Short Deck Hold’em has been around for several years and have been played online on the iPoker Network (Ladbrokes Poker, Bet365, William Hill Poker), PokerStars and partypoker for a while. With it's latest rise in popularity due to it's natural more action, it has now also been implemented at Tiger Gaming and 888poker.
Short Deck Hold’em originated in Asia but has recently received more attention in Europe and North America since a couple of star-studded Short Deck Holdem High Roller events featured Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan and more. It also was added to the 2019 World Series of Poker schedule.
It looks like Short Deck (aka 6+ Holdem) is here to stay and its easy to see why -it's a fast, fun variation on your basic run-of-the-mill Texas Holdem game.
Short Deck Hold’em vs. No-Limit Hold‘em
Short Deck Hold’em – also known as Six Plus (6+) Hold’em – is No-Limit Hold’em played with a stripped-down deck. All of the deuces to fives are removed to make the total deck just 36 cards.
1) The Short Deck
To play Short Deck Hold’em you take a regular 52-card deck and remove the twos, threes, fours, and fives. You end up with a 36-card deck传奇sf in which the six is the lowest card – unless the ace is low, of course.
2) 6+ Holdem Hand Rankings
There are a few but highly significant differences in the values of certain poker hands when playing Short Deck Hold’em. In the Short Deck Hold'em hand rankings:
- A flush beats a full house
- Three of a kind beat a straight
Sounds weird? Maybe, but it makes sense.
传奇sfIf you have suited hole cards in regular Hold’em with two more on the board, there are nine cards in the deck that will make you a flush. In short deck Hold’em this number is reduced to five, so the flush is much harder to hit.
In fact, it’s mathematically harder to make a flush than a full house.
Also, as there are four cards missing of every suit this means straight draws happen a lot more often. There are simply less blanks and smaller gaps between the remaining cards.
Thus, it is easier to make a straight than to find a set or trips.
That being said, it’s actually easier to hit a set than in regular Hold’em as once you have a pocket pair there are 2 out of the remaining 34 cards to give you a set instead of 2 out of 50 cards.
传奇sfAlso of important note:
- As in regular Hold’em an ace can play high or low
An ace can even connect with the 6, which is now the lowest card in the deck.
Hence, while the highest straight is still the Broadway straight T-J-Q-K-A, the lowest straight is now:
where the ace basically is a 5.
Official Short Deck Hold’em Hand Rankings*
|36-card Short Deck Hold’em||52-card Regular Hold’em|
|Royal Flush||Royal Flush|
|Straight Flush||Straight Flush|
|3 of a Kind||Straight|
|Straight||3 of a Kind|
|Two Pair||Two Pair|
|One pair||One pair|
|High card||High card|
*Note: There are casinos that value a straight higher than three-of-a-kind in Short Deck Hold’em so make sure to check the house rules!
Short Deck Hold’em Strategy for Beginners
传奇sfIf you want to play Short Deck Hold’em you’re probably already familiar with No Limit Hold’em and other poker games.
Below are some important strategy factors to keep in mind for Six Plus Holdem.
Short Deck Holdem Tip #1: The Rule of 3 and 6
When it comes to odds and outs, you should be familiar with the rule of 2 and 4, meaning:
- You multiply the number of outs you have by 2 or 4, respectively, to roughly calculate your equity on the flop and on the turn.
This rule doesn’t hold true for Short Deck Hold’em. There are less cards in the deck and you are more likely to complete your draws.
In Short Deck Hold’em the rule of 2 and 4 turns into the rule of 3 and 6. Meaning:
- On the flop multiply the number of your outs by 3 to (roughly) calculate your chances of making your hand by the turn
- On the flop multiply the number of your outs by 6 to (roughly) calculate your chances of making your hand by the turn or river
- On the turn you can also multiply the number of your outs by 3 to (again roughly) calculate your chances of hitting one of them on the river
These are the exact percentages:
|Outs||Hitting on the Turn||Hitting on the Turn or River|
Short Deck Hold'em Tip #2: Flush Draws Lose, Straight Draws Gain Value
Let’s say you have a flush draw on the flop. In regular Hold’em you’d have 9 outs to make your flush. But in Short Deck Hold’em there are only 5 cards of your suit left in the deck.
Going by the rule of 3 and 6 your chances of hitting one of those are roughly 15% by the turn and 30% by the river. That’s slightly worse than in regular Hold’em where you complete a flush draw 36% of the time by the river.
However, if you find an open-ended straight draw on the flop (which will happen more often than in regular Hold’em) you still have 8 outs to make your hand (There are now just 31 cards left instead of 47传奇sf – the (stripped) deck minus your hole cards minus the flop).
Thus, you now have a much bigger chance to make your hand. The chances to hit the straight by the river are over 45%.
So, you see, the numbers don’t work the same in Short Deck (6+) Hold’em. You also need to keep in mind that you opponent might have a set and your straight draw can already be dead on the flop. These are the most common draws in Short Deck Hold’em on the flop:
|Draw||Outs||To Complete by Turn||To Complete by River|
|Set to quads||1||3.2||6.5|
|Pocket pair to set||2||6.5||12.7|
|Gutshot to straight||4||12.9||24.5|
|Flush draw to flush||5||16.1||30.1|
|Two overcards to top pair||6||19.4||35.5|
|Set to full house or better||7||22.6||48.4% (*)|
|Open-ended straight draw to straightorGutshot + flush draw to straight or flush||8||25.8||45.6|
|Open-ended straight draw + flush draw to straight or flush||12||38.7||63.2|
(*): On the turn a set has 10 outs to fill up to a full house.
Short Deck Hold'em Tip #3: Stronger Post-Flop Hands Needed
When choosing the hands you play and how to play them, you need to pay attention to the changes of the relative hand strengths.
Pre-flop a hand like J-T is now almost a coin flip to a hand like A-K传奇sf because all the low cards that don’t connect with either of these two starting hands are gone.
As A-K传奇sf would obviously win on all low, disconnected boards its relative strength is now significantly diminished.
The same applies to connected boards. Let’s say a hand is:
- You: T-9
- Villain: A-K
- Flop: K-7-8
In regular Texas Hold’em, you’re now chasing the straight draw with about 32% equity (according to the Rule of 4) while in 6 Plus Holdem this is almost a coin flip on the flop with the straight draw having over 45% equity.
传奇sfHere are two more examples:
1. Pocket pairs have a higher value传奇sf than they do in regular Texas Hold’em because the chances to hit a set are higher.
Also, chances are twice as high to get dealt pocket aces as in regular Hold’em.
2. Hands like top pair, top kicker have a much lower value than in regular Hold’em because the chances are higher for your opponents to overtake you on later streets.
All of these examples show that because of fewer cards in play, the average value of the hands played is higher in Short Deck Hold’em.
Single-pair hands might often win pots in regular Hold’em but in a 6+ game, they rarely do. You need to adjust your game accordingly.
Short Deck Holdem Tip #4: Hands Seem Stronger Preflop
If you’re used to regular Hold’em you know that it’s a rather rare occurrence to see premium hands pre-flop.
For example aces are dealt only once every 221 hands on average传奇sf. But with less weak cards in the deck you’ll see premium hands much more often in Short Deck Hold’em.
For example, you’ll see aces roughly once every 100 hands传奇sf. Also you’re twice as likely to see a hand like A-K in Short Deck Hold’em.
Most hands in Short Deck Hold’em appear stronger preflop传奇sf than they actually are.
传奇sfIn regular Hold’em most players consider a starting hand with any two Broadway cards (ten or higher) as at least playable. But with a short deck you’re dealt such a hand almost one third of the time.
Not only the strength of your hand, but also the strength of your opponents' hands. is higher on average. So many hands you might consider decent in regular Hold’em are trash in Short Deck Hold’em.
Pre-flop Probabilities in Short Deck Hold’em Compared to Regular Hold’em:
|Short Deck Probability||Regular Hold’em Probability|
|Getting pocket aces||0.95% (1 in 100)||0.45% (1 in 221)|
|Getting any pocket pair||8.6%||5.9%|
|Getting any 2 suited cards||22.9%||23.5%|
|Getting jack-ten suited||0.63%||0.30%|
|Getting 2 Broadways (tens or up)||30.2%||14.3%|
Is There More Action in Short-Deck Hold’em?
Yes. And no. You’d think that if there are better hands in 6 Plus Holdem, there would be more action, right?
Well, that's sort of true. Yes, you'll hit a lot more big hands in Short Deck Holdem. But your opponents will too, so it somewhat evens out.
If you play against opponents who are new to 6 Plus Holdem, though, you might be able to exploit them overplaying their hands because they're so excited!
Where to Play Short Deck Hold’em Online
Want to play Short Deck Hold'em online? Short Deck Hold’em is known as 6+ (Six Plus) Hold’em online and available on iPoker skins Bet365 Poker and William Hill Poker. It's also recently been added to industry leaders PokerStars and partypoker.
partypoker launched its own version of Short Deck online, aptly titled "SHORTDECK," which you can access along with our $500 sign-up bonus传奇sf via our review page here:
Watch the video below for more Rules and Strategy tips for 6 Plus Holdem!
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