Explanation of Gutshot

Gutshot” is the colloquialy name for and inside straight draw in poker. This is a type of straight draw where the card required to complete our straight appears in the middle of the structure. For example, we hold 6, 7, 9, and T, and require the Eight in order to complete our straight. We are hence relying on one specific card to come, which is generally unlikely.

Due to the unlikely nature of a player completing his gutshot straight draw, it can naturally cause his opponent a degree of psychological pain when the draw luckily completes. The term “gutshot” could hence be considered appropriate.

Board: KT5
Hand: AJ

Here is an example of a gutshot in Hold’em. Only the Queen will complete the straight.

Example of Gutshot used in a sentence -> We double barrelled and luckily managed to spike our gutshot on the river.

How to Use Gutshot as Part of Your Poker Strategy

The correct strategy for playing gutshots is naturally linked to the exact variant of poker we are playing. Here are some general strategic principles however -

1. Is our gutshot to the nuts? Gutshots to the nuts are always stronger than non-nut gutshots. Non-nut gutshots run the risk of being dominated when they complete.

2. If we play our gutshot aggressively, can we expect to generate a decent amount of fold-equity? Even draws with very few outs like to play aggressively if they can generate folds. 

3. In Hold’em, is our gutshot formulated using one or both of our hole-cards? Two-card gutshots are always better than one-card gutshots

4. In Omaha, does our gutshot have additional draws to go with it? Naked gutshots in Omaha are garbage, even if they are drawing to the nuts.

5. In Draw and Stud variants, what is the absolute strength of our gutshot if it hits? The higher the top card of the straight, the more valuable the straight draw.

How often does a gutshot hit by the river in poker?

Going from the turn to river in Hold’em a gutshot will hit around 8.7% of the time or one in 11.5. Going from the flop to river in Hold’em a gutshot will hit around 16.5% of the time or one in 6.1.

How often does a gutshot hit by the turn in poker?

Going from flop to turn in Hold’em a gutshot will hit around 8.5% of the time or one in 11.8%. It hits slightly more often going from turn to river because there will now be one less card in the deck that is not an out. 

What is a ‘nut’ gutshot in poker?

A nut gutshout is an inside (4-out)  straight draw that will make the nut straight if it hits. For example, if we hold KJ on a 9T5 texture we have the nut gutshot since a queen on the turn will give us the nut straight. Holding J7 on the same texture is an example of a non-nut gutshot since an eight on the turn will not give us the best possible straight. This is because the jack high straight on the 9T58 can potentially be dominated by QJ which makes the stronger queen high straight on the same texture. 

What is the difference between a ‘one card’ and a ‘two card’ gutshot in poker?

A one card gutshot is made using only one hole card while a two card gutshot is made using both. For example, KJ on T95 is a two card gutshot while K5 on JT9 is a one card gutshot. Two card gutshots are significantly better than one card gutshots because they are more disguised when they hit. Hitting a one card gutshots means there will be 4 cards to a straight on the board making it relatively obvious that we might hold a straight. 

What does the term ‘low end of the gutshot’ mean in poker?

If our hole cards form the lower part of our gutshot straight draw it can be referred to as the ‘low end of the gutshot’. For example we hold the 67 on the T95 texture. This is also sometimes referred to as the ‘idiot end of the straight draw’. The problem is that even if we catch an eight on the turn to make the straight, we can still potentially lose to J7 and QJ. We usually want to avoid investing large amounts of chips with the low end of the gutshot for this reason.

See Also 

Gutshot, Open-ended Straight Draw, Draw, Equity, Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, Fold

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