Guts Poker Rules

Guts Poker is a form of poker that is unlike any other poker variant out there. It’s actually becoming one of the more popular types of poker, but it hasn’t quite yet made its way online or to any casinos.

Players of Guts Poker should note that this game can quickly become more expensive than it appears at first glance. Even a game with small antes can quickly cost unlucky players a lot of money. At many Guts Poker games, the minimum table buy-in is 100 times the ante.

How to Play Guts Poker

The object of the game is to get the best three card poker hand. Because there are only three cards in each hand, the hand rankings in Guts Poker are a little different than for most forms of poker. The following hands are ranked in order with the best hand on top and the lowest hand on the bottom:

  1. Straight Flush
  2. Three of a Kind
  3. Straight
  4. Flush
  5. One Pair
  6. High Card

Each hand begins with each player paying an ante to the middle of the pot. The ante is a small, forced bet of some predetermined amount. After the antes have been paid, each player is dealt three cards face down.

The players examine their hands and then decide if they want to stay in or out. Players who want out of the game simply forfeit their hands and have no other ties to the pot. The players who stay in proceed to a showdown.

After the “out” players have folded, the players still in the hand reveal their cards. The player with the best three card hand, according to the rankings above, wins the pot. In addition to that, each other player who stayed in the hand must match the pot and put that amount in the middle for the next pot.

The cards are shuffled and each player pays the antes. Another hand begins again but this time with an even bigger pot than before. The players get their cards and once again call “in” or “out.”

Once again, the losers of the hand will have to match the amount in the pot. This is where the game gets its name, because it takes guts to stay in when the pot has grown to a large amount.

As these rounds continue, it will put more and more pressure on each player. Eventually, just one player will stay “in” while all the others declare themselves “out.” The last man standing takes down the entire pot.

Example Hand:

  • Six players each pay $0.50 in antes (Pot = $3.00)
  • Each player receives three cards
  • Two players decide to fold and four players stay in
  • The four players show their cards
  • The player with the best hand wins the pot ($3.00)
  • Each of the other three players must donate $3.00 to the next pot
  • The cards are shuffled and all the players ante again
  • The new pot is now worth $9.00 plus the antes for a total of $12.00
  • Three cards are dealt to each player
  •  This time two players stay in and four players fold
  • The two players have a showdown and the winner takes the pot ($12.00)
  • The losing player must donate $12.00 to the next pot
  • The next pot begins with $12.00 plus $3.00 in antes for a total of $15.00
  • This process continues until only one player stays in. When that happens, that player wins the entire pot

Optional Rules

Here are some variations of Guts:

Monte Carlo Guts

In this variation, every player has to match the pot at the end of each hand.

Survivor Guts

The player with the lowest hand is the only one who has to match the pot at the end of each hand.

Coin Declare

This rule should be implemented in most Guts games. When the players declare whether they are in or out, the last player always has the advantage. In coin declare, each player must secretly use the heads/tails side of a coin to declare in or out. In this manner, each player declares in or out at the same time.

If there is ever a hand in which all the players declare themselves out, the pot is simply carried over to the next hand.