Short Deck Poker: Rules, Strategies, and Tips for Winning Big

With its origins in the high stakes world of Asian cash games, Short Deck Poker has quickly gained popularity around the world. Also known as 6+ Hold’em, the game is played with a 36-card deck, consisting of cards 2-5 removed, creating a faster, more action-packed game.

In this article, we will explore the rules, strategies, and tips of Short Deck Poker. Whether you are an experienced player looking to add a new variant to your repertoire, or a beginner looking to learn a new game, this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to Short Deck Poker.

We will cover the basic rules of the game, including hand ranking and the differences between Short Deck and traditional Texas Hold’em. We will also delve into key strategies and tips to help you improve your game and maximize your winnings. Finally, we will explore some common mistakes that players make in Short Deck Poker and how to avoid them.

Whether you are a recreational player or a serious grinder, Short Deck Poker brings a new level of excitement and challenge to the table. So buckle up, get ready to shuffle up and deal, and let’s discover the world of Short Deck Poker together.

Discover Short Deck Poker

Short Deck Poker, also known as Six Plus Hold'em, is a variant of Texas Hold'em where the deck consists of only 36 cards, with all cards below 6 removed. This makes the game faster and more action-packed, as there are fewer cards and higher probabilities of making strong hands.

The rules of Short Deck Poker are similar to traditional Hold'em, with a few key differences. For example, the hand rankings differ slightly, with a flush beating a full house. Also, in Short Deck Poker, players are typically allowed to make straights with an Ace, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight, instead of the traditional Ace, Two, Three, Four, and Five LeoVegas.

Strategy is also important in Short Deck Poker, as the reduced deck size and altered hand rankings require players to adjust their play style. Aggressive play is often favored over cautious play, and bluffing becomes more effective. It's important to master the unique strategy of Short Deck Poker in order to achieve success in this exciting variation.

Whether you're a seasoned poker player or just starting out, giving Short Deck Poker a try can add some fun and excitement to your game. With its dynamic gameplay, altered rules and hand rankings, and unique strategies, Short Deck Poker offers a refreshing change of pace from traditional Hold'em.

Short Deck Poker Rules


Short Deck Poker, also known as Six Plus Hold'em, uses a 36-card deck instead of the traditional 52-card deck. The cards 2 to 5 are removed, leaving only cards 6 to Ace. The game can be played with 2-10 players and the objective is to have the best five-card hand at the end of each round.

Hand Rankings

The hand rankings in Short Deck Poker are different from traditional poker. In Short Deck Poker, a flush beats a full house and a three-of-a-kind beats a straight. The hand rankings from highest to lowest are: Royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, three-of-a-kind, straight, two pairs, one pair and high card.


In Short Deck Poker, the game begins with each player placing an ante. The dealer then deals two cards to each player, face down. The first round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer. After the betting round, the dealer places three community cards face up on the table. This is called the flop.

A second round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. After the betting round, the dealer places another community card face up on the table. This is called the turn. There is another round of betting, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.

Finally, the dealer places the last community card face up on the table. This is called the river. The final round of betting takes place and the remaining players reveal their cards. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot.


Short Deck Poker may seem similar to traditional poker, but the changes in hand rankings and card distribution require a different strategy. It's important to adjust your betting strategy and hand selection to the game's unique features. Remember to pay attention to your opponents' betting patterns and adjust your play accordingly. And of course, practice makes perfect, so start small and work your way up to higher stakes games.

Differences from Traditional Poker


Short Deck Poker differs from Traditional Poker in its rules. For instance, in Short Deck Poker, all cards below 6 are removed from the deck, resulting in a 36-card deck. Due to the smaller deck size, the probability of different card combinations changes, and thus the hierarchy of winning hands differs as well. For instance, in Short Deck Poker, a flush outranks a full house.


The smaller deck size also impacts the strategies that players use in Short Deck Poker. For example, hands like pocket aces or kings become less valuable in Short Deck Poker, as the likelihood of hitting a set (three of a kind) is now reduced. This makes lower value hands such as small pairs and suited connectors more valuable and increases the importance of position and aggressively betting raises.


Short Deck Poker is a fast-paced game that requires adaptability and quick thinking. One important tip is to pay attention to the board and any possible draws that may be available as the chances of making a hand in Short Deck Poker are higher. It is also important to be cautious with hands that may be vulnerable in Short Deck Poker as the smaller deck size often results in more players in the game, which can lead to more action and bigger pots.

Hand Rankings in Short Deck Poker

Short Deck Poker, also known as Six Plus Hold'em, is a fast-paced variant of traditional Texas Hold'em. In Short Deck, cards from deuce to five are removed from the deck, leaving 36 cards in total. As a result, the hand rankings differ from regular Hold'em.

Hand rankings in Short Deck Poker, from highest to lowest:

  • Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten of the same suit
  • Straight Flush: Any five suited cards in sequence
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank
  • Full House: Three cards of the same rank, and a pair
  • Flush: Any five suited cards
  • Straight: Any five cards in sequence, regardless of suit
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank
  • Two Pair: Two cards of one rank, and two cards of another rank
  • One Pair: Two cards of the same rank
  • High Card: If no other combination is possible, the highest card wins

It's important to note that in Short Deck Poker, a flush beats a full house. This is because there are fewer cards in the deck, making it more difficult to make a flush than a full house.

Understanding the hand rankings is crucial to developing a winning strategy in Short Deck Poker. Be sure to memorize them and adjust your play accordingly!

Gameplay and Betting Options

Short Deck Poker follows the same basic rules as traditional Texas Hold'em, with a few notable differences. For one, the deck only contains cards ranked from 6 to Ace, meaning that there are fewer cards in play and hands tend to be higher ranked. Additionally, the game is played with antes instead of blinds, which means that every player must contribute to the pot before the hand begins.

Betting options in Short Deck Poker are similar to those in traditional Hold'em, with players able to bet, raise, call, or fold when it is their turn to act. However, the absence of certain cards and the additional strength of certain hands means that strategies must be adjusted accordingly. For example, flushes are more difficult to make in Short Deck Poker, so players may prefer to play more aggressively with pairs and high-ranking cards.

One popular variation of Short Deck Poker is called Six Plus Hold'em, which is played with a slightly different deck featuring all cards from 2 to Ace. This variant is also played with antes, but the betting structure is typically no-limit rather than limit. Regardless of the specific rules in play, Short Deck Poker offers a unique and exciting way to play Texas Hold'em with a faster pace and higher-stakes action.

  • Short Deck Poker requires players to adjust their strategies due to the differences in the deck and betting structure.
  • Players can bet, raise, call, or fold as in traditional Hold'em, but must be aware of the increased strength of certain hands.
  • Six Plus Hold'em is a popular variation that uses a slightly different deck and a no-limit betting structure.

Preflop Strategy in Short Deck Poker

Select Your Hands Carefully

Short Deck Poker is a high variance game that demands careful selection of starting hands. The reduced deck size means that the probability of being dealt strong hands increases significantly. Therefore, playing a wide range of hands can be profitable, but only if you know what you’re doing.

High-Card Hands

The Aces, Kings, Queens and Jacks are the most valuable cards in Short Deck Poker. If you get any of these, you’re in a great position to bet aggressively preflop. Other high-card hands like Ace-King, Ace-Queen and King-Queen are also strong starting hands that should be used to apply pressure on your opponents.

Pair Hands

Pairs are more valuable in Short Deck Poker because of the significantly fewer cards in the deck. A pair of Aces, Kings, Queens or Jacks is a powerful hand that should be played aggressively before the flop. You should also try to play other pair hands like Tens, Nines and Eights, as they can often flop a set.

Beware of Draws

Short Deck Poker features many draws, and their probability increases significantly with fewer cards in the deck. Flush draws, straight draws and double-gutshot draws can all be lucrative, but they can also be dangerous if played incorrectly. Therefore, you should be cautious when facing draws and try to calculate the odds before making any decisions.


Navigating preflop play in Short Deck Poker can be challenging, but with the right strategy, you can come out on top. Select your hands carefully, apply pressure when you’re in a good position and be wary of draws. By following these tips, you’ll be able to increase your chances of winning at Short Deck Poker.

Postflop Strategy in Short Deck Poker

Postflop strategy in short deck poker is crucial to your success in the game. In short deck poker, you have a smaller deck of cards, which means you have a higher chance of hitting a strong hand on the flop. However, this also means that your opponents will have a higher chance of hitting a strong hand as well.

One of the key things to keep in mind when developing your postflop strategy is to consider the relative strength of your hand compared to the board. In short deck poker, there is a higher chance that the board will be coordinated and hit some sort of draw or straight. This means that you should be more cautious when holding marginal hands and be willing to fold if necessary.

Another important aspect of postflop play in short deck poker is understanding pot odds and implied odds. The smaller deck makes it easier to calculate your odds of hitting a winning hand, but you also need to factor in the potential payout if you do hit your hand. This means being willing to chase draws when the pot odds are in your favor, but also being disciplined enough to fold when they are not.

Finally, position is just as important in short deck poker as it is in traditional Hold'em. In fact, it may be even more important since the higher likelihood of strong hands means that mistakes can be costly. As a result, you should look for opportunities to use your position to your advantage, such as bluffing out of position or value betting in position.

  • Consider the relative strength of your hand
  • Understand pot odds and implied odds
  • Pay attention to your position

Following these tips will help you develop a strong postflop strategy in short deck poker and increase your chances of success at the table.

Advantages of Short Deck Poker

1. More Action-Packed

Short Deck Poker is known for its fast-paced and action-packed gameplay. With fewer cards, the game becomes quicker and more exciting compared to the traditional Hold'em format. Players are forced to play more aggressively and make bigger bets, which leads to more hands seeing the flop. This increased amount of action keeps players engaged and on the edge of their seats throughout the entire game.

2. Better Starting Hands

The smaller deck also changes the odds of getting certain starting hands. Players are more likely to be dealt premium hands like pocket pairs, suited-connectors, and even straight draws. This increases the potential for big pots and strong hands. Players with a good understanding of which hands to play and how they can connect with the board have a greater chance of succeeding in Short Deck Poker.

3. New Strategies and Techniques

The reduced deck size also means that traditional strategies used in Hold'em might not be as effective in Short Deck Poker. This opens up a whole new world of strategies and techniques for players to explore and develop. It challenges players to think more creatively and adapt to different playing styles, making the game much more interesting and dynamic.

4. Larger Pot Sizes

The faster pace, more aggressive play, and higher starting hand potential lead to bigger and more exciting pots. Players who enjoy playing for the big money will love the potential for huge payouts in Short Deck Poker. The added risk and reward make for an electrifying gaming experience.

5. Lower Variance

While Short Deck Poker can have larger pots, the reduced number of cards in the deck leads to fewer possibilities for bad beats and unlucky outcomes. This reduces variance, making the game less swingy and more enjoyable for players looking for a more consistent and reliable experience.

In conclusion, Short Deck Poker has a lot to offer to poker players looking for a new and exciting challenge. With more action, better starting hands, new strategies, larger pots, and less variance, it's easy to see why this game has become so popular among poker enthusiasts around the world.

Common Short Deck Poker Mistakes

Poor Hand Selection

One of the most common mistakes in Short Deck Poker is poor hand selection. Players often play too many hands and fail to fold weak hands. It is essential to understand the new hand values in Short Deck Poker and adjust your starting hand range accordingly. Playing too many hands can result in losing significant amounts of chips.

Ignoring Position

Position is critical in any form of poker, and Short Deck Poker is no exception. Ignoring position can lead to poor decisions and costly mistakes. Players who fail to consider their position are more susceptible to getting trapped, making marginal calls, and playing out of position.

Focusing Too Much on Pair Hands

Short Deck Poker has a significant element of luck, and focusing solely on pair hands can limit your potential profitability. While pairs are essential, focusing solely on them can restrict your range, leading to predictable play and fewer opportunities to bluff or value bet.

Improper Bet Sizing

Bet sizing is crucial in all forms of poker, and Short Deck Poker is no different. Improper bet sizing can result in missed value, giving players the wrong pot odds, or leaving yourself vulnerable to bluffs. It is essential to understand your opponents' tendencies and adjust your bet sizes accordingly.

Lack of Discipline

Short Deck Poker can be fast-paced, and players who lack discipline can find themselves making regrettable decisions in the heat of the moment. Staying focused and disciplined is essential in Short Deck Poker. It is crucial to stick to your game plan, remain patient, and avoid tilt.

Tips for Mastering Short Deck Poker

1. Understand the rules

Short Deck poker has a different set of rules compared to traditional Texas Hold'em. It's important to take the time to learn and understand these rules before diving into a game. This includes things like which cards are removed from the deck, the hand ranking, and how the betting rounds work.

2. Adjust your strategy

Since the deck is smaller and the hand rankings are different, your strategy for Short Deck poker should be different as well. For example, a flush is harder to make in this game, so it may not be worth chasing after it as much as you would in traditional poker. Be prepared to adjust your strategy on the fly as you play.

3. Be more aggressive

Short Deck poker tends to be a more aggressive game, with players often betting and raising more frequently. This is partly due to the fact that the deck is smaller, so there are more strong hands out there. Don't be afraid to take risks and be aggressive with your betting.

4. Play tighter

While being aggressive is important in Short Deck poker, you also need to be selective about the hands you play. With fewer cards in the deck, the chances of getting a strong hand are lower, so you need to be more patient and wait for the right opportunities.

5. Practice, practice, practice

As with any form of poker, the key to mastering Short Deck poker is practice. Take the time to play different variations of Short Deck poker online or with friends to get more comfortable with the game and improve your skills. Analyze your gameplay to identify areas where you can improve and work on them.

How to Adjust Your Play for Short Deck Poker

Understand the Power of the Deck Shortening

Short deck poker is a game where the deck has decreased in size by removing all the cards below 6. With fewer cards in play, the hand rankings in short deck poker are different, and many normally strong hands lose significant value. Understanding the impact of the deck shortening is crucial when adjusting your play.

Re-evaluate Your Range

In short deck poker, you need to adjust your range to account for the higher chances of hitting strong hands. Also, playing too tight is likely to lead to losing opportunities, so you need to widen your range and play more hands. However, be careful not to play too many hands that will decrease your ability to make strong hands post-flop.

Adapt Your Betting Strategy

In short deck poker, you must always have a clear betting strategy for each hand you play. You must also consider the different hand strengths and reduce the size of your bets because even when you hit a strong hand, it’s often vulnerable and can easily be outdrawn. Therefore, you need to rely more on post-flop betting and less on pre-flop betting.

Be Aggressive

In short deck poker, you need to adopt an aggressive playing style. It’s important to place bets early in the hand to force weak players to fold early, allowing you to control the pot. A good understanding of aggressive post-flop betting is also essential to your success in short deck poker.


Adjusting your play for short deck poker requires a different approach than traditional poker games. Understanding the impact of the deck shortening, re-evaluating your range, adapting your betting strategy, and being aggressive are important steps to take. With practice, you can master short deck poker and enjoy the game.

Famous Short Deck Poker Players

Daniel "Jungleman" Cates

Daniel Cates is considered one of the best short deck poker players in the world. He has won numerous tournaments and cash games, including the Triton Super High Roller Series in 2018, where he won $5.1 million. He has also appeared on several poker TV shows, including Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker.

Tom Dwan

Tom Dwan, also known as "Durrrr", is a legendary poker player who is known for his aggressive playing style and his love for high-stakes games. He has been playing short deck poker for a long time and has won several big tournaments, including the Triton Montenegro Main Event in 2019, where he won $3.1 million.

Jason Koon

Jason Koon is a professional poker player who has been competing in short deck poker since its inception. He has won many high-stakes games and is known for his strategic playing style. Koon has won over $30 million in live tournaments and is considered one of the best poker players in the world.

Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is a legendary poker player who has been playing short deck poker since it was introduced in high-stakes games. He has won several big tournaments, including the Triton Super High Roller Series in 2018, where he won $604,000. Ivey is known for his strategic playing style and his ability to read his opponents.

Justin Bonomo

Justin Bonomo is a professional poker player who has been playing short deck poker for a long time. He has won many high-stakes games and is considered one of the best short deck poker players in the world. Bonomo has won over $49 million in live tournaments and has won several big tournaments in short deck poker.

  • Daniel Cates
  • Tom Dwan
  • Jason Koon
  • Phil Ivey
  • Justin Bonomo

Short Deck Poker Tournaments: Exciting New Format of the Game

Short Deck Poker tournaments have gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to their fast-paced and thrilling nature. As compared to traditional Texas Hold'em, Short Deck Poker is played with a smaller deck consisting of only 36 cards, where all the cards below six in every suit are removed. This results in a game in which strong hands are more frequent, and the action is always intense.

In Short Deck Poker tournaments, players start with a fixed number of chips, and the game progresses through several levels with increasing blinds and antes. The tournament format makes this game even more exciting as players have to battle their way through several rounds to reach the final table. The winner is the player who has all the chips at the end of the game.

Due to the fast nature of the game, Short Deck Poker tournaments are perfect for players who enjoy high-energy and intense action. The rules and strategies of this game are easy to learn, and even novices can pick up the basics of this game quickly. Although Short Deck Poker is a relatively new format, it has already established itself as a popular and exciting variation of poker.

  • Key Tips:
    1. Be familiar with the rules and strategies of Short Deck Poker before signing up for tournaments.
    2. Practice your Short Deck Poker skills by playing online or with friends before participating in tournaments.
    3. Be prepared for the fast-paced and intense nature of the game, where players often move all-in with weaker hands.
    4. Adjust your strategies according to the number of players at the table and the stage of the tournament.

In conclusion, Short Deck Poker tournaments are an exciting and fast-paced variation of the traditional game, perfect for players who enjoy intense action and quick decision-making. With its easy-to-learn rules and strategies, Short Deck Poker is quickly becoming a favorite among many poker enthusiasts, and we can expect to see many more tournaments featuring this exciting new format in the future.

Online Short Deck Poker Options

As the popularity of Short Deck Poker continues to rise, more and more online poker sites are offering this exciting variation of the game. Players can choose from a variety of options for playing Short Deck Poker online.

  • Mobile Apps: Many online poker sites now offer mobile apps that allow players to play Short Deck Poker on their smartphone or tablet. These apps offer a convenient and easy way to play on the go.
  • Web-Based Platforms: Some online poker sites offer web-based platforms that allow players to play Short Deck Poker in their web browser. These platforms are often compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems.
  • Tournaments: Short Deck Poker tournaments are becoming increasingly popular, and many online poker sites now offer tournaments in this format. These tournaments offer a chance to compete against other players and potentially win big prizes.

When choosing an online Short Deck Poker option, it's important to consider factors such as site reputation, ease of use, and player traffic. Taking the time to research and compare different options can help ensure a fun and rewarding online poker experience.