To play successfully, poker players need to know how to predict not only ready combinations but also unfinished hands. To make them profitable over the distance, it is necessary to learn how to correctly assess the probability that the combination will be completed. This will tell you whether it’s profitable to stay in the game with an incomplete hand or whether playing it will bring losses. One of the unfinished hands in poker is a gutshot, and in this article, we’ll look at: what is a gutshot in poker and what the probabilities of winning will be in different situations.
The concept of a gutshot in poker
A gutshot is a type of straight where a certain card is missing before the straight. This usually happens after the flop. The important condition is that there must be a card missing in the middle of the hand. To make it clearer, here’s an example:
- A player on the pre-flop receives two cards, an 8 and a 9
- On the flop, 10, Q, and 2 are on the table
- To make the straight, the player needs a J. This will lead to a better chance of winning.
We should also distinguish the concept of a gutshot street. This term is used by experienced players to refer to a straight that has been folded from a gutshot situation in poker.
Note that the main difference between a gutshot and a regular straight draw is the absence of a card in the middle of the combination. If you are missing a card at the beginning or the end of the combination – such a position will not be called a poker gutshot.
How to play with a gutshot correctly and what are the odds of the combination coming out?
Once we understood what is a gutshot in poker, it is important to consider what the chances of it succeeding are. Gutshot has only four outs, and the probability of any of them appearing on the board by the next round of bidding is just over two percent. So the overall probability of getting a hand on the turn is about 8.50%. By the river, the odds of getting the right card are roughly double by 16.50%. The odds of turning a classic two-sided straight draw into a straight draw are about 31.50%. Consequently, the gutshot is nearly twice as likely to close as the straight draw.
A straight draw with four outs is a relatively weak hand, so it’s usually disadvantageous to keep fighting for the pot if your opponent’s bets are large. However, a gutshot can be used as an argument for a half-bluff in lucky situations. If you beat your opponent out of the pot, great, but if you can’t, there’s always a chance to get stronger.
The strength of the gutshot in poker lies in its unreadability. There may well be enough small odds with a gutshot to make an aggressive hand and – if the cards fail – win the game with a big bluff.