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Short Deck Hold'em Pre-Flop Strategy

Short Deck Poker

The $1 million guaranteed Short Deck Series began on GGPoker today and runs until Sunday, February 27. Over 100 events are planned and the series is headlined by a $200,000 guaranteed $525 buy-in Short Deck Bounty Main Event.

Short Deck Poker, also referred to as 6+ Hold'em, is a poker variant that has grown since the latter half of the 2010's. Popularized by the likes of Tom Dwan and Triton Poker, the mainstream poker world has since fully embraced Short Deck poker. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has incorporated Short Deck bracelet events in its schedule since 2019, with Alex Epstein being the first player to win a WSOP Short Deck event.

Short Deck poker has also successfully infiltrated the online poker sphere as well, as evidenced by this GGPoker series and being a popular game on PokerStars.

What is Short Deck Poker?

For those unfamiliar with Short Deck, here is a brief description of the game and how it differs from regular Texas Hold'em. A more comprehensive Short Deck guide can be found here.

The main four things you need to know about Short Deck are:

  1. There are only 36 cards in a deck as all cards lower than a six are removed
  2. Each player posts an ante every hand and only the button puts in a blind
  3. Flushes beat full-houses
  4. An ace can act as a five, so {a-}{6-}{7-}{8-}{9-} would be a straight

These differences make Short Deck an incredibly fun game to play, but hopping into a game blind could leave you in some precarious spots. It would be wise to note these Short Deck pre-flop tips before jumping into GGPoker's latest series.

Offsuit vs Suited Hands

One difference between Short Deck and Texas Hold'em that causes people to raise their eyebrows is the fact that a flush beats a full-house. The reason for this is that you are statistically more likely to make a full-house than a flush.

If you make a flush in Short Deck, you're likely to win an enormous pot as you are often going to be up against strong but weaker hands. A hand like {j-Hearts}{10-Hearts} is not only stronger than {j-Spades}{10-Clubs} when it comes to equity but it is a much better hand as you'll win more huge pots over time.

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Pocket Pairs Are Devalued

There are some Short Deck formats where a three-of-a-kind is a stronger hand than a straight. However, in 6+ Hold'em on GGPoker and PokerStars this is not the case so naturally pocket pairs aren't as valuable in this instance. Flopping a set is always a good feeling but in Short Deck, if you don't boat up your trips will often be beaten by a straight. Due to card removal, it's much easier to make a straight in Short Deck than in NLHE.

Overpairs are also not as nutted as they are in NLHE, an opponent holding two-pair, a set or straight is more likely to happen in this format. Playing low pocket pairs like 66-88 can also get you into some shaky situations as set over set happens a lot. In Short Deck, pocket pairs make a set on the flop 17% of the time.

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Know Which Hands Are Trash

Stealing blinds in NLHE in late positions with marginal hands like {a-Spades}{8-Hearts} or {k-Diamonds}{8-Clubs} is completely normal but in Short Deck it is heavily discouraged. This is because these hands are actually the equivalent of trash holdings like {9-Hearts}{4-Clubs} in regular hold'em.

A hand like {q-Hearts}{9-Hearts} is fine to open in late position as you can straights and flushes. It makes much more sense to use this as a stealing hand.

Furthermore, offsuit {a-}{x-} hands are not suitable stealing candidates as just having one pair on the flop and no draw to the nuts is a terrible place to be in. Broadway aces are obviously a lot more playable but you must recognise that these hands do not perform well when compared to NLHE.

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GGPoker Short Deck Series Full Schedule

DATETime (GMT)BUY-INEVENTGuarantee
Sun, Feb 2011:00$888Short Deck Asia High Roller $888 [3-Stack]$20,000
Sun, Feb 2011:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$10,000
Sun, Feb 2011:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2012:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$5,000
Sun, Feb 2010:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2013:00$125Short Deck Sunday Special $125 [3-Stack]$8,000
Sun, Feb 2014:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$25,000
Sun, Feb 2014:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$8,000
Sun, Feb 2014:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2015:00$1,500Short Deck Sunday High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$30,000
Sun, Feb 2015:00$250Short Deck Sunday Main $250 [3-Stack]$15,000
Sun, Feb 2013:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2016:00$210Short Deck Bounty Turbo $210$8,000
Sun, Feb 2017:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2019:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2020:00$10,300Short Deck Super High Roller $10,300 [3-Stack]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2020:30$5,250Short Deck Bounty Super High Roller $5,250$75,000
Mon, Feb 2110:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Mon, Feb 2111:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$6,000
Mon, Feb 2111:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Mon, Feb 2112:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$4,000
Mon, Feb 2113:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Mon, Feb 2113:00$125Short Deck Daily Special $125 [3-Stack]$5,000
Mon, Feb 2114:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$20,000
Mon, Feb 2114:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$5,000
Mon, Feb 2114:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Mon, Feb 2115:00$1,500Short Deck High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$25,000
Mon, Feb 2115:00$250Short Deck Daily Main $250 [3-Stack]$8,000
Mon, Feb 2116:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Mon, Feb 2116:00$210Short Deck Bounty Closer $210$4,000
Mon, Feb 2117:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Mon, Feb 2119:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Tue, Feb 2210:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Tue, Feb 2211:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$6,000
Tue, Feb 2211:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Tue, Feb 2212:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$4,000
Tue, Feb 2213:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Tue, Feb 2213:00$125Short Deck Daily Special $125 [3-Stack]$5,000
Tue, Feb 2214:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$20,000
Tue, Feb 2214:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$5,000
Tue, Feb 2214:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Tue, Feb 2215:00$1,500Short Deck High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$25,000
Tue, Feb 2215:00$250Short Deck Daily Main $250 [3-Stack]$8,000
Tue, Feb 2216:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Tue, Feb 2216:00$210Short Deck Bounty Closer $210$4,000
Tue, Feb 2217:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Tue, Feb 2219:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Wed, Feb 2310:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Wed, Feb 2311:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$6,000
Wed, Feb 2311:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Wed, Feb 2312:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$4,000
Wed, Feb 2313:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Wed, Feb 2313:00$125Short Deck Daily Special $125 [3-Stack]$5,000
Wed, Feb 2314:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$20,000
Wed, Feb 2314:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$5,000
Wed, Feb 2314:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Wed, Feb 2315:00$1,500Short Deck High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$25,000
Wed, Feb 2315:00$250Short Deck Daily Main $250 [3-Stack]$8,000
Wed, Feb 2316:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Wed, Feb 2316:00$210Short Deck Bounty Closer $210$4,000
Wed, Feb 2317:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Wed, Feb 2319:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Thur, Feb 2410:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Thur, Feb 2411:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$6,000
Thur, Feb 2411:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Thur, Feb 2412:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$4,000
Thur, Feb 2413:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Thur, Feb 2413:00$125Short Deck Daily Special $125 [3-Stack]$5,000
Thur, Feb 2414:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$20,000
Thur, Feb 2414:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$5,000
Thur, Feb 2414:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Thur, Feb 2415:00$1,500Short Deck High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$25,000
Thur, Feb 2415:00$250Short Deck Daily Main $250 [3-Stack]$8,000
Thur, Feb 2416:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Thur, Feb 2416:00$210Short Deck Bounty Closer $210$4,000
Thur, Feb 2417:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Thur, Feb 2419:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Fri, Feb 2510:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Fri, Feb 2511:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$5,000
Fri, Feb 2511:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Fri, Feb 2512:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$3,500
Fri, Feb 2513:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Fri, Feb 2513:00$125Short Deck Daily Special $125 [3-Stack]$5,000
Fri, Feb 2514:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$20,000
Fri, Feb 2514:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$4,000
Fri, Feb 2514:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Fri, Feb 2515:00$1,500Short Deck High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$25,000
Fri, Feb 2515:00$250Short Deck Daily Main $250 [3-Stack]$6,000
Fri, Feb 2516:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Fri, Feb 2516:00$210Short Deck Bounty Closer $210$3,000
Fri, Feb 2517:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Fri, Feb 2519:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sat, Feb 2610:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sat, Feb 2611:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$5,000
Sat, Feb 2611:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sat, Feb 2612:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$3,500
Sat, Feb 2613:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sat, Feb 2613:00$125Short Deck Daily Special $125 [3-Stack]$5,000
Sat, Feb 2614:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$20,000
Sat, Feb 2614:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$4,000
Sat, Feb 2614:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sat, Feb 2615:00$1,500Short Deck High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$25,000
Sat, Feb 2615:00$250Short Deck Daily Main $250 [3-Stack]$6,000
Sat, Feb 2616:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sat, Feb 2616:00$210Short Deck Bounty Closer $210$3,000
Sat, Feb 2617:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sat, Feb 2619:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2708:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2708:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2710:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2711:00$888Short Deck Asia High Roller $888 [3-Stack]$20,000
Sun, Feb 2711:00$88Short Deck Asia Special $88 [3-Stack]$10,000
Sun, Feb 2711:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Stage 1]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2712:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty $52.50$5,000
Sun, Feb 2712:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Stage 1]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2713:00$125Short Deck Sunday Special $125 [3-Stack]$8,000
Sun, Feb 2714:00$1,050Short Deck Bounty High Roller $1,050$25,000
Sun, Feb 2714:00$105Short Deck Bounty $105$8,000
Sun, Feb 2714:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Last Chance]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2714:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Last Chance]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2715:00$1,500Short Deck Sunday High Roller $1,500 [3-Stack]$30,000
Sun, Feb 2715:00$250Short Deck Sunday Main $250 [3-Stack]$15,000
Sun, Feb 2716:00$210Short Deck Bounty Turbo $210$8,000
Sun, Feb 2716:00$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Last Minute]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2716:00$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Last Minute]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2717:30$525Short Deck Bounty Main Event $525 [Final Stage]$200,000
Sun, Feb 2717:30$52.50Short Deck Bounty Mini Main $52.50 [Final Stage]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2720:00$10,300Short Deck Super High Roller $10,300 [3-Stack]$100,000
Sun, Feb 2720:30$5,250Short Deck Bounty Super High Roller $5,250$75,000
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  • GGPoker's Short Deck Series is underway, so brush up on your 6+ skills with these tips.

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Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum's proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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