Shortdeck rules and tips: What you need to know

Before you sit down to play, you should find out which rules and gameplay the poker room offers. Rarely applied is the rule of trips beat a straight, but since its not very popular, you will have a hard time finding a poker room that goes by this rule.

The most popular way of playing is to add antes to the game instead of playing with blinds. This means everyone pays one ante and the button pays 1 ante + 1 BB (button blind), so the more players at the table, the more money in the pot at the start of the hand. You shouldn’t think of a $1 ante game of Shortdeck the same as $0.50/ $1 blinds in NLH, because Shortdeck generally plays much bigger and the cost per round is almost 5 times greater.

Example: $10 ante + $10 BB

In a 6-handed game everybody is posting the ante and the button will have to post ante + BB, so we will have a preflop pot of $70 in total ($60 ante + 1BB). Take note, the Button gets a “discount” on calling a raise preflop, due to having already posted the button blind.  

What size should your open raise be? Read more in ⇒ Raise Sizes Pre-Flop

With only a 36-Card deck, the chance of hitting a straight in Six Plus Hold’em is much higher.  An Ace can make a low or high straight and will essentially count as the 5, on a board of A-6-7-8-9. It takes a bit of time to wrap your mind around the fact that an Ace can count as a 5 as well, and it’s likely that you miss that your opponent can have a straight with e.g. 86 on A-7-K-9-K or that you don’t see your own straight with A8 on 9-Q-Q-7-6. It’s important to keep in mind that straights happen more often in Shortdeck, in fact on any non-paired board there is a possible straight out there.

Because straights happen much more often it’s important for your overall hand strength that your two holecards are connected, have one or at most two gaps. For that reason JT is a strong hand in that it makes a lot of straights and it’s always the nut straight when using both holecards.  

More on Hand strength in ⇒ preflop starting hands adjustments

Another major change in 6+ is the hand ranking. A flush now beats a full house. Why so? The answer is simple, it is mathematically more difficult to hit a flush than it is to hit a full house. Instead of 9 outs for a flush draw, you now only have 5 outs, which is roughly a 32% chance by the river, to complete your flush. This change makes suited hands a lot more valuable, in that when you hit your flush, you are likely to get paid from e.g. a full house or a straight and it’s very rare to hit flush over flush. However, flopping a flush draw will occur less often in Shortdeck than in NLH.

Below is the Hand Ranking of Six-Plus Hold’em:


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