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Short Deck game strategy

Short Deck strategy

If Short Deck poker is a new game format for you, then this article will come in handy. By reading it, you will get acquainted with some important information on key features that dictate the right game strategy, as well as learn strength of the starting hands and frequency of the finished hands. So, let's immerse into the world of Hold’em 6+ poker.

What is Short Deck Poker?

Short Deck poker, also referred to as 6+ Hold’em is a kind of poker game, in which a 36-card deck is used (52 cards in full deck formats). This is the most substantial characteristic that distinguishes Short Deck from other Hold’em games.

The fact that all cards, which are lower than 6’s, are removed, gives players higher probability of collecting combinations, which are considered strong in NLH (no limit holdem), like full house or straight. What's more, it's possible to finish the given combinations more often. For instance, your chances to complete a random combination in 6+ Hold’em are 14,1%, whereas in NLH this indicator is equal to 4,6%.

On the other hand, this simplifies the play process, as there are only 630 starting hands (1 326 in NLH). As for the unique SH (starting hands), their number amounts to 81, in contrast to 169 in NLH.

6+ Holdem vs Triton Holdem

There are two types of Short Deck Poker – Triton Holdem and 6+ Holdem. Speaking about Triton Holdem, this version is played at the popular Triton Poker series, which is famous for providing games for high rollers, and Holdem 6+ is presented in some poker rooms, meaning that you can play it online.

However, the two variants have some differences in hand order (ranking). Both consider a full house to be lower than a flush, but a straight is still stronger than a set (trips) in Triton Holdem games, while in 6+ Holdem – the set (or trips) is higher than the straight.

Here is the probability to complete a certain combination, using a random SH, in Short Deck format:

HandProbability in Short Deck
Straight Flush
Four of a kind0,57%
Full House7,59%
Two pair38,3%
One pair27,74%
No pair2,81%

You can see that players will get one pair less often than two pairs. The same goes for a straight, as this poker combination appear more often than trips.

Ante structure in Short Deck

In traditional holdem games, two players sitting to the left of the dealer are required to post the blinds (mandatory bets that are made by default in each hand) before all participants of the hand receive their pocket cards.

Such a system doesn’t work for Short Deck as this game has its own structure with antes. According to it, each player engaged in the hand has to post ante, and then, the participant on the button makes straddle. The one, who is sitting to the left-hand side of the dealer (let it be player A), is the first to make a decision on the preflop.

This specific structure significantly affects the gameplay. For example, player A, in short deck game (6-max), has chances on preflop call equal to 7:1, compared to typical holdem games (with blinds) where this indicator is 3:2.

Features of Short Deck strategy

  1. Open-limping is considered unprofitable in full deck games, while in Short Deck it plays an important role in the game strategy. It’s advised to make the limp-reraise range wider by adding some strong hands like K-K and A-A in order to protect the limping hands from opponents’ raises.
  2. In Short Deck, each position at the table, except for button, is more unprofitable in contrast to traditional holdem games. Therefore, if you want to play postflop from any position (apart from the button), then you need to isolate limpers.
  3. The ante system has a big advantage. There are lots of multi-pots with various preflop scenarios in such games.
  4. Due to the fact that the deck consists of fewer cards, the equity of SH is much closer. This is why you will get one or another hand more frequently.
  5. The equity of a suited hand is higher. This makes it possible to apply marginal calls when playing against amateurs.
  6. Pocket pairs decrease in value. If you find that your opponents overestimate these hands, then you can easily isolate them by making big raises on the preflop.
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