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Short Deck

In Six Plus Hold’em, also known as “Short Deck”, the amount of cards in the game is reduced and the hand ranking adjusted. The cards 2 to 5 are removed making it a 36-card deck, that leads to a whole new dynamic with more action guaranteed.

Triton Twitch Channel: Website:: [email protected] Short Deck is a way more active and dynamic game than Texas Hold’em. The action is tight and it’s really easy to make very serious mistakes. Short Deck Poker, also known as Six Plus Poker, is a game played like traditional Texas Hold’em but with only a 36-card deck (a “shorter” deck as the name implies). This means all deuces, threes, fours, and fives are removed from the deck. Oct 26, 2018 One of the games that have seen a flurry of interest over the last few months is Six Plus Hold’em, also referred to as Short Deck Poker. Six Plus Hold’em is an exciting and fun poker variant based on Texas Hold’em where the game is played with a deck of 36 cards as opposed to the usual 52 cards in traditional hold’em.

Rules of the Game

Short Deck Hold’em is simply No Limit Hold’em played with a thirty-six card deck where the twos, threes, fours, and fives have been eliminated. This effectively ends the all too often stretches of always looking at complete duds like nine-deuce off suit and the like. Jack-six off suit is the Seven-deuce off suit of Short Deck and has few exciting possibilities; however, the odds are greater that you will get dealt hands with potential. Equities run much closer in the game and an ante only structure that frequently accompanies the game provides the impetus for a ton of action.

Another very unique aspect of this game is that the aces are also considered low. In other words, A6789 is the new wheel. Caesar casino slot. Be very mindful of this aspect at all times as not to misread your hand and/or potentially not fully consider a powerful holding that your opponent may have. When you are new to the game it is helpful to constantly remind yourself that aces are fives.

The use of a short-deck also changes some of the traditional hand rankings because flushes are now mathematically more difficult to make than full houses and trips are made less frequently than straights. In all variations currently played flushes beat full houses but the rules vary on whether or not trips beat straights.

In Asia and the high-roller tournaments the rules stipulate that a straight still beats three of a kind and is typically played as an ante-only structure. This version is often referred to as either Short Deck Hold’em or Triton Poker and is action packed because connecting cards are very valuable and the structure often encourages large multi-way pots.

In the ante only structure everyone antes, however the button is forced to make a double ante. The pre-flop action starts to the left of the button and that person has the option to fold, put in one more ante, or raise to any amount they wish. Each person in turn then has the option to fold, match the current bet, or raise or re-raise.

Short Deck is also sometimes played with the conventional blinds and most often in these games trips beat straights. This structure and rules is most often referred to as Six Plus Hold’em and is the version now spread by some online sites. However, recently PokerStars has introduced an online version where straights do beat trips and are marketing it as Six Plus Hold’em so don’t get confused. The first rule of poker is to know the rules!

Basic Strategy

Short Deck Hold’em utilizes a very unique structure that helps facilitate action while also allowing for a multitude of different yet successful strategies for the opening round of betting.

In the ante only structure everyone except the button antes once while the button is forced to make a double ante. The pre-flop action starts to the left of the button and that person has the option to fold, put in one more ante, or raise to any amount they wish. Each person in turn then has the option to fold, match the current bet, or raise or re-raise. The first person to limp is getting a tremendous 7 to 1 on their money while the odds and position get better for each player in succession.

With the truncated deck you are more likely to dealt be good hands; you are slightly more than twice as likely to be dealt aces or any other particular hand. Sets are flopped more often. In Hold’em your odds of flopping a set are approximately 12% whereas in Short Deck it is around 18%.

Flopped straights are much more common, any hand capable is typically more than three times as likely in Short Deck. For example, JT has a 1.2% probability in Hold’em but has 4.2% chance in Short Deck. In Hold’em an eight out draw has around a 31.4% probability coming in, however in Short Deck it is 45.6%.

Flushes are harder to hit because four flush cards have been removed from the deck. Flush draws now only have five outs instead of nine thus they are harder to hit and are ranked higher than full houses.

Position is much more desired in Short Deck due to the fact that equities run much closer and turns and rivers are scarier as the deuces and other blanks are taken out of the deck. In essence most flops are “wet” in that future board cards will often present possible strong holdings and if not will usually improve your opponent one way or another. In Short Deck by the river the board will either be paired or there will be at least one straight possible.

Further Learning

Short deck texas holdem

Check out Upswing Poker’s Short Deck Mastery course from Kane Kalas.

Table Of Contents

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.

Play Short-Deck Poker Online

6+ Short-deck poker is available online on the following websites:


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
Full houseKKK66
Straight flush6789
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
Three of a kindKKK6Qx
Full houseKKK66
Four of a kindKKKK6x
Straight flush6789
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.

Short Deck Hand Rankings

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.


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 Hands

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.

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