Lone Star Poker Series 2020 NJCOOP

Short-Deck Poker: How to Play 6+ Hold'em (Official Rules)

What is Short Deck Poker?

Short-deck poker (also known as six-plus hold'em) is a new variation of traditional Texas hold'em that mostly follows the same rules albeit with a significant difference.

Short-deck poker uses a smaller 36-card deck rather than the full 52-card deck.

Most first heard of short-deck poker after it was introduced among the mix in the high-stakes cash games in Macau.

Short-Deck Poker Rules

Before we discover how to play short-deck poker, let's see how to get to the 36-card deck needed to play a game of 6+ hold'em.

The 36-card deck in use in poker short deck is created by removing the 2xs, 3xs, 4xs, and 5xs from the deck (16 cards).

That leaves the 6xs up through the Kxs as well as the Axs.


What about the Aces?

As in regular hold'em, in short-deck poker the aces still count as high or low when making straights.

The lowest possible straight in a game of short-deck poker is Ax9x8x7x6x (think of the ace as essentially replacing the missing 5x).


Poker short-deck is played similarly to regular hold'em.

Each player receive two hole cards and use them in combination with five community cards to create the best possible hand.

A game of short-deck poker features four streets of betting:

  1. Pre-flop
  2. Flop
  3. Turn
  4. River

However, there are some differences in the poker short-deck poker that you should know about before playing.

Short-Deck Poker Hand Rankings

Short-deck poker can be played according to the exact same rules as regular Texas Hold'em.

The betting can be fixed-limit or no-limit (although most often the game is played no-limit), and the same hand rankings can be used as follows:

Hand RankingHand NamePoker Hand
LowestHigh cardKx6x9x8xQx
 One pairKK5x8xQx
 Two pairKK66Qx
 Three-of-a-kindKKK6Qx
 StraightA6789
 FlushKJ1069x
 Full houseKKK66
 Four-of-a-kindKKKK6x
 Straight flushA6789
HighestRoyal flush10JQKA

For more info about the hand rankings in poker and which hand wins, visit our guide to poker hands.

Alternative Short-Deck Hand Rankings

Short-deck poker is played often employing a different hand ranking system. Here are the alternate hand rankings for short-deck poker (note the differences in bold):

Hand RankingHand NamePoker Hand
LowestHigh cardKx6x9x8xQx
 One pairKK5x8xQx
 Two pairKK66Qx
 StraightA6789
 Three of a kindKKK6Qx
 Full houseKKK66
 FlushKJ1069x
 Four of a kindKKKK6x
 Straight flushA6789
HighestRoyal flush10JQKA

As you can see, following these alternate poker short deck hand rankings a three-of-a-kind beats a straight (instead of vice-versa), and a flush beats a full house (instead of vice-versa).

Why a Different Hand Rankings?

These changes were introduced the because the removal of cards from the standard deck alter the probabilities of making certain hands.

For example, with only nine suited cards (instead of 13), a flush is harder to make in shord-deck poker than in regular hold'em.

Six-Plus Hold'em Variation — The Deal (Fifth Street)

One other popular variation often introduced in six-plus hold'em has to do with the way the river is dealt.

The game can be played according to the same procedure followed in regular hold'em, with the community cards coming in the same way — flop (three cards), turn (one card), and river (one card) — and betting rounds after each street.

More often, though, instead of a river card being dealt to complete a five-card board, players are each dealt a third hole card instead.

Players then make their five-cardpoker hands by using exactly two of their three hole cards and three of the four community cards.

The building of hands resembles the procedure followed in Omaha poker where players must use two of their four hole cards plus three board cards to make a five-card poker hand.

Short-Deck Poker Basic Strategy

As you might imagine, the removal of low cards and use of the 36-card deck makes it more likely to make higher value hands, a change that tends to introduce more action.

You should adjust your thinking about relative hand values from what they are used to in regular hold'em.

The smaller deck makes it easier to make two-pair hands, which means a hand like top pair-top kicker is no longer as strong in six-plus hold'em as it is in regular hold'em.

Straights and full houses are also easier to make in six-plus hold'em than in the regular version of the game (a reason for the alternate hand rankings).

The odds of hitting certain draws change, too, in short-deck pokr.

Just to highlight one example, filling an open-ended straight draw becomes more likely in poker short-deck.

While you're still looking for the same eight outs there are fewer total cards in the deck, thus increasing the percentage you'll make your straight.

The smaller deck also affects the likelihood of being dealt certain hands. [∫]You're more than twice as likely to get pocket aces[/B] in short-deck poker than you are in regular hold'em!

Finally, players being dealt a third hole card instead of there being a fifth community card obviously affects hand values as well, making it even more likely that players improve their hands — yet another factor that has to be taken into account when calculating odds and considering your final-round betting strategy.

Conclusion

Short-deck poker / 6+ hold'em introduces several exciting twists to traditional Texas hold'em, creating an action-filled alternative that many players are finding especially enjoyable to play.

The changes from regular hold'em aren't terribly complicated, making it easy to new players to learn and play right away.

Short-Deck Poker FAQ

How do you play Short-Deck Poker?

A game of short-deck poker follows the same rules and gameplay as Texas hold'em poker.

The players receive two hole cards and they need to combine them with five community cards to create the best possible five-card hand.

Short-deck poker, however:

  • Uses a 36-card deck rather than the full 52-card deck
  • Ranks the hands differently compared to Texas hold'em

All the details to know before playing a game of short-deck poker are in this article.

Why is short-deck poker so popular?

The game of short-deck poker, os six-plus hold'em became famous at the high-stakes games in Macau. Due to the smaller deck, the game makes it more probably for players to hit high-value combinations.

Where is short-deck poker played?

You can play short-deck poker live at most poker festivals. If you are looking for games of short-deck poker online, check out the pokes sites listed on this page.

What's the best short-deck poker strategy?

The removal of some low-value cards from the deck changes the game's basic strategy and the value of different poker hands.

To understand ranges and odds in short-deck poker, have a look at this article.

Must Have Rooms

Home to the biggest tournaments online, these rooms also have the largest player base, great bonuses, tons of action and the best software. If you don't have accounts here, you are missing out on the best that online poker has to offer.

Unibet Poker

Unibet Poker gold

€20 extra + €200 bonus

RATING

9.5

Key features

  • Lobby is very easy to navigate
  • Extremely recreational player friendly
  • Software is fast, slick and looks great
Play Now Read Review New customers only. +18. Only one offer per household. Min €10 deposit. Playthrough bonuses are released in increments and automatically credited to your real money balance once cleared. Rake from all poker game types contribute towards the playthrough requirement. The play-through bonus will expire after 60 days of activation and any un-cleared bonus money (levels) will be lost. T&Cs apply.
VISAMasterCardPayPal
bet365 Poker

bet365 Poker

€365 Welcome Bonus

RATING

9.2

Key features

  • Can use your account for other bet365 products
  • Wide range of tournaments, many have large guarantees
  • Speed Poker (fast-fold) available
Play Now Read Review 18+. Create an account and log in to receive your Welcome Package. €365 bonus is redeemed in instalments based on Status Points earned. Tickets and prize wheel spins expire after seven days. Time limits, exclusions and T&Cs apply.
VISAMasterCardPayPal
Slotomania

Slotomania

20,000 Free Coins

RATING

9.0

Key features

  • Wide selection of slots to choose from
  • Players from the United States are accepted
  • 100% legal in the USA
Play Now Read Review 21+. New players only. For amusement purposes only. You declare that you are 13 years old or older. If you are between the ages of 13 and 18, you declare that your legal guardian has reviewed and agrees to these Terms. Full T&C apply.
VISAMasterCardPayPal