OBJECTIVE OF GUTS: To win the pot by having the best hand of cards.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 5-10 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card
RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
THE DEAL: Starting from the player to the left of the dealer, each player is dealt 2 (or 3) cards face-down.
TYPE OF GAME: Casino/Gambling
HOW TO PLAY GUTS
Guts may be played with two or three cards. The rules remain the same, there are just more hand combinations with three cards. The ranking of hands in three card guts is (from high to low): straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair, high card. In two-card guts the player with the highest pair or, if there are no pairs, the highest single card wins.
After players pay the ante, each receives two or three cards. Once looking at their cards, a player decides whether they are in or out, starting to the left of the dealer. Players who are in may hold a chip in their fist, and players who are out will have an empty hand. The dealer will ask people to open their hands and reveal their status in the game.
Players who stay in go to showdown. The pot goes to the player with the highest hand. If there is a tie in two card guts, the player with the highest ranked card/pair wins.
Players who declare “in” but does not have the highest hand, each put an amount equal to the whole pot in. This forms the pot for the next hand. Excess chips are set on reserve if the pot exceeds the agreed upon value.
If only one player says “in” and all others have backed out, that player receives the whole pot.
In this variation, players all decide whether they are in or out at the same time. Players will typically hold their cards face-down over the table, the dealer will call “1-2-3 DROP!,” and players drop their cards on the table if they’re out.
This has disadvantages, such as the late drop. Players may try to delay their drop to assess what other players remain, if any. Using chips is, therefore, the preferred method of declaration.
If all players declare out the pot remains for the next hand. Players may be required to put another ante in the pot. A fun variation is the wimp rule, in which the person with the highest hand who declared out must pay the ante for all the other players.
In games where more than one player stays in, only the player with the worst hand is required to match the pot. Players who tie for worst hand must both match the pot. Players must pay an ante for every hand, only the player(s) who matched the pot do not pay an ante (only on that following hand).
If players are unsatisfied with the ability for players to win because all others dropped they can add a “kitty” or “ghost” hand. This hand is dealt to no one nd exposed at showdown. In order to win the pot, players must beat the kitty or ghost hand as well as all other players.
This variation removes bluffing from the game, making it less tactical and at times less interesting.