Definition of Short Deck Holdem

What is the definition of "short deck hold'em"? What does the term "short-deck hold'em" mean?

Short deck hold'em is reported to have originated in the high stakes card rooms in Macau, Hong Kong and Manila. The game really was introduced to the masses when both Phil Ivey and Tom "durrrr" Dwan promoted the game in a video.

The meaning of the poker term Short Deck Holdem is explained.  What type of a game is it?

The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series has heavily featured short deck hold'em over the past couple of years, and this has resulted in the game spreading to online sites such as Pokerstars and to other tournament series, such as the World Series of Poker. 2019 will be the first year that will feature a "short deck Hold'em" event at the World Series of Poker.

"Short deck hold'em" is much like No Limit Texas Hold'em but with one key difference - all of the 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s are removed from the deck. This leaves:


In total, the size of the deck is reduced from 52 cards to just 36 cards.

There are a couple of key hand rankings changes in short deck hold'em. A flush has a higher ranking than a full house, while a three of a kind will beat a straight. Here are the hand rankings in Short Deck hold'em:

1. Royal Flush
2. Straight flush
3. Four of a kind
4. Flush
5. Full house
6. Three of a kind
7. Straight
8. Two pair
9. One pair
10. High card

The removal of all 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s from the deck means that the average starting hand is much stronger, which results in much more action after the flop.

For instance, the odds of being dealt pocket Queens go up significantly when there are only 36 cards in the deck, rather than 52. You are also significantly more likely to go up against an opponent with a really strong hand, which contributes to the high variance of the game.

Flushes are harder to hit if you have a flush draw (as there will only be 5 outs and not 9), while straight draws are worth a great deal more.

Another important change in short deck hold'em - an Ace can act as a 5 in a straight if the board reads 6-7-8-9.

High stakes gamblers love to gamble, and "short deck hold'em" gives that to them in spades.

With Pokerstars and the World Series of Poker both recently introducing "short deck hold'em" to their offerings, don't expect to see the fad die down anytime soon.


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