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Short Deck Hold'em

What is Short Deck?

As a descendent of Texas Hold’em, Short Deck is played in a very similar way, except for a few key differences:

First of all, all cards with a value below 6 are removed, leaving a smaller 36-card deck. This makes the low end of a straight A-6-7-8-9.

Do hand rankings differ?

Due to the shorter deck, there are fewer cards that can make a flush. Therefore, in Short Deck a flush now beats a full house as follows:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Flush
  • Full house
  • Straight
  • Three of a kind
  • Two pair
  • One pair
  • High card
How does betting work?

Unlike regular games of Texas Hold’em, where two players to the immediate left of the dealer are required to post a small blind and big blind, no blinds are posted in Short Deck.

Instead, all players post an ante, with the dealer posting a larger forced bet to get the action going. This additional button value is usually double the amount of the ante, however, it is configurable.

Before a card is dealt, the regular antes are collected into the main pot, while the additional button ante remains in front of the dealer to start the betting.

Each player is dealt their hole cards and the first (pre-flop) betting round can begin.

Communal cards are then dealt the same as in Texas Hold’em.

Ante explanation

For example, let’s say the ante is $1 and the additional button ante is $1.

  • Players have the option to call $1 and make the minimum pre-flop raise to $2.
  • The game then proceeds the same as any normal Texas Hold’em game.
  • Post-flop the minimum bet is $1.

There is a round of betting on each street: Flop (first 3 communal cards), Turn (4th Communal Card) and River (Final Communal Card), just the same as in Texas Hold’em.

For example in a game where the normal ante is $2 and the additional button ante is $3.

  • Players have the option to call $3 and make the minimum pre-flop raise to $6.
  • The game then proceeds the same as any normal Texas Hold’em game.
  • Post-flop the minimum bet is $2.

A player’s hand is made up of the best 5-card combination out of their 2 hole cards and the 5 communal cards, just the same as regular Texas Hold’em.

What are the buy-ins?

For each game, players are able to buy in with 50-300 antes, with stakes starting from 2c ante up to the high stake feature games.

Pot size

Another important difference between Short Deck and Texas Hold’em is that, due to every player placing an ante pre-flop in Short Deck, the pots start bigger. For example, at a regular $100 buy-in Texas Hold’em table, before any voluntary money is contributed to the pot, the pot value is $1.50. At a $100 buy-in Short Deck table, however, this amount is much higher at $7.