Guts Rules


Guts, or Guts Poker, is a fun and easy-to-follow poker game. Compared to an actual poker game, the rules of Guts are very simple and do not involve much strategy. However, Guts rules can easily be altered to match the level of the players. Guts can be played by any number from 2 to 5+ players, making it very suitable for both smaller and larger groups.    

Three-card Variant of Guts

As with most card games, there are many different variants of Guts. Traditionally, each player is dealt two cards. However, Guts can also be played with three cards per player instead, as seen in the variant called “Three-Card Monte Carlo Guts,” which will be explained in the following. With three cards instead of two, the number of possible hands is increased yet remains less than in an actual poker game. Even with more possible hands, three-card Guts should still be easy to play, which makes it suitable for beginners as well. As money is typically involved in the gameplay, you should always get familiar with the rules before playing and make sure to gamble responsibly.  


The Pack

The standard 52-card pack.



Three cards are dealt to each player.


Order of Poker Hands

The order of poker hands in three-card Monte Carlo Guts from highest to lowest: • Straight flush: Three cards that follow in the sequence of each other and are of the same suit, e.g., a 6-7-8, that are all hearts. • Three of a kind: Three cards of the same kind, e.g., three 7’s. • Straight: Three cards that follow each other in sequence yet have different suits. • Flush: Three cards of the same suit that do not follow in sequence of each other. • Pair: Two cards that match, e.g., a pair of queens. • Three singletons: Three cards whose rank do not match each other.


The Play

At the beginning of each round, players must ante into the pot. Each player must then look at their cards and decide whether they are “in” or “out.” To call whether you are in or out, the players must either place a chip in their fists or leave them empty. Players’ fists are revealed at the same time. A player with a chip in their fist is in, and a player with an empty fist is out. The highest hand of the players who are in wins the pot. Players who call out cannot win the pot. With the Monte Carlo variant, every losing player who has called in must match the pot and not just the player with the worst hand.Unlike other poker games, three-card Guts does not involve a draw or a betting round. The players who have called in simply reveal their three-card hands, and the player with the highest hand wins. The other players who called in match the pot, and a new round begins.

Other outcomes

In any given round, there might not be at least two players who call in. Instead, it is possible that only one player calls in or even that no players call in at all.


In the event that only one player calls in, the player is uncontested and automatically wins the pot. However, it is possible to incorporate a rule variation that uses a dummy hand. If a player is uncontested, a dummy hand is dealt. To win, the player’s hand must be higher than that of the dummy hand.   


In the event that all players call out, a new hand is dealt, and no one wins the pot.


The game continues until a player wins an uncontested pot.