A look at gutshot strategies in Texas Hold’em

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Posted on: July 31, 2020 6:39 pm EDT

Gutshots are one of the most exciting draws possible in poker

When playing Texas Hold’em another strategy worth learning about is gutshots – also known as “inside straight draws” – which is just one kind of draw that you can catch in poker. It basically means that you will have four cards to improve your draw, which is only half of the number of cards you could have to improve the situation in an open-ended straight draw. Gutshots can come with other qualities to take into consideration and, in some cases, the hand can even have a double gutshot, so it is important for you to understand how to modify your poker strategy when particular situations appear.

To have a better visualization of how this play would look, let’s say the flop presents a Q-10-6 combination and your pocket cards are 8-7; that’s certainly a gutshot since it only needs a 9 to become a made-straight. However, under the same circumstances, having A-K also becomes a gutshot since it only needs the J to make another straight. Focusing only on the AK combination, which becomes quite hard to play when the flop comes with a gutshot, it requires some other mixed strategies to make the most out of it.

When holding pocket A-K, you also need to pay attention to the range-vs.-range-equity estimates. Knowing how to play gutshots with an A-K combination will also give you a solid base to face other draws, such as nut flush draws with the same combination. Even though these hands have great chances of becoming a powerful hand, a common mistake is to always approach this hand in an aggressive way. When facing this situation, the best strategy to apply is a continuation bet (c-betting) that can help you gain momentum, but it will depend on your position in a table. If you are the small blind, you should approach the hand carefully and not overextend yourself.