short deck tips

Some Tips for Getting into Short Deck Poker

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If you haven’t heard of this game by now, you must have been on a vacation for the last 3 or so years with nothing but a flip phone and a ball you named Wilson. It’s the latest big game to sweep the Poker world and we have decided to pay it some attention in the strategy department.

So buckle up and get ready to crush your upcoming games once you’ve digested all of our delicious tips on this action-packed game.

The Basics

Firstly, the difference in this game is that the cards 2,3,4,5 are removed, that’s why some people term this game 6+ because the only cards in the deck are higher than a 6!

This gives us 81 Short Deck. starting hand combinations compared to 169 combinations of hands in a regular game. What this makes for is a much more action-packed game where there are many much more playable hands dealt constantly.

So for instance in Hold’em you might get 82o, J3o. But in Short Deck the worst hand you can get is J6o but you will often get a hand like K9o, A8s, QJo because high card combinations are much more likely, due to the simple fact there are way more high cards in the deck.

This means we should be careful not to overvalue weak holdings like KJo or A9s for instance in this game because it’s much more likely our opponent is going to have a much stronger range than this if we play a big pot.


Another thing that is much different in the world of short-deck, is that equities run much closer, so while you may be a big favourite with a dominating hand in regular hold’em, the chances of your opponent hitting their outs is higher in short-deck because there are fewer cards in the deck.

For example, we have our opponent all in with AA vs KK on a board of 7 7 8 J... now in regular hold’em they have just 2 outs to hit from the remaining deck that we know of which in this case is 44 cards this is around a 4.5% chance of hitting.

However, in short-deck, we only start with 36 cards, therefore with the same example of AA vs KK on a board of 7 7 8 J our opponent is now more likely to improve because there are fewer blanks. There are now just 28 cards in the deck remaining that are unknown and our opponent still has to hit just 2 of these to win the pot, but that means they now have a 7.14% of winning this pot.


All of this means we will want to be wary that this is a higher variance game, what this means is you will want to play lower stakes than you might normally play and allow yourself a larger bankroll than you might normally, to deal with the swings.

A big difference between regular Hold’em and Short deck is that in the normal game suited hand combinations go up in value greatly, because whilst we might not always make a flush we will have much more equity in pots and thus be able to bet more often and win pots with aggression alone.

Flush Draws

In short deck it’s very hard to make flushes, so my advice is barely ever to call bets to hit flush draws alone, if you have a big combination draw like a pair and flush draw or straight and flush draw then it may be worth investing more money though.

Slow playing flush draws can win you big pots though, because if you hit your flush, which in this game beats a full house and someone does make their hand then they might be willing to play for a lot of money, so our advice is just be very selective with your flush draw spots and look to play pots with deep SPR so you can get paid if you do hit.

Last But Not Least

Don’t forget that you can still make a wheel in this game, with Ace being both High and Low just like regular hold’em.

So A,6,7,8,9 makes a straight! This is something that can be easily forgotten when in-game even for experienced players. So pay close attention to boards and even if you do make this straight, be careful because it can easily become a weak hand by the River with higher straights always possible!

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