Originally Posted by nabmom
According to several websites:
In poker, "the nuts" refers to an unbeatable poker hand. According to some poker experts, the term originated in the old west, where players often bet their horse and wagon. When a player put up his horse and wagon in a game, he would be required to remove the nuts from his wagon wheels and place them in the pot, so that he could not flee if he lost the bet. Therefore, it was assumed that anyone would bet "the nuts" with only with the best possible poker hand.
(Wikipedia says that a more likely explanation is that "the nuts" originated from the old English usage of "nuts", meaning "any source of pleasure". But I like the first explanation better!)
" if a farmer ran low on money, he would go out to the stable where his horse and wagon were hitched, unscrew the nuts from the wheels (making it impossible to ride away on the wagon), and return to his poker game
. He would then proceed to "bet the nuts" only when he had the best possible hand, and the phrase gradually came to mean betting on the best possible hand, and then it came to describe the best possible hand itself"