How to Play Short Deck Hold'em | All You Need to Know to Get Started

How to Play Short Deck Holdem

It seems that poker variations are abundant in the gambling world. Original games such as Texas Hold’em still have their popularity, but newer versions seem to be vying for attention at every turn. Indeed, players are always hungry for more and will look to new variants simply for a change of pace.

Short Deck Hold’em is one such variant. This game originated in Asia and has since swept through the poker scene here in the states. If you want to learn how to play Short Deck Hold’em then you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s easy to follow. Read on and we’ll tell you all about it.

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What is Short Deck Hold'em?

Before we discuss how to play Short Deck Hold'em, we first need to give you a solid definition of what it is. Fortunately, that isn't at all difficult. Short Deck Hold'em is a game that can be played by up to ten players. It is basically the same as Texas Hold'em, but with fewer cards in the deck.

More specifically, Short Deck Hold'em uses a deck of 36 playing cards that contains no twos, threes, fours, or fives. Because the lowest card in the deck is a six the game is also referred to in some quarters as 'Six-Plus Poker'.

Having fewer cards in the deck means that the hand rankings aren't exactly the same as in Texas Hold'em. We will discuss that shortly, but first, we would suggest that you only proceed if you know how to play Texas Hold'em. If not, follow the link just given and then hop back here to continue. It is easier to discuss the few differences to regular Texas Hold'em than to teach Short Deck Hold'em from scratch.

Short Deck Hold'em: Hand Rankings 

As we said in the previous section, the fact that this game uses a short deck of just 36 cards instead of a standard deck of 52 cards means that the hand rankings aren't exactly;y the same as they are in Texas Hold'em. The rankings are as follows:

1.Royal Flush
2.Straight Flush
3.Four of a Kind
4.Flush
5.Full House
6.Straight
7.Three of a Kind
8.Two Pair
9.One Pair
10.High card
Short Deck Hold'em Hand Rankings

The eagle-eyed among you will have already noticed the difference. In Short Deck Hold'em the Flush beats a Full House. That's because fewer cards make a Flush more difficult to achieve.

On the topic of hands, you should also note that aces can be used to substitute for a five in order to make a straight. An ace can therefore be high or low, depending on how you choose to use it.

Playing Short Deck Hold'em

Since you already know how to play Texas Hold'em, and we have now highlighted the key differences between that game and this one, you're pretty much ready to start playing Short Deck Hold'em. But before you rush off to do that, spend some time considering the following points. They could save you a great deal of time (and money!) spent learning the same things through trial and error.

Get Used to Better Hands

When playing Short Deck Hold'em, you are going to notice one thing: your hands are generally going to be better more often. Odds are, you are going to be dealt pocket aces a lot more often compared to regular Hold'em. With this in mind, your opponents are going to have better hands too. Don't be scared of this fact, but be appropriately cautious.

Look For The Flush

As mentioned earlier, flushes are worth more in this game than in regular Hold'em. And because there are fewer cards in this game, you are less likely to lose to a higher flush, which makes any flush you have even more appealing. 

If you find yourself getting dealt suited cards and you see the flop turn in your favor, flushes are a great hand to have. These hands have the potential to take the whole pot, so be aware of the opportunity a Flush can bring. 

Redefine the Best Starting Hand

Since the deck has been shortened, pocket pairs of queens and jacks do not have the same value as they do in regular Hold'em. The good news is that aces and kings are still somewhat valuable, especially if you get three or four of a kind. 

Suited hands to make flushes are great for starter hands since the Flush is more valuable. Even if you have weaker cards at first, do not be quick to fold if they are suited.

How to Play Short Deck Hold'em FAQ

What is Short Deck Hold'em?
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Short Deck Hold’em is basically Texas Hold’em played with a shorter deck. More specifically, Short Deck Hold’em uses a deck of 36 playing cards that contains no twos, threes, fours, or fives.

Are straights more common in Short Deck Hold'em?
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Yes, straights are much more common in Short Deck Hold’em than in regular Hold’em. The odds of hitting a straight are higher – you have a 45 percent chance of having a straight draw by the river card. Do not be afraid to bet these hands as they will have more equity.

What is a "wheel hand"?
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A wheel hand is referring to the A-6-7-8-9 straight. This can catch some newer players off guard since the ace can also be low for this game. Do not be alarmed, because this is still a decent hand. This is why it is important to know the rules before playing.

Should I try to make a set?
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Sets are more common in Short Deck Hold’em. You will make a set in nearly one out of every five hands you play. To put this in perspective, one out of every eight hands is a set in regular Hold’em. Of course, you should always bear in mind the fact that your opponents will have the same odds.

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