The New Six Plus Holdem

3 years ago
The New Six Plus Holdem Finally Available Online
14 Mar

Remember the uncommon poker games article published on PokerTube a couple of months ago? Remember the last game we talked about briefly? That’s right, Six Plus Holdem, a very interesting format introduced by the usual suspects in Macau, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey. Well, we believe you’ll be very happy to know that the future is now.

The new format is finally available online, on the iPoker Network - although still in test mode - and everyone bored with the old Cadillac of Poker can now try Six Plus Holdem with as little as a few bucks. So far, the available stakes are 4NL and 20NL. Since March is full of promotions targeting the new game, the tables and the stakes will probably continue to pile up in order to compete with the Pot Limit Omaha iPoker traffic.

Before hitting the SPH tables though, you need to know some basic things about this format. Yes, it’s a lot like No Limit Texas Holdem, but at the same time, different in many ways. And to prove it, let’s start things off with the rule changes.

Stripped Deck Of Cards, Different Hand Rankings

The most important difference between the regular Holdem and SPH concerns the deck of cards. In SPH you play only with 36 cards, stripping away the 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s. That’s why it’s called Six Plus, because the deck has cards ranked six and above. As in regular Holdem, the Ace can also have a low value thus make a low straight like the classic wheel - A2345. In SPH, the wheel is actually A6789.

Since there are fewer cards in deck and only nine of the same suit, the hand ranking is slightly different as the strength of certain poker hands changes. Therefore, the flush has a much higher value and actually beats the boat. The straight on the other hand has a lower value than in NLHE and is beaten down by the set but still beats the lone pair and two pairs. Below, you can read the entire Six Plus Holdem Hand Rankings from the weakest to the strongest hand:

  • High Card
  • One Pair
  • Two Pairs
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • Royal Flush

Strategy: Smaller Edges, Different Perspective

Now what about the basic strategy? The good news is that the Six Plus Holdem winning strategy is a work in progress, so that means everyone is likely to make big mistakes at one point or another. The preflop edges are definitely much smaller, more like in Omaha, that’s why the weaker player won’t make that much of a mistake if they call preflop with a weak holding. Like in Omaha, the hands will run bigger as compared to NLHE so anyone who starts playing SPH must be very careful in determining the relative strength of their poker hand.

Basically, this is a brand new version of Omaha but much less complex. And since we’re comparing the new game with Omaha, we also have to mention the swings and high variance SPH could bring in your online cashier. Don’t believe us? Well, let’s hear Ivey and Dwan talk about the new format (notice the smirk on Ivey’s face when he’s talking about bankroll management and Dwan’s reaction):

As expected, they aren’t prepared to share their insight about the game just yet, but we can provide you with some basics hints at least. You definitely need to change your perspective when playing SPH, even re-think your betting sizes preflop and know that position is even more important than in NLHE. And remember...Omaha: big cards, huge value, high suited cards are even more important - connected cards, not that much anyone - and yes, reverse implied odds. Those odds can be a game changer as the user ExciteD pointed out on 2+2 forums:

As somebody who has studied the game due to challenge/chance of expansion, I can tell you, should GREATLY change your NLH game when playing 6+ holdem. Start thinking about reverse implied odds and how you can put people in spots where reverse implied odds are hugely in your profit (situations like that occur very often, cause hands improve a huge percentage of the time)."

For more tips regarding how to approach the new game, you can also take a look on our sister site PokerVIP and read the Six Plus Hold'em Rules & Strategy.

Editor’s Take: New Games, New Opportunities

Ok, more gambling, smaller edges but is it worth it? Can SPH become the next big thing in the poker industry? It definitely can!

Many poker players are of the opinion that the revitalization of the poker ecology cannot be done by simply wiping out old, inefficient formats and games. It can only be done by adding and developing new, interesting, and different game options. I share their opinion and I believe a new derivation like Six Plus Holdem will bring a lot of positives to the depleted online environment in the long run.

Everybody knows why Omaha didn’t catch up with the mainstream as much as Texas Holdem, too many complained about the complexity of the game. Not to mention paying attention to all those ever-present draws and making a poker hand from exactly three community cards and two hole cards. SPH gets rid of all those complaints. It’s simple like regular Holdem and the gambling factor is much more present. If we also add the lack of strategic information about the game, we can assume every single one of us could be a winner (the reverse is also possible if we aren’t prepared to put in the work, every one of us can be a fish).

So really, what’s not to like? Can SPH become an even more popular game than the regular NLHE? Maybe in the long run, but for now it definitely has the potential to compete with other poker variants like Stud, 2-7 Triple Draw and yes, even Pot Limit Omaha.

What do you think? Is Six Plus Holdem a Game Changer? Can it top the popularity of PLO and NLHE? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comment section below.

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Florian is a freelance journalist and avid poker player with a strong passion to create unique and appealing stories.He is an experienced researcher on various topics, from business and the financial markets to psychology and the gambling industry.He blogs at more


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