Short Deck Hold’em, also known as Six Plus Hold’em, is similar to traditional Texas Hold’em. Players are dealt two hole cards and the hand proceeds with four betting rounds and five community cards (a three-card flop, turn and river) just like Hold’em. The main difference, as the name implies, is that Six Plus Hold’em is played with only the cards that are six or higher in value.

All of the 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s, are removed from the deck (hence the nickname six plus or Short Deck), so instead of playing poker with a 52-card deck, it is played with a 36-card deck. With the deuces through fives removed, the sixes are the lowest cards in the deck.

Despite its similarities to Texas Hold’em, there are some significant differences in the hand rankings, strategy and rules of the game.

Short Deck Hand Rankings

Perhaps the biggest difference between Six Plus Hold’em and Texas Hold’em (besides the number of cards in the deck) is the hand rankings. Because the total number of cards in the deck is reduced, the mathematical odds of being able to make certain poker hands changes. It is this change in odds that dictates the change in hand rankings.

While there can be some variance in hand ranking depending on where the game is spread, for the most part, there are two important hand ranking to note:

Three-of-a-kind Beats a Straight

One might think that removing the deuces through fives would make it harder to make Straights, but the card removal means that all of the cards left in the deck are closer in rank than in a 52-card deck, meaning Straights are actually easier to make.

Also, just like in traditional Hold’em, the ace can be used as high or low when making straights. In the case of Six Plus Hold’em, the ace still acts as the highest card and can makes the highest straight AKQJ10, but it also can be used in place of the five making the smallest straight A6789.

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A Flush Beats a Full House

Card removal makes it harder to hit a flush than in traditional Hold’em, as there are four less cards of each suit. As a result, flushes are moved up in the hand ranking above full houses.

You can see all of the hand rankings for Six Plus Hold’em side by side with those of regular Hold’em in the table below (ranked from the highest hand to the lowest).

Six Plus Hold’em (36-Card Deck) Texas Hold’em (52-Card Deck)
Royal Flush Royal Flush
Straight Flush Straight Flush
Four-of-a-Kind Four-of-a-Kind
Flush Full House
Full House Flush
Three-of-a-Kind Straight
Straight Three-of-a-Kind
Two Pair Two Pair
One Pair One Pair
High Card High Card

Where to Play Six Plus Hold’em

With the recent boom in popularity of Six Plus Hold’em, there are now several places to play the game online.

iPoker Network

One of the more popular places that players gather to play Six Plus Hold’em is at Red Kings which is on the iPoker network and offers a large international player pool that provides the liquidity needed to ensure that more games go off at the times you want and at the stakes you want to play.

Americas Cardroom

Short Deck was recently added to the offshore US facing poker room, Americas Cardroom on the Winning Poker Network (WPN). Another room on the network that offers Six Plus Hold’em is Black Chip Poker.

Soon be Available on PokerStars

Last month, pokerfuse discovered that PokerStars may be planning on adding Six Plus Hold’em to his game offering. When that happens, the game is likely to be added to its dot-com player pool first (although PokerStars is known to test games out in segregated European markets such as Italy).

Adding a new game to all of the regulated markets that PokerStars operates in will likely require additional testing and cutting through plenty of red tape to get approval from gaming regulators in those markets.

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