Poker Home Games – Pimp Guts

June 18, 2007

Pimp guts is an interesting game I learned a while back in high school, and it’s one that’s made its rounds through the home-game circuit all over the country, becoming fairly well known. I will, however, give everyone an explanation of how it’s played below for the purpose of being able to elaborate on it with our own home-game, mutated variations of pimp guts that will come in future blog articles.

So here we go with “regular” pimp guts.

1. Each player receives 3 total cards, two down and 1 up.

2. The highest up card is deemed the pimp. If two people are stuck with the same card, and that card is the highest on the table, then they’re both the pimp. Being the pimp means you are automatically in the hand whether you want to be or not.

3. Going around the table, starting with the person to the left of the person pimped (if multiples are pimped, then use suit to break the tie to determine where to start) each person must decide if he or she wants to stay in or out based on the strength of their 3-card poker hand. As in many 3-card guts games, flushes and straights do not count. The best hand you can get is three of a kind, followed by a pair, followed by high card.

***Note*** Although flushes and straights do not count in the poker hand hierarchy, they do afford the player the opportunity to receive three new cards. Some games play that person then is automatically in, and some play they still have the option to go out after that. The decision, of course, is up to the house.

4. Players show their cards and the best hand winds. If only one person stays in (namely the pimp), then that person faces off against the grill, three cards dealt off the top of the deck. The grill, as well, can take 3 new cards if it draws a straight or flush.

5. Those who went in and lost have to pay pot plus one ante to the middle. So an initial 5 dollar pot (with a dollar ante) would mean you must pay 6 bucks to the middle if you stay in and lose.

6. Game continues until someone clears the pot.

7. Usually players will set an agree-upon “roof” before the start of the game, a dollar value to cap the pimp rule in pimp guts. If the pot exceeds that roof amount, the high card switches from being pimped to being the “pole position.” This means two things. First, he or she does not have to go in, and second, he or she gets the opportunity to play last (a big advantage if nobody else takes a chance to go in, and you’re sitting with King high, you may feel lucky enough to go in, knowing you’ll only have to beat the grill.) High card ties are broken with suit, as only 1 person can be pole position.

8. To make things even more interesting, you can make pairs, triples or quads “in” during the game, so even if they’re not the high card, if pairs are in and two people get a 7 face up, then they’re both pimped in addition to the high card on the table.

This is the basic format for pimp guts, and things can get quite hostile when you’ve been pimped 4 times in a row and lose each time, effectively cutting deep into your chip stack through no fault of your own. But chance, of course, is a big part of games like pimp guts…as is the payoff.  You’ll have a hard time finding Pimp Guts online at sites like StarPoker, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it in your home games.