Short Deck Hold 'em | Learn How To Bet/Play and Win

How to Play Short Deck Holdem

It seems that poker variations are abundant in the gambling world. Original games still have their popularity, but newer versions seem to be taking the poker world over. Indeed, players are hungry for more and will look to have a change of pace.

Short deck hold ’em is exactly one of those games. The game has its origins from Asia and has overwhelmingly moved through the poker scene in the states. Luckily the game is easy to follow but requires a little more of a strategy compared to other poker games.

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Top Five Tips For Short Deck Hold 'em Betting

A Short deck hold 'em strategy is going to differ from your typical poker game. This is due to the rule changes of rankings, cards used, and overall knowledge of the game. 

As such, players are encouraged to alter their strategy to make the best of their situation. This guideline will point you in the right direction for players looking to step up their game. 

The five most popular tips for short deck hold 'em are :

  1. Know the rules
  2. Understand the hand rankings 
  3. Your hand value 
  4. Look for the flush
  5. Find the best starting hand

Know The Rules

Short deck hold 'em has a bit of a change. Obviously, the word short means fewer cards are being used. The deck is shorted down to 36 cards by removing all twos, threes, fours and fives.

This game is also referred to as six plus poker since the six is now the lowest card in the deck. Even with the drop-in card amount, the game can still be played by up to 10 players. 

Understand The Hand Rankings 

This game also has a reworking of the card rankings. The best hand is again a royal flush, but other hands have been altered. The rankings are as follows:

1.Royal Flush
2.Straight Flush
3.Four of a Kind
5.Full House
7.Three of a Kind
8.Two Pair
9.One Pair
10.High card
* The flush is now able to beat a full house since there are fewer cards, and the hand is more difficult to make. Also, aces can either be high or low. They can also be used in the place of a five to make a straight. 

Your Hand Value

By 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. You should be cautious but not scared. There are times when you need to be the aggressor and of course when to fold. 

Look For The Flush

As mentioned above, flushes have an increase in betting value. Since there are fewer cards in this game, you are less likely to lose to a higher flush, so your hand becomes 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 you need to be aware also of your opponents' hands and what the flop shows. 

Find The Best Short Deck Hold 'em Starting Hand

Since the deck has been shortened, pocket pairs of queens and jacks do not have the same value as they did in regular hold 'em. 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 increase in value. Even if you have weaker cards at first, do not look to fold if they are suited.

How To Bet/Play Short Deck Hold 'em FAQ

How can I practice before I play at a casino?

I completely recommend practicing your skills online first. Try looking up a free version of the game and make sure it has the same variation as the one you would play at your local casino. This way, you can try your strategy out and see what works best for you.

What are other good hands to have?

Straights are much more common than in regular hold ’em. The odds are higher at 45 percent by the river card that you will create a straight draw. Do not be afraid to bet these hands as they will have more equity.

What is a "wheel hand"?

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?

Sets are more common in short deck hold ’em. It is easier to hit a set, nearly one out of every five hands you will make a set. To put this in perspective, one out of every eight hands is a set in regular hold ’em. Also, keep in mind that your opponents will have the same odds.

About Cole Paganelli
Cole Paganelli author profile

Cole is really big into Major League Baseball, but really - the big four Pro US sports are his passion. Cole grew up a Yankees fan, but married a Red Sox fan. It's tough around the house during those big games, but his hatred for the Red Sox has waned a little. Cole has a goal of seeing every Major League Baseball Stadium before the end of 2022!

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