A gutshot in poker is a straight draw where a card in the middle of the structure is required in order to complete the straight. For example, we hold 5679, only an 8 can complete the straight in this instance. 

In this short guide to gutshot straight draws we’ll learn the following - 

Why is it called a gutshot in poker?

Since it’s generally unlikely that our opponent completes his gutshot straight draw, it can be psychologically painful when he does, making the name gutshot appropriate. The official name of this type of straight draw is inside straight draw but it has almost entirely been replaced by the name gutshot in the modern era.

What is the Difference Between a Gutshot and an Open Ender?

A gutshot straight draw requires a card in the centre of its structure in order to complete the straight, while an open ender (open ended straight draw) requires a card at either end of its structure. For example, the gutshot 5679 will only complete with an 8, whereas the open ender 5678 can complete with either a 9 or 4. Open enders are hence roughly twice as likely to complete as gutshots (depending on the exact situation).

What Are Some Other Names for a Gutshot Straight Draw in Poker?

The official name for a gutshot straight draw is inside straight draw although this has been almost entirely replaced with the term gutshot (or gutter for short) . Another commonly used name for gutshot is the expression belly buster, although the term gutshot is still by far the most common.

How Often Does a Gutshot Hit By the River?

Gutshots have 4 outs (cards in the deck which complete the straight). This means they will hit roughly 9% with one card to come and 17% with two cards to come. Due to their low hitting frequency gutshots are not considered especially strong hands but they can potentially be valuable those few times when they do make the nut straight.

What is a Double Gutshot in Poker?

A double gutshot is simply a poker hand containing two gutshot straight draws. For example, in Hold’em, we hold 78 and the board texture is TJ45. Any 9 or 6 on the river will complete one of our gutshot straight draws. Double gutshots are functionally quite similar to open ended straight draws, since both double gutshots and open ended straight draws have 8 outs to complete the straight.

How Should We Play Gutshots in Poker?

Gutshots may often make good semi-bluffing hands in poker because of their potential to make a big hand. It’s often incorrect to call large bets with gutshots however since they hit so infrequently. Facing a lot of action it’s usually correct to get out of the way.

How Strong is a Gutshot in Poker?

The strength of a gutshot usually depends on the following. Is it a gutshot to the nuts? Nut gutshots are stronger. Is the gutshot formed by using both of our hole cards or just one? Two card gutshots are stronger. Finally, the rank of the gutshot should be considered. A king high gutshot is usually better than a ten high gutshot etc.

Final Thoughts

Gutshots can often be played aggressively due to their potential to make the nut straight by the river. Why not check out this article on the art of semi-bluffing? However, since they hit so infrequently they often don’t get the right price to call when facing aggression. Gutshots should typically call vs small bets on the earlier streets but should fold when facing larger bets on the later streets.

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