Poker Flush: what to do to avoid a gutshot or Belly Buster

The poker flush is one of the most coveted hands by players, along with the straight flush and, needless to say, the royal flush. However, more often than not, this project will be incomplete with only one card missing.

The poker glossary is undoubtedly one of the richest and most varied. Each play and each hand have its correspondence in terms as peculiar as the one that concerns us today: gut shot or belly buster.

Do you want to know what these expressions mean and what is their relationship with the flush in poker? Don't miss the following. 

Incomplete poker flush: what to do to finish it?

A hand that is as coveted as it is common in poker games. The flush is, in the ranking of values of poker hands, the first that needs all five cards to be completed.

As you know, the hands that are below the poker flush, such as the pair, the three of a kind or the double pair, need from two to four cards to be completed. The flush requires five consecutive cards that are not of the same suit (in which case we would be talking about a straight flush).

Even when you have a lot of experience and a good number of games behind you, a straight flush project produces that tingling feeling in the stomach that could lead you to bet more than you should. Using mathematical calculations, it is very difficult to determine the estimated percentage of finishing a flush draw that started on the flop.

However, the odds of hitting a flush on the turn, i.e., the fourth card, are 17.02% of the cases. In case you don't get it on the turn, you will be able to do it on the river 17.39% of the time. These incomplete hands, also known as draws, have the potential to become the hand you are looking for, in this case, a flush.

Chances of finishing an open flush

A player has a chance of finishing an open flush when his two-hole cards and two community cards are consecutive. This is an incomplete project that needs a next consecutive card, either on the turn or on the river, to be completed.

In this situation, you have 8 cards that could complete this type of flush.

Chances of finishing a central or inside flush

In this type of project, you only need a central card to form a flush. In this case, we are talking about a gutshot or Belly Buster, terms that we will discuss in more detail in the next section.

In this case, while in the open flush you had 8 cards that could give you the flush, in the case of the central flush, there are only 4 cards in the deck that would complete your project. This is, as you can see, a weaker and more difficult project to achieve.

Possibilities of finishing a double central straight flush

This is a less recognizable type of flush than the previous two. The name of this project refers to the possibility of linking two flushes. Let's look an example:

Imagine you have some hole cards that are J-10, on the table: 8-Q-A. Whether on fifth street, that is the river, a 9 or a K is revealed, you would complete your straight flush draw. Thus, you have 8 cards in the deck that could tie the flush.

Generally speaking, the chances of hitting a straight flush, not a flush or a royal flush, are much higher with respect to the latter. Unlike the 0.00323% chance of hitting a royal flush or the 0.002% chance of hitting a straight flush, the statistics are more on your side in the case of a single flush: 0.4%.

What is a gutshot or Belly Buster: tips and precautions if you have one


The time has come to define the concepts that we have advanced in the previous section.

The name gutshot is popularly known in poker as the play in which an inside or center card is needed to complete a flush. Thus, gutshot is understood as an inside flush draw.

An example of gutshot would be JQ hole cards, and cards on the flop of 8-9-3. You need a 10, that is the middle card, to complete the flush to the Q. This project is more difficult to achieve than, for example, an open flush.

That is why, when faced with a gutshot or Belly Buster, it is best not to have too many expectations to complete it. Thus, to manage this type of play properly, it is best to remain calm so as not to rush your bets.

Remember that, in the case of a gutshot on the flop, you only have 4 cards in the deck to complete your play. In other words, you have an 8% chance of completing a flush on the turn and a 16% chance of hitting on both the turn and the river.

Although it is true that, from the point of view of your opponents, it is a more than propitious situation to bluff, you can use your gutshot to severely damage the stack of your opponents or even force their withdrawal.

But this must be done very carefully because it will always depend on the cards on the table and the hand of the other players: you must pay attention to folded cards that lead to a possible Full House, to the "flush" (that is, the cards of the same suit on the table; if there are 3, watch out!), or to parallel projects of flushes that others have been able to bind. All this must have been "read" in the dynamics of the game and in the bets of the table.

If you play "floating" (the play in which you call a bet without having a strong hand, but in the hope of taking that hand later), play accordingly.

That's why we explain...

How to play with a gutshot

If you have a flush draw or, in this case, a gutshot, you will have to take into account many variables to act in the right way. If you manage to tie the flush, the worst-case scenario would be that your opponents have a higher combination.

In any case, you can practice these useful tips to play gutshot in poker in the best possible way:

  • Don't become a fish: if whenever you get a gutshot you just check or fold when you fail to hit the flush, you are acting like a real fish. It is recommended that, on the most favorable occasions, you play the gutshot aggressively. Try to get him to fold by reraising.
  • Pay attention to the value of the cards: it is more than likely that you will not tie the flush with a gutshot. Maybe no one else at the table has even made it. But don't give it all away. A gutshot accompanied by high hands could give you the win. For example, if you have an Ace hand, your chances of winning are multiplied.
  • If you decide to bet on floating: be consistent with this style of play, but you must be very careful. If a dangerous card appears on the turn, do not hesitate to bet to provoke your opponents to fold.

But if they hold, act with caution. Even if you have tied your flush, a bad reading of the flush, folded cards, or simply a flush card that serves the opponent's flush draw (with a higher flush) and who has also bet on the floating, can end your chances of victory.

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