short deck strategy 1

ShortDeck Hold’em (6+ Hold’em)

New Online Poker Poker Strategy

Probably the most exciting poker game in recent times, Short Deck hold’em otherwise known as ‘6+ Hold’em’ is a Poker game similar to Texas Hold’em where the game is constructed in the usual No Limit hold’em fashion with the same preflop, flop, turn and river action is permitted with betting on all streets and the usual community cards are dealt and it’s still a No limit game, so players can wager all of their chips at any time.

But there are some big changes that players who constructed this action game in the High Stakes games over in Macau came up with.


  • All cards lower than a six are removed from the deck meaning there are now 36 cards in play, rather than 52.
  • Every player posts an ante every hand and then the button posts the big blind, in most games this is just another ante, so, for example, you buy into a $100 short deck game and the ante will be $1, paid every hand and the button will post the ante as well as another $1 blind. meaning in a six-handed table there will be $7 in the pot before any action.
  • A flush beats a full house and Ace can be high and low, making  A♠ 6♣ 7♣ 8♥ 9♥ a straight.

Hand rankings

Can vary on the different card rooms, for instance PokerStars 6+Hold’em plays that a straight still beats three of a kind, so be sure to check the exact rules on any short deck hold’em game that you play, as the game is still in its infancy and the math is still being figured out the rules are still somewhat up in the air.

  • Royal flush (Highest)
  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Flush
  • Full house
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight
  • Two pair
  • One pair
  • High Card (Lowest)

The reason for these changes is due to probability, the reason a flush is now outranking full houses is because the odds of making a flush are less than that of making a full house, due to there being fewer cards in each suit and less suited combinations of those cards dealt out to each player preflop, so even if you are dealt a suited hand and you flop 2 of your desired suit, this means that out of the 9 cards in that suit 4 of them are already in play, meaning there are only another 5 possible cards in the remaining deck that can complete your flush. This being said, flush draws are less likely to hit now but, become essentially unbeatable on nearly any board if you hit your flush as they are trumped only by 4 of a kind and Straight or Royal flushes, which you would usually block with at least one of your suited cards making that an impossibility.

Equities in Short Deck hold’em

Run a lot differently to that of regular hold’em games played with 52 cards, for instance, there is huge strength in having an open-ended straight draw, you will complete this by the river around 50% of the time in ShortDeck.

Example: If we have 9♣ 8 and our opponent’s hand is A♦ K♠ and the flop comes A♣ 10♦ 7

Even with no overcards to our opponent’s hand, we will beat our opponent’s hand 50% of the time by the river. As a general rule in Short Deck, open-ended straight draw’s will hit around 50% of the time, compared to the same hand in a full deck were our equity would be just 32%. This means playing our flopped draws aggressively with fold equity is a very profitable play, as you can see Vs even top pair top kicker we have a great chance of winning the pot, even when called. So as a general rule, look to raise and get your stack in on these kinds of flops and apply maximum pressure.

Suited combinations are even more powerful indeed in Shortdeck hold’em, against an opponent who has flopped top and bottom pair your equity will be huge in this pot, so it goes to say without a doubt these holdings can be played for all the money.

For example: If we have  Q♣ 10♣  against our opponents K♦ 6♠ and the flop comes JK♥ 6 Giving us an open-ended straight draw with any Ace or 9 giving us the straight as well as any Club making us a flush Vs our opponent’s hand of top and bottom two pair.

The differences in equity become apparent in hands like this, as in a full deck with 52 cards, even with such a favorable flop we would still be a slight underdog to win, as so many low cards could come off meaning we miss our straight, with only high cards to come on the turn and river, our odds to hit our straight are vastly improved. Giving us the win in this particular scenario 59% of the time even against a flopped two pair.

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