What is Short Deck (6+ Hold'em)?
Short Deck Hold'em (6+ Hold'em or Short Deck) is a variation of No Limit Texas Hold'em that uses a deck of 36 (starting with sixes, and all deuces, threes, fours, and fives are removed from the deck which makes 6+ a more action-packed kind of poker) rather than 52 cards. In addition, the game has some differences in hand rankings, betting system, and the number of players at the table.
Best poker sites to play Short Deck Poker
Short Deck has been appearing in online poker rooms since 2016, but only three have acceptable traffic as of mid-2022, apart from some mobile poker apps.
|Poker site||Rake (cap)||Rakeback|
|WPT Global||5%||up to 40%|
|GGPoker||5% (3 antes)||10%-60%|
|iPoker skins||5%-6.6% (€0.5-€4)||VIP deal|
GGPoker is rightfully the best poker site to play 6+ Hold ‘em:
- Several stakes are available, with ante ranging from $0.02 to $500. During peak hours, there are 50-60 active tables at the five most popular stakes (up to $10 ante).
- Casual players from Asia.
- Regular daily race (Short Deck Daily $10K Leaderboard) features separate leaderboards for different stakes.
- Stable traffic throughout the day.
Only this poker room offers regular Short Deck tournaments. In addition, it holds a dedicated series with a total guarantee of $2,000,000 once a year.
The game is played at 5-max tables and uses a “button blind” structure.
6+ Hold'em tables appeared on this network six years ago. However, you can find acceptable traffic only at the NL4$ stake (up to 10 tables). There are also 3-4 active tables per stake at up to NL50$ in the evening hours. Higher-stakes action at NL100$ and NL200$ (the highest stake) can be found only late at night on weekends.
The game is played at 6-max tables here. Also, the network decided to keep the classic blind structure (SB+BB) for Short Deck.
PokerStars introduced 6+ Hold'em tables in January 2019. This is the only poker room with random seating for Short Deck tables, so it is impossible to evaluate traffic.
There are 12 stakes available, with ante ranging from $0.02 to $200. The initial buy-in amount is always equal to 100 antes.
6+ Hold'em cash games are played at 6-max tables with a “button blind” structure.
Differences between 6+ Hold'em and No Limit Hold'em
- The number of cards in the deck (36 vs. 52).
- Hand rankings.
- Higher action, higher variance
- Different poker math: odds, outs, and the number of unique starting hands.
- More loose game strategy.
We will explain all these features below.
Short Deck Poker rules
Differences in the rules come down to the blind system and the hand rankings. The rest is the same No Limit Hold'em with two pocket cards and 4 betting rounds.
Preflop rules: every player posts an ante (mandatory bet), and the one seated at the button position posts a blind (straddle) equal to two antes. The player to the left of the button is the first to act.
6+ Hold'em hand rankings
Classic Hold ‘em
|Royal Flush||Royal Flush|
|Straight Flush||Straight Flush|
|4 of a kind||4 of a kind|
|3 of a kind||Straight|
|Straight*||3 of a kind|
|Two pair||Two pair|
|High card||High card|
*The A-6-7-8-9 is the lowest straight hand
Such an unusual order in 6+ Hold'em hand rankings is explained by the changes in the probabilities of making one or another hand.
Which cards are eliminated in Short Deck poker? All cards valued from 2 to 5 are removed from the deck, leaving only 36 in the deck.
Short Deck Triton
This game variation retains one rule of classic Hold'em: a straight is better than 3 of a kind. There are no blinds but antes for all players.
Triton is played at PokerStars and mobile poker apps. It got its name from the Triton Poker Series, where it first appeared.
Compared to Hold'em, the total number of starting hands has been reduced from 1,326 to 630, while the number of unique starting hands in Short Deck is just 81 (NLH - 169). This has resulted in each out giving you 3% of equity vs. 2.3% in classic Hold'em.
It turns out that some hands have become easier to make. Therefore, 3 of a kind beats a straight, and a flush beats a full house in 6+ Hold ‘em. Moreover, you have better chances of improving your hands in the flop.
|Flop hand – Improved hand||Probability|
|3 of a kind – 4 of a kind||3.20%||6.50%|
|Pair – 3 of a kind||6.50%||24.50%|
|Gutshot straight draw – Straight||12.90%||30.10%|
|Flush draw – Flush||16.10%||35.50%|
|Two overcards – Top pair||22.60%||48.40%|
Basic strategy tips
- Be careful with offsuit hands. It's better not to play them, especially from early positions.
- Prefer suited hands and top pairs.
- Use simple math to calculate the chances of improving your hand: multiply the number of outs by 6 (flop-river) or by 3 (turn-river).
- Be careful with straight draws: even making a straight, you will still have a weaker hand than your opponent in many cases.
- Don't forget the basic strategy tips for classic Hold'em.
- Do not play many tables simultaneously - try to watch your opponents closely instead.
- Stick to very conservative bankroll management rules - at least 100 buy-ins of your chosen stake. Be aware of the possibility of long downswings due to the high variance.
Short Deck (6+ Hold'em) is a relatively new, action-packed game. The strategy is not well-developed yet, while many weak opponents are still looking for action.
For beginners, both cash game and MTT players, GGPoker is almost the only option to start a 6+ Hold'em career. This is facilitated by high traffic at several stakes (from micro to the nosebleed ones) and various bonuses and promotions to boost a bankroll.
We especially recommend Short Deck to players who do not recognize the need to use any assistance software during the game and rely only on their skill and understanding of the opponents.
Now let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about texas six plus poker:
✅ What is the best poker site to play 6+ Hold'em online?
Definitely, GG Poker. This poker room has the most active Short Deck tables (up to $500 ante). There are also separate daily races for grinders.
✅ What is the best hand in Short Deck poker?
From pocket hands, AA is still the best, but it must be considered that the probability of winning a hand with pocket Aces is inferior to classic Hold'em.
✅ Can I play Short Deck at PokerStars?
Yes. There are 12 cash game stakes with ante ranging from $0.02 to $200. The initial buy-in amount is always equal to 100 antes, and table seating is random.
✅ Is it possible to make a profit in the long run by playing Short Deck poker?
Many famous pro poker players promote Short Deck. Phil Ivey stated that the game "suits the players with a more gambling style," which we agree entirely with since the variance is much higher than NLH. Still, by following proper bankroll management rules and game strategies, it is quite possible to make a profit in the long run.
✅ How many cards are in a short deck?
A total of 36, from Sixes to Aces.
✅ Is Short Deck poker better than Hold'em?
Suppose you like to try something new (more dynamic, with many weak opponents), are not a fan of multi-tabling, and can easily cope with tilt. In that case, Short Deck should definitely be much better for you than classic Hold'em.
✅ Is there an equity calculator for Short Deck?
- CombCalc6Plus – calculates the hand vs. range or range vs. range equity.
- Oranges 6Plus Calculator — a software for calculating the equity of hand ranges.
✅ Are there 6+ Hold'em tournaments?
Yes. The only poker room holding those is GGPoker. There are about 30 daily events with up to $21 buy-ins and up to $2,000 GTD. The annual Short Deck Series boasts a guaranteed prize pool of $2M.
✅ Who invented Short Deck poker?
Nobody knows for sure. It is only known that the game first appeared in Macau casinos, where Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan tried it. Thanks to them, the whole poker world learned about Short Deck.
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