Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nuts, the n.3

(US Und.) the shell game under shell n.; lit. the shells that are used to hide the pea.

[US]R. McCardell Conversations of a Chorus Girl 15: ‘Circus Joe,’ who worked the nuts on the edge of the crowd.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 37: I'd like to have the privilege o' playin' the nuts in the middle of the main street of the town for just about a week, an’ I'd have all the dough I'd need for the rest o' me life.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl.

In compounds