The game was first discovered by pokerfuse in late August after we spotted new graphics files with the logo of 6+, hinting that PokerStars may be planning to add this exciting variant to its game offerings.
6+ Hold’em is a new exciting poker variant that originated in Macau, but it has quickly spread to other parts of the world. The game plays similarly to Texas Hold’em, except it is played with a shortened deck of 36 cards, instead of the traditional 52, and it is played with slightly modified hand rankings.
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Last night, during the live stream of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship event, Somerville who was seated at the featured table along with eight other players revealed something that was supposed to be kept secret.
In a friendly conversation between Somerville and Canadian high-stakes professional player Sam Greenwood, a question on whether Short Deck would ever catch on popped up.
“Oh yeah, it’s already caught on pretty well in the high stakes community,” Somerville answered.
“I think it’s launching on PokerStars in January too… I think January 16th, they made an announcement. If I’m wrong, we’re spoiling it. Sorry!”
That’s when Somerville realized that their table was being filmed live (although with a 30-minute delay) to thousands of viewers and he jokingly said that they should move to the outer table so he “doesn’t ruin PokerStars’ secrets.”
Indeed, the game has rapidly grown in popularity particularly in 2018 after being televised for the first time during the Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro held in May. In this exciting variant, the lowest ranked cards, (i.e., deuces to fives) are removed from the deck, leaving a total of 36 cards and making for a more action-filled game. Since the deck is shortened, the hand ranking change: a Flush beats a Full house, and in most variants of Six Plus Hold’em, a Set (or Three-of-a-kind) is ranked higher than a Straight. Aces are played as both high and low.
However, the game made its first appearance online across the iPoker network when it launched its variant of Short Deck in 2016. Prior to that, Russian-focused online poker network PokerDom was one of the first operators to introduce this game back in 2015.
Very recently, Winning Poker Network also added this game to its offering as well as Coin Poker, a cryptocurrency-based online poker room. The game also debuted in several major live events such as Poker After Dark, the Poker Masters, Aussie Millions, APT Vietnam, as well as in WSOP International Circuit. There is a high possibility that 6+ could also make its debut at the 50th anniversary of the WSOP this year. The game has also reportedly made its way to Aria in Las Vegas.
Since last year, PokerStars has been developing many new cash game novelties starting with Split Hold’em—a game where two boards of community cards are dealt to a variant like Fusion—a hybrid of Hold’em and Omaha.
Fusion was the latest cash game variant to make its debut in November 2018 and the game is still currently being offered to players in PokerStars’ international player pool. Like the previous variants, Fusion is also slated to be a temporary offering and it could well be replaced by 6+ Hold’em.
Whether 6+ Hold’em will be made a temporary or permanent offering or whether PokerStars will add a twist to this variant is yet to be seen, but it is certain that the launch is imminent and could happen on January 16, if Jason Somerville’s sources are reliable.
Meanwhile, the late registration for PokerStars’ biggest live tournament—PSPC has just ended and it has exceeded everybody’s expectations to make it one of the top 20 largest poker tournaments ever held and the second-largest outside of the WSOP. The $25K buy-in record-breaking tournament attracted 1039 players creating a staggering prize pool of $26,455,500. 181 places will be paid with the winner taking home $5.1 million—the biggest ever to be paid by PokerStars. The winner will be crowned on January 10 which will be followed by the $10,300 buy-in PCA Main Event and other side events.