Short Deck Poker

To a layman, all of poker seems the same. In fact, most of us wouldn’t even know about the plethora of variants of the game. But poker isn’t just people holding fans of cards and eyeing each other suspiciously. There are several kinds of poker, such as Texas Hold’em, 5 Card Draw, Razz and Short Deck Poker. While mainstream poke remains popular, recently other variants have also started garnering interest. And all the interest definitely pays off. Just in 2018, Nick Schulman, a poker player, played Short Deck Poker for the first time and walked home with a whopping $272,084. I’m sure we’ve piqued your interest, and if you want to know more about this variant of poker, read on and we shall guide you.

Now, if you’re new to the world of poker, let’s do a bit of a background check. Short deck is a new form of poker but has been around for some time. In fact, a lot of older versions of poker did away with multiple cards and played with just a few. Since it is a variant of Texas Hold‘em, it is also called Texas Six Plus Poker And now that we’ve established it’s position in history, let’s try to understand the basic nature of the game. While many people may not know this variant, everyone who’s not been living under a rock knows about Texas Hold’em poker. Using that as a reference, we can understand the variant.

Unlike Texas Hold’em, in Short Deck Poker, the deck size is reduced. While a regular deck has 52 cards, the reduced deck used for this game has only 36 cards. Hence, the name of the game. Now the cards aren’t just removed randomly. All the cards holding the rank of deuces (twos), threes, fours and fives are removed from the deck. This smaller deck changes the mathematics of the game and also causes a shift in the rankings and their hierarchy. This feature of the game significantly changes how poker is played and how the players design their own hands while analysing the hands of their opponents.

Short Deck Poker Game Stages

Just like a game of Texas Hold’em poker, even a game of Six Plus has many stages, which facilitate the game moving forward. The stages are explained below, and they’ll give you a step by step guide on how to play a Six Plus game.

  • Pre-Flop

Another point of difference between Texas Hold’em and Six Plus, is the question of who is to bet in each round.

- No-Limit Texas Hold’em relies on the concept of blinds. Blinds are essentially players who have to place bets in a round in order to be a catalyst for action. These bets are mandatory, like paying an instalment of EMI. Blinds are also placed by only two players at the table.

However, in a game of Six Plus, the concept of blinds is done away with and is replaced by ante. Antes are also kinds of bets, but unlike the blinds of No Limit Texas Hold’em, antes have to be placed by all the players at the table. The player at the button acts like a big blind and has to place two antes, which is twice the amount.  

- The minimum raise is the double of the button ante.

After this, the player sitting to the left of the dealer begins the game.

  • Flop

A Flop is the next stage of the game, and this is when the game actually begins. The players now start to consider the cards they hold and consider the design of their hand.

- The Flop begins with an accelerating move, wherein the dealer deals three cards. These cards are community cards and are placed face-up in the center of the table. This move marks the beginning of the next round of betting.

- Similar to Pre-Flop, the player to the left of the dealer begins the game.

- The minimum amount that has to be bet in the Post- Flop round has to be of the same value as the mandatory ante that has been raised by the players in the Pre-Flop.

  • Turn

Following the Flop, the game begins to proceed with a pattern of sorts. The next stage of the game is the Turn. In this stage, the dealer deals another community card face-up on the table. This card further allows the players to consider and design their hands. As mentioned before, the player to the left of the dealer begins the round.

  • River

The River is the next stage of the game, and it is the final betting round. In this round, the last community card is dealt. This is the final chance for the players to prepare a hand before the game ends. The player left of the dealer begins the round, once more.

  • Showdown

A Showdown is the final stage of the game. At this stage of the game, all the bets have been made and the community cards have been dealt. Now the players must reveal their hands in order to determine the winner. This game has showdown rules similar to Texas Hold’em poker.

- The last player to raise or bet has to begin the showdown and show his cards before the other players. If in the final round no player has placed a bet, then the player left of the dealer begins the showdown.

- The players then begin to reveal their hands going in a clockwise motion around the table.

- The players, if they have a hand inferior to a winning hand, can choose to either show their cards or muck them.

- The best hand wins the game.

While the basic procedure in a game of Six Plus is similar to that of Texas Hold’em, there is a difference between the two, when it comes to hand rankings. The main reason for this difference is the short deck. In this game, we discard some cards, as mentioned above. This causes the hand ranking hierarchy to alter. While some of the rankings between the two variants of poker remain the same, some switch positions. For example, in a game of Texas Hold’em, a Full House is superior to a Flush, this position is reversed in Six Plus. In some games, the regular ranking of Straight over Three of a Kind is also swapped.

The main reason for this change in the rankings is the reduced deck that is used in Six Plus. Because of the kind of cards and the number of cards available in this game, it becomes easier for players to make a hand of Full House than it is to make on Flush. Since the numbers of cards from each suit are reduced, it becomes more difficult to create a Flush, because the probabilities of getting cards that belong to the same suit drastically decrease. Whereas, the two set combination of a Full House can be achieved even with a shorter deck.

The probabilities change between the two games, and the evidence is clearly visible in some of the statistical figures listed below:

  • Number of cards:

- Texas Hold’em: 52

- Six Plus: 36

  • Starting Hands:

- Texas Hold’em: 1326

- Six Plus: 630

Apart from this, the chances of being dealt pocket aces increase (from 1 in 221 to 1 in 105) but the chances of getting suited hand reduce (from 1 in 4.25 to 1 in 4.4).

Thus, players have to adapt to the differences in the game. While designing their hands, they have to keep the new hand rankings in mind and also have to keep the probabilities of getting certain cards in the mind. All of this information allows them to build a hand that could be a victorious one.

Short Deck Poker Game Type:

Now that we’ve covered the basic structure of the game, it’s time to look at another important aspect of poker and its variants. No game of poker is complete without betting. What the stakes are and how the betting is structured determines the nature of the game. Just like before, we can look at the betting structure of the variant with reference to Texas Hold’em.

This game is similar to No Limit Texas Hold’em. A No Limit game allows players to raise the size of their bets as per their wish. In short, there is no limit placed on the bet. Similarly, in Six Plus, there is no bet limit and the players can raise the amount according to their convenience, even opting to bet all their stakes.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the rules and stages of Texas Six Plus Poker. This game has become quite popular in the recent years, and there are a lot of prizes to be won, so come join us at Spartan Poker to play real money online games to hone your skills and get playing!


1) How do you play Six Plus?

The rules for Six Plus are quite similar to Texas Hold’em poker. Players are dealt two hole cards and have to use community cards to build their hand.

However, unlike Texas Hold’em poker a reduced deck of 36 cards is used in Six Plus poker which also change some of the hand rankings.

2) Where is Six Plus poker played?

Six Plus poker has become quite popular these days and is played in several competitions and tournaments around the world. You can also play Six Plus online and or download the iOS Poker and Android Poker.

3) Why is Six Plus so popular?

This game has become immensely popular due to high stakes games being played around the world. The game also allows for high probabilities for the acquisition of high value cards.

4) Is Six Plus easy to play?

Six Plus is quite easy to play, and the reduced deck makes it easier to play than regular Texas Hold’em poker. It is quite fast paced and quick.

5) Where can I practice Six Plus?

Six Plus can be played on several online poker sites and on the apps available in the app store.

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