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Do you have the Guts?

In a poker world dominated by the high-octane thrills of hold’em, it’s easy to forget that more variants of poker exist. If you’re having a laid-back card game and aren’t bothered to work out pot odds, expected value or whether you’re being bluffed, then Guts is your game.

Before starting, know that the pot can grow quickly so think conservatively at the ante stage. Then everyone is dealt three cards, and on the basis of your hand, you decide if you’re in or out, usually done by everyone holding their cards (or a chip) above their heads to stay in, and dropping them to fold.

At this point, those playing work toward the best three cards. The hierarchy of hands is straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair and high card. A winner then takes the pot and the losers put up the value of the pot for the next round. So if the pot was $5, and 4 people played the hand, the pot for the next one would be $15, as the 3 losers match the pot. If five people were in, the winner would pick up the $15, and the four losers would collectively throw in $60. This cycle keeps going until only one person declares himself in and is declared the winner.

Then it all starts again with the ante stage. If everyone declares himself (or herself) out of a hand, then players add the original ante to the pot, and the game continues as normal.

One suggestion to curb the growing pot size if you’re out of your depth is to have a cap on it, usually 50 or 100 times the initial pot, with any excess added to the next round. As you can see guts is appropriately named, so give it a try if you think you have what it takes.
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