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Short Deck Texas Hold'em

5 mins Comprehensive Analysis of Short Deck Texas Hold’em by New Poker

Short Deck Texas Hold’em became mainstream only in 2018, but it seems like it will continue to exist for a long time.Short Deck Texas Hold’em is a variation of Texas Hold’em with some key differences. It is played with a deck of 36 cards, where all the 2s to 5s are removed. This game is also known as 6+ Texas Hold’em.

Before you participate in Short Deck Texas Hold’em for the first time, let New Poker explain what you need to know:

1.Rules and hand rankings of Short Deck Texas Hold’em.

2.How the odds change in Short Deck Texas Hold’em.

3.Basic skills and strategies in Short Deck Texas Hold’em.


Now please follow New Poker,our learning trip will start.


1.Rules and Hand Rankings in Short Deck Texas Hold’em:

The betting rules and structure in Short Deck Texas Hold’em are the same as in No-Limit Texas Hold’em:

  • Each player receives two hole cards.
  • There are three rounds of community cards (flop, turn, and river), with a betting round in each.
  • You can bet any amount of chips at any time.

However, with the removal of 2s to 5s, some hand rankings change:

  • Three of a kind beats a straight: In Short Deck, a straight is less likely to be made than a three of a kind, so three of a kind beats a straight. If your opponent has a set (three of a kind), a straight draw becomes less attractive.
  • Aces can be used as high or low for a straight: In Short Deck, an A-6-7-8-9 straight is possible, whereas in traditional Hold’em, A-2-3-4-5 would be the lowest straight.

Some versions of Short Deck Texas Hold’em even place the straight above three of a kind (even though straights are more common). In the Triton Poker Series, they use this hand ranking to encourage more action. This version is less common, but it’s essential to verify the hand rankings in the game you’re playing.

Below are the hand rankings for each version:

Short Deck Texas Hold'em newpoker

2.Odds in Short Deck Texas Hold’em:

The odds in Short Deck Texas Hold’em significantly change the game and might challenge your intuitive understanding of Texas Hold’em mathematics.

You can play more starting hands since your two hole cards will pair or connect more frequently. Pocket Aces will appear twice as often, as will any other pocket pair. Weak hands like 9-2 and J-4 are removed, leading to more hands played and more multi-way pots.

You’ll find yourself drawing to straights more often. In Short Deck, the probability of an open-ended straight draw on the flop is 19% (compared to 10% in full deck poker). In the full deck, the chance of hitting your straight draw by the river is 31.5%, but in Short Deck, it increases to 45.5%.

As the total number of cards decreases, your chances of hitting your draws improve. For example, the probability of completing an open-ended straight draw by the river is 45.5% in Short Deck compared to 31.5% in the full deck.

Due to these changes in odds, straights become less valuable in Short Deck Texas Hold’em.

3.Strategies: 6 Basic Tips For Short Deck Texas Hold’em

Given the mathematical differences, the correct strategy for Short Deck Texas Hold’em might sometimes contradict your intuition. Here are some basic tips:

(1)Play Fewer Offsuit Hands (and Less Aggressively): In Short Deck, the value of offsuit hands decreases significantly because the value of flushes increases, and the value of big pairs decreases.

(2)Play More Suited Hands and Pocket Pairs (and More Aggressively): Suited hands and pocket pairs become more valuable in Short Deck due to the increased value of flushes and three of a kind.

(3)Use the “6 and 3 Rule” to Estimate Your Odds: Depending on the street, you can multiply the number of outs by 6 or 3 to estimate your chances of hitting your draw:

  • On the flop, multiply the number of outs by 6. For example, if you have 8 outs to a straight draw on the flop, multiplying by 6 gives you approximately 48% chance to hit your draw by the river.
  • On the turn, multiply the number of outs by 3. For instance, if you have 8 outs to a straight draw on the turn, multiplying by 3 gives you around 24% chance to hit your draw by the river.

These numbers are very close to the actual probabilities of 45.5% and 26.6%, respectively. Once you get used to the odds in Short Deck, this rule becomes convenient to use.

(4)Be Cautious with Your Straight Draws: Since straights lose to three of a kind, you should be more cautious when chasing straight draws. If your opponent already has a set, your straight draw becomes less valuable. Sometimes, a straight draw in Short Deck can be likened to a low flush draw on a dry board in traditional Hold’em (e.g., A♣ 5♥ on T♥ 9♥ 3♥). You might have the best hand if you hit your draw, but sometimes you’re already drawing dead.

(5)Semi-Bluff with Medium Pocket Pairs: In Short Deck, medium pocket pairs (like 8-8 or 9-9) become useful semi-bluffing hands due to the increased value of hitting three of a kind and the reduced showdown value of these pairs.

(6)Apply Your Knowledge of Traditional Texas Hold’em: While Short Deck is a different game, it is not so different that you should completely ignore your knowledge of traditional No-Limit Hold’em. Many concepts still apply, such as playing looser on the button, defending your big blind with a wide range, and 3-betting with a well-structured range. Specific ranges may differ, but a solid understanding of traditional No-Limit Hold’em strategy remains an asset.

In conclusion, Short Deck Texas Hold’em presents unique challenges due to its mathematical differences from traditional No-Limit Hold’em. By adjusting your strategies according to these tips, you can improve your performance and navigate the game more effectively. Good luck!


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