We check

The nit bets

We should check raise!


The reason why this advanced poker strategy will work so well against a nit is because this is a classic spot where he has checked back the turn for pot control with a hand like top pair.

Again, poker nits love to do this with good but not great hands like top pair.

So when the river comes with a King and the nit bets again we know that our middle pair is never going to be good here.


So we have two options now:

  • Fold (this is decision that 95% of poker players will make here)
  • Raise (this is the great play that a handful of elite poker players will make)

Again, if you have read my latest book The Micro Stakes Playbook, (which is literally a 270+ page manual on how to find the great play in every situation), you know I discuss this on page 208.

Turning your middle pair into a bluff here is the "great play" that absolutely crushes the nits. These are the types of plays that only a handful of the very biggest winners are making.

Because remember when I said that nits hate to put in large amounts of money without a strong hand?


Ya, so the nit is pretty much always value betting here. And our hand is no good. But when the nit checks back the turn, we know that he doesn't have a very strong hand either.

Because again, that's what they love to do. Check back the turn for "pot control" with a good (but not great) hand.

The river King is a perfect card to raise on because it is scary for his hand now. We could have hit a better top pair or made some sort of straight.

You can use this against them by check raising some scary rivers and forcing them to lay down the best hand.

I will also double check my HUD before pulling the trigger on this. I want to know that they have a low WTSD% (went to showdown %), like most nits do.

I am going to be looking for mid to low 20's. If their WTSD% is higher than this, then I know that it is a calling station nit and I will simply fold my hand.

Bottom line, if you want to beat the nits, then you need to look for clever lines like this to apply pressure against in just the right spots.


Final Thoughts


So how do you beat a poker nit?

Well, some of the best strategies are to steal their blinds with a wide range and also to 3-Bet them like crazy preflop with all sorts of speculative hands.

You can also float the flop and bet the turn versus nits that have a large gap between their flop and turn continuation betting frequency.

Lastly, you should frequently double barrel the nits on turn scare cards and check raise bluff some scary rivers when they check back on the turn for pot control.

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Let me know your top strategies for beating a poker nit in the comments below.

How to beat a poker nit

10 comments:

  1. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. How do you play against poker nits? Do you have a good strategy to beat them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some good bread and butter strategies to beat the nits here. I love using the flop float, bet turn line and also double barreling the scare cards. Both work like a charm!

      Delete
  2. "Poker nits are the kind of players who will only play about ... 18% of the hands that are dealt to them in a 6max poker game."
    When you say 18%, do you mean 18% of all possible hand-combos or do you mean a total VPIP of 18%?

    Because even though I open pretty wide on the button o Pokerstars Zoom with about 40% of all hand-combos actually, my total VPIP is just 14%.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great work. Let me as you something: if you have the information that the villan is a nit, but you don't have his fold to 3bet stat yet, do you still 3bet light against him if he's on a late position? Everytime I'm in that spot, I wonder if he will fold a lot because he's fearful, or if he will call a lot because he's range is very strong already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Giovanni,

      If I have never seen him before, absolutely yes. This is something I talk about a lot with Zoom poker strategy is attacking them right away. Because people tend to give you more credit if they don't know anything about you.

      Delete
  4. Some good tips here. I don't mind to play against nits tbh. What's being difficult for me at times is to play against the maniacs, especially when one of them sits to my left. Just hate it... Even if I'm winning 😉 😅

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Pawel,

      Sometimes the best thing you can do when a maniac or aggressive TAG/LAG sits on your left is to simply get up from the table and leave.

      Poker is all about putting yourself in the most advantageous situations consistently. It is never about ego.

      Delete
    2. You're not wrong Nathan. Most of the times leaving the table was/is the best thing to do for me. Working on it... 😊

      Delete
  5. would you recommend using strategy #5 frequently in zoom games that allow no hud?

    ReplyDelete