Short Deck Poker: Exploring a Popular Variant


In the vast world of poker, there exists a multitude of variations that add layers of complexity and excitement to the game. One such variant that has been gaining traction in recent years is Short Deck Poker. Also known as Six Plus Hold’em, this variant has captured the attention of both casual players and seasoned professionals alike with its fast-paced action and strategic nuances. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Short Deck Poker, exploring its rules, strategies, and why it has become such a popular choice among poker enthusiasts.

Rules of Short Deck Poker:

Short Deck Poker shares many similarities with traditional Texas Hold’em, but with a few key differences that dramatically alter the dynamics of the game. The primary distinction lies in the deck used, which is stripped of all cards ranked 2 through 5, leaving a total of 36 cards in play. As a result, the hand rankings are adjusted accordingly, with a flush beating a full house and a three-of-a-kind beating a straight. Moreover, the Ace can be used as either the highest or lowest card in a straight, adding another layer of complexity to hand values.

The betting structure and gameplay mechanics remain largely unchanged, with players still aiming to form the best possible five-card hand using a combination of hole cards and community cards. However, the reduced deck size leads to more frequent high-value hands, resulting in increased action and bigger pots.

Strategies for Success:

Given the altered hand rankings and increased likelihood of strong hands, Short Deck Poker requires a different strategic approach compared to its traditional counterpart. Here are some key strategies to keep in mind:

  1. Adjust Starting Hand Selection: With fewer low-ranking cards in the deck, starting hands gain significant value in Short Deck Poker. Players should be more inclined to play hands with broadway cards (cards ranked 6 or higher) and suited connectors, as these have a higher likelihood of forming strong hands.
  2. Positional Awareness: As in any form of poker, position plays a crucial role in Short Deck Poker. Being in late position affords players the opportunity to observe their opponents’ actions before making decisions, allowing for more informed plays and strategic maneuvers.
  3. Aggressive Play: Due to the increased frequency of premium hands, aggressive play is often rewarded in Short Deck Poker. Players should be more inclined to bet and raise with strong holdings, putting pressure on their opponents and maximizing their chances of winning sizable pots.
  4. Be Mindful of Draws: Drawing hands gain added potency in Short Deck Poker, as the likelihood of completing a straight or flush is higher compared to traditional Hold’em. However, players should exercise caution when chasing draws, especially in situations where opponents show strength or potential blockers to their outs.

Why Short Deck Poker is Gaining Popularity:

The rise in popularity of Short Deck Poker can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, its fast-paced nature appeals to players seeking action-packed gameplay and quick decision-making. Additionally, the altered hand rankings and increased frequency of strong hands injects an element of excitement and unpredictability into the game, attracting both recreational and professional players alike. Moreover, Short Deck Poker’s strategic depth and evolving metagame provide a refreshing challenge for those looking to test their skills in a new format.


Short Deck Poker represents a captivating twist on the traditional game of Texas Hold’em, offering a unique blend of strategy, excitement, and adrenaline-fueled action. With its streamlined rules, altered hand rankings, and dynamic gameplay, it’s no wonder why this variant has been making waves in the world of poker. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a casual enthusiast, Short Deck Poker presents an enticing opportunity to explore new horizons and experience the thrill of the game in a whole new light.

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