Short Deck to Make its Debut at the 2019 WSOP Short Deck to Make its Debut at the 2019 WSOP
garybembridge, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

The action-packed variant of Hold’em, Short Deck poker has been making headlines everywhere over the past few months and now the popular games has made it to the world’s richest poker festival, World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Just a few hours after PokerStars launched its version of Short Deck Poker, dubbed 6+ Hold’em for real money in Denmark and Estonia, the WSOP announced the finalization of 20 larger buy-in events including the first-ever Short Deck bracelet event priced at $10,000 for the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Series to take place in Las Vegas this summer.

Another major highlight of the celebration of the golden jubilee edition is the inclusion of a $50,000 buy-in event called the 50th Annual High Roller NLH. Also, the Big Blind Ante format expands to the Main Event for the first time, and players will be able to register to register for the Main Event until the start of Day 2.

In total, there will be 20 events with buy-ins of $10,000 or higher with many of them featuring the “Championship” label such as the *$50k buy-in Poker Players Championship*—a tournament that is considered among the most prestigious events at the WSOP. The event is usually played as an 8-game mix format comprising of niche variants like Seven Card Stud, Razz, Omaha Hi-Lo and Lowball. It will be played on June 24 with each player receiving 300,000 starting stack and blind levels lasting 100 minutes.

“We are proud to be the only tournament series offering such a wide variety of poker variants,” said WSOP Vice President Jack Effel.

“Players at this buy-in level should continue to expect terrific structures, with registration open until Day 2 in most cases and plenty of play to determine the champion in each discipline.”

First Ever Short Deck Event at the WSOP

The inclusion of a Short Deck event is not surprising as many people expected the WSOP organizers to add this event considering the format’s increasing popularity among those in the high stakes poker community.

For those who are unaware, Short Deck or Six Plus Hold’em (6+) is an exciting variant of No Limit Hold’em in which low ranked cards—deuces to fives are removed, leaving a deck of 36 cards. This makes the game more action-packed as players are more likely to be dealt premium hands.

Hand rankings and rules are slightly different from traditional Hold’em. For instance, Flushes which are harder to hit in Short Deck are ranked higher than a Full house, which in this game is easier to hit.

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Over the past few years, the game has spread like a wildfire with both land-based and online operators adding this exciting variant to their game offerings. The game was popularized at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series when Phil Ivey won the first ever live Short Deck poker tournament for over $600,000.

Soon the format was also seen at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas as well as in the US Poker Open held in October also in Las Vegas.

In fact, Short Deck has already made its debut on the WSOP International circuit at the Star Sydney in December 2018. The event was a great success as the first ever Short Deck event with a buy-in of $880 attracted 172 entries to generate a prize pool of AU$137,600.

“We had good positive feedback from the staff at Star Sydney for the event there,” said Seth Palansky, Vice President of WSOP, to Pokerfuse.

“They were excited to be the first to run it under the WSOP umbrella and were pleased at how it was received and how it went,” he added.

Palansky also shared some details with us regarding the structure that could be seen in the 2019 WSOP.

“The format under consideration for us would be with the 5 up community cards (meaning no river card dealt individually face down to players) and each player ante and there’s a button ante that’s double the player ante,” Palansky told pokerfuse.

The same format is also followed at the Triton Poker Series, and the same blind structure was also adopted by PokerStars for their 6+ Hold’em.

The WSOP also plans to spread Short Deck cash games in the Pavillion room this year.

“In terms of live action, we spread everything at the WSOP. The King’s Lounge was very successful last year. A lot of high stakes action took place,” commented Palansky. “Essentially I’m sure we’ll spread Short Deck this year and in the regular live action area in Pavilion this year. Reality is, we spread what the customer wants. If a game can be started, we’re happy to spread it.”

Details for Short Deck and Other Finalized Events

The $10,000 buy-in Short Deck event kicks off on Sunday, June 2 starting at 6 pm. It will be a four-day tournament and players are allowed one re-entry in this event. It is expected that the organizers will add more Short Deck events with more affordable buy-ins.

The full schedule is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2019. The WSOP organizers have already finalized more than 30 tournaments. Among the events to be finalized include a $500 buy-in rake-free tournament called The Big 50” boasting $5 million in guaranteed prize pool. It will commence on May 30.

There is also a Mini Main Event, a miniature version of the Main Event scheduled to run two days ahead of the $10k buy-in Main Event. The Mini version carries $1000 buy-in.

The Colossus has been moved to later in the schedule to make way for the Big 50. It will also have its buy-in reduced from $500 to $400—making it the lowest buy-in for any bracelet event.

Other marquee events that have been officially added to the schedule include the $1500 Millionaire Maker guaranteeing $1 million to the winner, the Tag Team bracelet event, the Marathon, Little One for One Drop, Ladies, Seniors and Super Seniors.

The $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Roller and the $1 Million buy-in Big One for One Drop charity events didn’t make the cut this year.