Some terms used in the game descriptions that may not be that familiar
Guts Game - a game where there is no
regular rounds of bet. Once the cards are dealt each player decides whether
they are betting for the entire value in the pot. The winner takes
the pot, the loser(s) match the pot. Usually, the players that did
not lose (including the winner) ante for the next round.
The game ends when only one player stays in.
One of the key factors in a guts game is the process of declaring whether
you are in or not. We have seen/tried 3 different ways to do this:
walk-around - each player, starting at the player to the left of
the dealer, in turn declares whether they are in or out. If the last
person (the dealer on the first round) is the only person to
declare that they are in, the question goes around a second time to
see if anyone wants to challenge them (the last person on the first
round cannot change their mind) -- this is to keep the pot from being
There is a substantial advantage to being the person just before
the last person (the person to the right of the dealer on the first
round) since if noone else has declared in, they can declare in and
the only person who can stop them is the dealer (it does not go around
a second time if anyone other than the last person is the only person
to declare in). So, we usually rotate the starting location for
each round of the deal (one position to the left, so for the second
round, the person to the dealer's left will be the last person to
chip-in-hand - each player takes a chip below the table and
brings their hand above the table closed. Once all players are ready
they show their hands. Players with a chip in their hand are in and
those without are out.
Usually, we add a wimp-rule that comes into play when
nobody has a chip in their hands. This rule states that in such a
case, the person with the best hand (which would have won had they
stayed in) must match the pot up to some limit (usually $5 to $10
on a quarter ante game). This is to encourage people to stay in
when they have a decent hand.
drop-cards - each player holds their cards over the table
and once all players are ready, they drop their cards if they are
out. Players holding their cards are declaring in. The wimp
rule can also be applied to this game.
We have found that it's too easy to see what other players are
doing at the card drop and change your bet (dropping your cards
if you see too many others holding their cards, or vice-versa) so
we don't use this option any longer.
Loser(s) pay the winner rather than the pot (the pot grows slower
this way, and the winner has a bigger pull). For some reason, this
is usually the way we play when playing
Burn The Cross, but not most other
Set a limit on the max match (so if the pot is larger than the
max match, the winner takes the pot and the loser(s) match the
limit. We have found that setting too low a limit makes it too
easy for people to stay in, causing the game to go on longer than
High-Low Split - the pot at the end
of the game is split between two players with one half going to
the player with the "highest" hand and the other half going to the
player with the "lowest" hand. The definition of the "highest"
and "lowest" hand will vary depending upon the game.
Interesting twists to a High-Low Split game:
highest poker hand is 5 of a kind (wild cards) followed by
a straight flush, 4 of a kind, and so on.
lowest poker hand is A 2 3 4 6 with at least one of the cards
in a different suit than the other cards. Next lowest hand is
A, 2, 3, 5, 6. And so on (A, 2, 3, 4, 5 is not a low hand
as it is a straight).
going both ways - in some games you can attempt to win
both the high hand and the low hand. If you win both, you win
the entire pot; however, if you do not clearly win both (notably
with a tie) you loose both -- so it is rare for one to try to go
The opportunity to go both ways usually comes in games where
you have some of the cards which you don't use in one of the
hands (such as a 7 card poker hand where you can only use 5
of the 7 cards as your "official" hand and so could use 5
different card for each hand (some overlapping, of course)), or
you have some cards that can have different values (such as
an Ace in some games which can have 1 point or 11 points).
declaring - at the end of the game, before the players
show their hands, the players MUST declare which hand they
plan to win (the low hand, high hand, or both hands)
If they choose to attempt to win both, they MUST win both (a tie
in this case would count as a loss) or they loose both.
Since one might change their mind when the see how others
have declared, the declaration is done by placing chips in
your hand and all players showing their declaration
The chip declaraions are as follows:
No chip - Low
one chip - High
two chips - Both
The value of the chips doesn't matter, it's just the number
We usually place the chips in our hands under the table (all
of us obviously taking 2 chips under the table) and hold our
hands out over the table such that the chips are hidden and
showing the chips at the same time when everyone is ready.
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