Tom Dwan explains short-deck poker (6-Plus Hold’em) | Paul Phua Poker
Watch Tom Dwan explain short-deck poker, aka 6-Plus Hold’em, the game played by some of the biggest cash game players in the world.
Tom Dwan: Hey guys. This is a full deck of 52 cards. People use it to play poker. There’s a bunch of different games. No Limit Holdem’s a very popular one. Sometimes in China lately, people take out the 2’s, the 3’s the 4’s and the 5’s. You end up with a 36-card deck. The game play is very different. An ace can make a straight if its board is 6, 7, 8, 9. So an ace can be a 5.
Oh man, and there’s a lot to explain!
We can get rid of these 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s.
One: it’s harder to hit flushes. Now, when you have a flush draw you only have 5 outs left, instead of having 9 outs.
Two. J-T and A-K are basically a coin flip. If you have a set against a straight, if you didn’t get it in behind, if you’re on the flop, you’re actually a small favourite. Remember, the ace can be 5, though.
So again, ace, 6, 7, 8, 9 is a straight, but you’d still lose to any 10.
Straights and straight draws: straights happen a lot and straight draws are worth a lot more. If you have a straight draw on the flop, let’s say it comes K, 7, 8 and you have 9-T and the other guy has A-K… My math’s a little rusty but it’s something right around 50-50, and if the guy had, say, K-J, for example, he’s actually a little bit more of a favourite because he blocks your straight a little bit and if you hit two pair he makes a straight. So there’s all the math stuff to figure out later. But it makes for a pretty good poker game. And they’ve been playing in China a lot lately. And they play some funny variations.
I’ve played it, l believe, twice, when there were blinds, like normal No Limit Holdem. But a lot of the time we play where everyone antes and then sometimes there’ll be a straddle on the button, sometimes there’ll be blinds somewhere else.
There’s actually two types of short deck: the type we’re playing for a long time, a full house beats a flush, just like always.
Just recently we’ve started playing a flush beats a full house. That’s because someone went and did the math and apparently flushes actually happen less commonly than full house. I haven’t verified this so don’t yell at me if l’m wrong! But the last few days we’ve been playing a flush beats a full house, and l think that might carry on longer.
I think there was some jurisdiction where they needed to have it that way because the less likely hand needs to beat the hand that’s more likely than it. So l think some casinos are going to be like this where a flush beats a full house. There might be two different variations: maybe some people play flush beats a full house, some play it doesn’t, but it changes the game a lot.
When you’re playing normal short deck – l call it normal because that’s the one l’m used to, where a full house beats a flush – flush draws usually aren’t that good, you don’t have that many outs. Even if you hit, someone might make a full house on you. And when you’re playing this new variation, all of a sudden two suited cards look pretty good. Then you can have someone make a full house, think they’ve got the hand all wrapped up, and you just sneak it in there and win a big pot off them.
But it’s a pretty cool game! They’re just starting to play it in Vegas a little bit. We’ve been playing it in Montenegro. I think there were almost games in Manila, maybe there were games in Manila, l don’t really remember, l’ve been playing too much poker so my mind’s hazy! But they’re playing short deck a lot. You guys should learn it.