The world’s leading online poker site, PokerStars has finally launched its own version of the exciting new variant 6+ Hold’em (also known as Short Deck Poker)—a game that has taken the poker industry by storm.

6+ is the operator’s fifth new cash game variant since 2018 and the first this year. It follows PokerStars Fusion, an innovative variant that blended the elements of Texas Hold’em and Omaha into a single variant. Fusion was recently withdrawn from the client after running for more than two months.

PokerStars’ 6+ Hold’em rolled out in Denmark, Estonia and in the play-money client (on the dot-net site) on January 15. It launched in the UK, Sweden, and on the global dot-com and dot-EU player pools on January 16.

How is PokerStars 6+ Holdem Played?

6+ is quite easy to learn as the game is played quite similarly to traditional Texas Hold’em except with a stripped down deck. All the cards lower than Six are removed from the deck to make it a 36-card deck instead of the usual 52. Because the low cards are removed, players are more likely to get dealt premium hands and hence this makes the game more of an action-oriented game.

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Rules of 6+ Hold’em

In PokerStars’ version of Six Plus Hold’em, instead of the traditional “small blind” and “big blind”, the game uses a “button blind” structure meaning every player on the table pays an ante while the player on the Button not only pays the ante but also pays a blind equivalent to the size of the ante. The same structure is also followed in the high stakes Triton Poker Series.

As in Hold’em, the action starts with the player seated to the left of the button. Each round then plays out according to standard Texas Hold’em rules, with pre-flop, flop, turn and river betting rounds.

Aces are played both low and high just like in traditional Hold’em, but in 6+ Aces can also play as Fives when making a straight. The lowest straight is A6789 and the highest straight is TJQKA.

Hand Rankings

What makes the game more interesting is the differences in the hand rankings compared with the Traditional Hold’em. Since the game is played with a deck of 36 cards, Flushes are harder to hit because there are only 9 cards of each suit instead of 13. As a result, Flushes are ranked higher than Full Houses—which in this game is easier to hit than a Flush.

Mathematically speaking, it is also easier to hit Straights than Sets or Trips in Six Plus Hold’em. However, in the PokerStars version, Straights are still ranked higher than Three-of-a-Kind.

To conclude:

  • Flushes rank higher than Full Houses.
  • Straights are ranked higher than Trips or Three-of-a-Kind
  • A6789 is a low Straight while TJQKA is a high Straight.
  • The game is played with an ante. All the players post an ante while the Button posts an additional ante that acts as the only blind.
  • The player to the left of the Button is the first to act.

Is the Game Available in Tournaments or Other Format?

At launch, 6+ Hold’em is available only as cash game format. There has been no official announcement by the operator whether the game would be available in Sit & Go or tournament formats.

What are the Minimum and Maximum Buy-ins or Table Stakes Available?

The game is currently offered with buy-ins starting from $3-$4 with Button and Ante at $0.02 to a table with buy-ins as high as $30,000-$40,000 with Button and Ante at $200.

What is the Rake Structure of 6+ Hold’em?

Rake is charged at 3.50% at the lowest buy-in ($3-$4), 5% on Mid-stakes, and 4.50% on Higher-Stakes.

Caps on the rake depend on the table stakes and buy-ins which is shown below.

PokerStars 6+ Hold’em Rake Info

Buy-in Ante % Rake 2 Player Cap 3-4 Player Cap 5+ Player Cap
$2 -$3 $0.02 3.50% $0.30 $0.30 $0.30
$5-$7.50 $0.05 4.15% $0.50 $0.50 $1.00
$10-$15 $0.10 4.50% $0.50 $1.00 $1.50
$25-$37.50 $0.25 5.00% $0.50 $1.00 $2.00
$50-$75 $0.50 5.00% $1.00 $1.00 $2.50
$100-$150 $1.00 5.00% $1.25 $1.25 $2.75
$200-$300 $2.00 5.00% $1.50 $1.50 $3.5
$500-$750 $5.00 5.00% $2.00 $2.00 $4.50
$1,000-$1,500 $10.00 4.50% $2.50 $2.50 $4.50
$2,000-$3,000 $20.00 4.50% $3.00 $3.00 $5.00
$5,000-$7,500 $50.00 4.50% $3.00 $5.00 $5.00
$10,000-$15,000 $100.00 4.50% $3.00 $5.00 $5.00
$20,000-$30,000 $200.00 4.50% $3.00 $5.00 $5.00

Can Players Choose Their Own Table or Seat in 6+ Hold’em?

No. Just like in the previous cash game novelties, 6+ Hold’em too has adopted “Seat Me” (also called blind-lobby functionality). Under this system, players choose the game and stake and the software automatically finds a seat for the players. If no seat is immediately available, players join a waiting list.

Is the Game Available in My Region?

6+ Hold’em is available for real money in global dot-com, European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), Sweden (SE) client, Denmark (DK) client and the Estonian (EE) client. The game is not yet available in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, European shared network (France, Portugal, and Spain), Greece, India, Italy, and New Jersey.

However, players from all these regions (including the United States) can play the game for play-money in NET client.

Are there any strategies on 6+ Hold’em available?

Yes, we have written two strategy articles on this game.

1) Six Plus Hold’em/Short Deck Poker Odds and Probabilities
2) Beginners Strategy/Five Tips about Six Plus Hold’em

Will it be a Temporary Offering or Permanent?

There is no mention by PokerStars whether 6+ Hold’em will be available indefinitely or if it will be available for a limited time offering. However, if history is of any indicator, it seems that 6+ will also be a temporary offering like the previous cash game novelties.

But given the fact that the game has turned out to be very popular across both live and online field, 6+ could well be made available permanently, much like Fast Fold format (aka Zoom) or Jackpot based Sit & Go’s (aka Spin & Gos).

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