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Gutshot Straight

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by Jesse Knight
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Gutshot Straight Draw
Gutshot Straight - A straight, made by hitting the only ranked card possible (inside draw) which would complete a straight for that player.

A straight is a medium strong hand that is only beaten by a flush, a full house, four of a kind, and a straight flush. It is a completed hand, meaning that it is not easily improved upon, and is likely to be the hand you will show down. This is in contrast to an uncompleted hand like a flush draw, which needs to hit to have much value, or three of a kind, which can fill up by hitting any number of cards. Even though three of a kind is a medium strong hand, just one hand rank weaker than a straight and often capable of winning without improvement, it is considered an uncompleted hand, because of its potential to fill up and make a much stronger hand.

A straight is made up of five consecutive cards of two or more suits. If your straight has only one suit, it is a straight flush, the strongest hand possible in a non-wild card game. There are several ways a straight can be completed. The different ways have different nicknames, and can also have different probabilities of completion. The three most common types of straight draws are: gutshot straight draws, double gutshot straight draws, and open-ended straight draws.

Before completion, a straight is often a four card draw. This means that you have four of the five cards necessary to complete the straight. But not all straight draws are of the same quality. Depending upon which four cards you are holding, you will have either one or two ranks of cards which will complete your hand. This dramatically affects the value of your draw. For instance, if you were holding 4♠ 5♣ 7♦ 8♥, the only card available to complete your straight is a 6. When you have only one ranked card available to complete your draw it is called a gutshot straight draw. If you hit it and complete the hand, you have made a gutshot straight. This draw is also commonly referred to as a belly-buster straight draw, or an inside straight draw.

If your draw can be completed by two differently ranked cards, you either have a “double gutshot” straight draw or an “open ended” draw. Since both of these draws have two different ranked cards which can complete them, they both have the same probability of completing a straight. This is not the same thing as saying they are of equal strength, because there may be other factors affecting hand strength.

An open ended straight draw is a draw which features four consecutive cards, so that the draw may be completed by hitting the card on either end of your four card run. For example if you were holding 6♦ 7♦ 8♣♦ 9♣, you could complete your open ended draw by hitting any 5 or any 10. There are two notable exceptions to this. If you are holding a 4-3-2-A draw, it is considered a gutshot even though it contains four consecutive cards. This is because it can only be completed by hitting the 5. Similarly, the four consecutive card draw of J-Q-K-A is also considered a gut shot, because it can only be completed by hitting the 10. An open ended straight draw is sometimes referred to as an “up and down” straight draw, or an “outside” straight draw.

A double gutshot straight draw can also be completed by hitting either of two differently ranked cards. The difference an open ended draw and a double gutshot draw is that a double gutshot will contain no more than three consecutive cards. An example of a double gut shot draw would be 7♠ 6♣ 9♥ 5♣ 3♦.

Although open ended and double gutshot straight draws both can be hit with two differently ranked cards, this does not mean that the two types of draws are equal. Open ended draws are often, but not always stronger. This is because double gutshot draws are often middle of the deck draws. This means that they often face the danger of being up against a larger straight draw by a player who is holding high cards instead of middle ones. Consider the following situation. You are playing Holdem and hold 6♠ 3♣, and the board is 7♣ 9♦ 5♦. You have a double gutshot straight draw which can be completed with any 4 or 8. But if you complete your hand with either card you are in grave danger from a higher straight. Often this danger can be so extreme that mucking the double gutshot draw is the correct play. Of course, open ended draws can also face this same danger of being dominated by a higher straight draw. This typically happens if the player is drawing to the bottom end (also called low end or idiot end) of a straight.

Usage: In the Gut, Made a Gutshot, Hit a Gutshot, Double Gutter Straight Draw

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