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The “nh” phenomenon:

It’s this online poker etiquette thing where you win with some crazy hand and people at the table type in “nh” or “vnh” (nice hand/very nice hand) into the chat box. The obligate answer is “ty” (thank you) or “thanks” or something of the like.

I’m sorry.
I don’t do it.

For a while, I’d not talk in the chat box at all, so I didn’t have to answer. But lately, to not appear rude, I’ve been typing “tx” or, more often, just a smilie face in response. But it kills me to do it and when I answer the way I want to, they get snarky back at me.

A Card and a Beer

©2008, 2012 yahneverknow

Why don’t I do it?
Nutshell: It’s idiotic.

Yes, it’s great when you win with 3s full of 8s holding 3-8 off suit against someone who slow-played pocket Aces. It’s a nice hand, once that river 3 comes. But, I’m not going to tell someone like that “nice hand” when they called a raise and re-raise and 3 other callers preflop out of position, only to flop bottom pair 8s and call all sorts of bets and raises. Lucky turn and river and they end up winning, but they did nothing to earn it except go fishing.

So what if the hand ends up “nice” if the idiot holding it played the hand like a moron?

If there are 3 players all in preflop with K-K, A-Q suited, and 7-7, is it really a “nice hand” when the A flops and Q turns and the worst hand at the start wins?

Why don’t I want to say “thanks”?
See above.

Honestly? It pisses me off. I know some people are just being “nice” by saying it, but it’s stupid. Sorry. It is.

If you want to be “nice” then just chat.

If you want to show appreciation for the final winning hand’s strength, say, “WOW!”

If I made a good play or a good bluff bet to get to that hand and that pot, then say that.
And I’ll say THANK YOU.

If I ended up all-in preflop with a well-matched-up premium hand and I win, it’s called LUCK after what was most likely a standard round of bets/raises.
If you say “luck was on your side,” then I’ll say, “Yes it was. THANK YOU.”

When could it be appropriate?
Nutshell: Never. Okay, maybe sometimes.

Usually when I’ve heard “nice hand” in a live poker game, it is meant sarcastically. It translates as “nice suck-out.” But, if you play poker for real, you know it happens. So, you might say “nice hand” to vent a bit or get in a little psychological dig. And if you are the suck-out-er, you might say, “Thanks,” in acknowledgment that you indeed know that you got lucky.

Rarely, I’ve heard it genuinely said and meant, but, again, it usually was referring to the way the hand was PLAYED and not necessarily the actual hand in question.

Maybe I’m live-poker-biased.
Okay, I AM live-poker-biased.
Online poker is a different animal and one that I am still learning.
But the “nh” phenomenon needs to go away. Now.

Cheers!
Michelle