What are the Real Six Plus Hold'em Rules?

3 months ago
What are the Real Six Plus Hold'em Rules?
25 Mar

If you haven’t heard of Six Plus Hold’em you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past year, the ‘Short Deck’ game taking the poker world by storm in 2018, so now it’s time to take a close look at the game and, especially, the real rules!

The game is played with only 36 cards, hence the nickname ‘Short deck’, because the 2, 3, 4 and 5’s are all removed – and that’s where the name Six Plus comes in. And the reason it’s so popular? Because it is as exciting a poker game as you can imagine!

With all the smaller cards removed, every hand offers you something to play for, and the betting follows that pattern – big hands = big pots!

If you’re already a fan of the short deck game and its different strategy, then Jason Somerville’s inadvertent blurting of the PokerStars version coming out will be wonderful news and, of course, many will recall the battles last year at the highest stakes during the Triton Series in both Montenegro and Jeju, South Korea which saw the likes of Tom ‘durrr’ Dwan, Phil Ivey, Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates and a host of other huge names taking part - $million pots and tournament prizes the order of the day!

Now, here’s the big debate we’re going to look at – what are the real rules of Six Plus Hold’em?

The rules generally follow those of normal Hold’em – 2 hole cards each, flop, turn and river, betting rounds, etc – and the ace still works both ways, only now it counts as a ‘five’ for the low straights - but there is one particular bone of contention among those who offer the game…

What are the winning hand rankings in 6Plus poker?

Well, everyone is agreed that a flush beats a full house… because the maths with only 36 cards says it is more difficult to hit a flush than a boat, since there are fewer cards that can make a flush (9 instead of 13).

When it comes to straights and 3 of a kind however….

As Lamb points out, Triton use the following hand rankings….

The poker app PPPoker also uses this order, as do various others, but both iPoker and PokerStars – as well as WSOP according to Lamb’s tweet – have the reverse order

Why should a Straight > 3 of a kind?

Well, that’s a tricky question, because basically straights are easier to hit than a set or trips, and should generally therefore be ranked below them.

Tom Dwan explained the basics on a video for PaulPhuaPoker, stating:

“If you get it in with a set against a straight…on the flop, you’re a small favourite”…

Lamb and others disagree, so what to do?

Well, if we look at why there is a disagreement, we see that with 4 cards of every suit already out of the game, straight draws occur much more frequently – less gaps mean they appear more often.

But the 36-cards instead of 52 also means it’s easier to hit your 3 of a kind, because with a pocket pair your odds are 2 of 34 cards rather than 2 out of 50 cards to complete the set, so it’s not all one-way traffic in the argument!

Mathematically it should be possible to balance these probabilities and see which has more effect – but so far it seems that no-one has done the arithmetic – and your scribe isn’t the person to settle the debate!

What isn’t debatable, however, is that Six Plus Hold’em is here to stay! Pretty much every site is offering it, big live series are including it more often, and players haven’t had a bad word to say about the game.

Action, action, action is the name of the game – and that’s great news for poker.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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