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Short Deck Rules

Short Deck, sometimes referred to as Six Plus of 6+ Hold'em, is a poker variant strikingly similar to Texas Hold'em but with a couple of significant differences. Short Deck is the game of choice in high-stakes cash games and tournaments in Asia, but the game's popularity is increasing all the time in other parts of the world.

Short Deck gets its name from the fact it is played with a smaller deck compared to Texas Hold'em and other poker variants. Instead of using a traditional 52-card deck, Short Deck games use a 36-card deck where all the deuces through fives are removed and discarded. This is where Six Plus of 6+ Hold'em stems from because the deck only contains cards worth six and above; see, it makes sense now.

Aces can be used at the high or low end of a straight, just as in Texas Hold'em. This means the lowest possible straight is A-6-7-8-9.

The reduced number of cards slightly alters the hand rankings for Short Deck because flush now beats a full house. You can check out the Short Deck hand rankings on their dedicated page.

Another notable difference between Short Deck and traditional Texas Hold'em is the fact there are no blind in play because Short Deck tends to use an ante-only betting structure. 

Ante-only games that have community cards, like Short Deck, often see more than their fair share of action. Not only do they encourage multi-way pots but the games play larger, too. For example, in a traditional six-handed $0.50/$1 No-Limit Texas Hold'em cash game, there is $1.50 in the pot before anyone bets or raises. In the equivalent $1 ante-only Short Deck game, there is $7 (six $1 antes plus a $1 button ante) in the pot before anyone is dealt cards!


How Does a Short Deck Hand Play Out

Every player pays an ante before receiving any cards, with the player deemed to be on the button paying an additional button ante. The game progresses in a clockwise direction from the left of the button.

Once every player has two hole cards, there is a round of preflop betting, starting with the player to the left of the button. The dealer then spreads the flop, and another round of betting occurs. There is another round of betting once the dealer deals the turn, and another after the river is dealt. The hand's winner is the player with the best five-card poker hand at showdown, based on Short Deck hand rankings, or the last player with hole cards when everyone else has folded.


Partial Removal of Funds

Usually, removing funds from your stack is prohibited online at PartyPoker, and seriously frowned upon in the live poker world. The process is known as "rat-holing." 

However, in PartyPoker's Short Deck games, you are permitted to partially remove funds from your stack once your stack grows to a predetermined size. if you build your stack to 400 times the ante, you are allowed to remove 100 antes from that stack.

For example, if you buy into a $1 ante Short Deck game with $100 and build your stack to $400 (400x $1 antes), you can remove $100 9100x $1 antes) from your stack. This rule is only available at our Short Deck tables.


Short Deck Poker Hints and Tips

Although the stripped deck and slightly different hand rankings may make playing Short Deck daunting, in truth, it is very similar to traditional Texas Hold'em, so if you have ever played Hold'em you should be good to go here.

Always keep in the back of your mind that it is easier to make so-called big hands. Where in Texas Hold'em a hand such as top pair top kicker is relatively strong, and will often be strong enough to win the pot, such a holding is vulnerable in Short Deck and will rarely win the pot. You will actually be dealt pocket aces more than twice as often than in a regular Texas Hold'em game!

Similarly, you and, therefore, your opponents will make two pair much more frequently than in a traditional Hold'em cash game or tournament. 

The odds and probabilities of hitting draws change compared to Texas Hold'em, with filling open-ended straight draws becoming more likely. 


Short Deck Poker FAQ


What is Short Deck poker?

Short Deck poker is a Texas Hold'em variant that uses a stripped 36-card deck instead of a traditional 52-card deck. All the twos, threes, fours, and fives are removed and discarded. The stripped deck is why some people call Short Deck Six Plus Hold'em


Why is Short Deck so popular?

Short Deck's popularity surged after players learned of it being the game of choice in high-stakes cash games in Macau. The game soon spread into Super High Roller tournaments. Short Deck players love making high-value combinations in addition to the pots growing larger compared to other games.


Can you play Short Deck tournaments?

Yes, Short Deck can be played as a cash game or tournament. However, currently, Short Deck is only available in cash game format at PartyPoker.