For those unfamiliar with the term, a "nit" is person that plays a very tight style -- often "ABC" poker or something similar.
In tournament poker, playing like a nit will often lead to falling short of the money or just escaping with a min-cash.
However, there are times where playing like a nit in cash games can work to your advantage.
1. Your Raises Get More Respect
Whenever you're playing a tight style of poker, you'll often get more respect for your raises. Players will think "he isn't in the pot unless he has it," and if you start hearing your opponents say this you know your tight image is working.
This can work to your advantage in a couple of ways. First, you can force out calling stations and players that play too many hands.
They think you've got a strong hand and they usually aren't going to play back at you unless they have a strong hand.
When players think you're only betting when you have it, they're often going to lay down hands in marginal spots. This is good, as you don't want them outdrawing you.
This can also help you when you're drawing. If you flop a straight or flush draw and bet or raise with that draw, they're going to put you on a made hand.
When you complete your draw, they may bluff into you trying to represent the hand that you just caught.
2. It Neutralizes Maniacs
When you start getting more respect for your raises, your tight image can help to neutralize the maniac players at the table. They'll be less likely to bet and raise into you as much because they "know you have it."
I was able to use this to my advantage in one of the craziest $2-$4 Limit Hold'em games I've ever played at the Trump Taj Mahal.
A couple of players decided to buy-in with $400 and were capping the betting every hand. They were passing time and didn't care what they won or lost. At least that was the image they portrayed.
I sat in the game and "nitted it up" in hopes of cracking these two. Over the course of the next hour I played two pots and both times took monster pots for that size of game.
Afterwards, both players slowed down whenever I came into the pot.
Once they started slowing down when I was in the pot, I played a few more hands that were speculative and then cracked them for a few more pots.
3. Bluffs Work More Often
Nits don't bluff. They only play when they have the cards.
That's what you want them to think. This will allow you to come in on occasion with a less than premium hand and perhaps run the occasional bluff.
Since you're dubbed a nit, they're going to give you credit for having a hand and your bluffs will work a higher percentage of the time.
The key here is to make sure you don't get caught bluffing as it can help to ruin the image that you've built.
4. Nits Succeed More at Lower Stakes
There are times where playing like a nit will work to your advantage but if you decide to use this style on a frequent basis, it will be prohibitive once you start moving up in stakes.
At lower stakes, though, you'll find that many of the players are so bad that a tight style can still be a consistent winner.
To be a successful player, you need to be able to change your style of play to suit the situation and the players at your table.
There are times where you will have to be the table nit in order to turn a profit. When that happens, remembering what we just covered will help you win more and keep your opponents guessing.