Want to Be a Short Deck Superstar? Here Are Insider Tips on the Game at the WSOP!

Want to Be a Short Deck Superstar? Here Are Insider Tips on the Game at the WSOP!

Every year, the best poker players in the world descend upon Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. The acclaimed poker tournament first took place in 1970 and continues to grow in popularity yearly. With a massive prize pool and prestige on the line, it’s no wonder the WSOP is one of the most popular live poker events.

The tournament carries different versions of poker, but does it carry the short deck? Here, we answer this and the most common questions about the poker variation and the reputable event.

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What is Short-Deck Poker?

Short-deck poker differs from standard poker because it only uses 36 cards, including all cards from sixes and above. The game is similar to Texas Hold’em in gameplay and betting, but the hand rankings and strategy differ significantly. 

A top pair in short-deck poker isn’t as strong as in Texas Hold’em due to the potential for drawing better hands. Next, we will go over the order of the best poker hands and provide some tips and strategies.

How does Short Deck work? 

It’s simple. First, you remove cards 2 through 5 from a standard deck of 52 cards. It leaves you with 32 cards, shuffled and dealt with as usual. The goal of Short Deck is to create a five-card poker hand that is better than your opponents’ using any combination of hole cards and community cards to win the pot.

How much are the buy-ins at the WSOP?

The WSOP game comprises many poker variants (including the short deck!), each with its buy-in. During last year’s tournament, the cheapest event was the $400 buy-in for the Colossus, and the most expensive was the $250,000 for the prestigious Super High Roller. As for the main event of the prestigious WSOP tournament, the tournament buy-in is $10,000.

During the previous tournaments, there were charity events, such as the Big One for One drop, and the participants’ buy-in cost was $1 million. Of course, because of the inflation, players must be vigilant for any price changes with the buy-ins just in case they change it in this year’s tournament.

That said, you can see some WSOP players familiar with the rule that the tournaments have alternative ways to enter. You can also qualify for some events by playing in the different satellite tournaments the World Series of Poker game also offers online. Some of those only cost a couple of dollars to participate. And if you lose, if it has rebuys, you can jump back in action. Of course, there’s always a price tag attached to that type of situation.

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Does WSOP Poker play the Short deck?

The short answer is yes! The short deck aims to make a better five-card poker hand than your opponents by combining hole and community cards. The deck only consists of thirty-six (36) total cards.

Why does this poker game have a different hand-ranking system?

Hand rankings in Six Plus Hold’em differ from Texas Hold’em because the deck has fewer cards. This alters the odds of getting certain hands and can vary depending on the game’s host. Remembering these different rankings as the reduced deck affects the likelihood of ensuring pointers is essential. 

Short Deck Hold’em Poker Rules 

Before sitting down at a 6+ Hold’em table, it’s crucial to understand the game’s basic rules. Although 6+ Hold’em shares similarities with No-Limit Texas Hold’em, there are notable differences in gameplay, particularly regarding the blinds structure.

While specific rules may vary among different card rooms and home games for this relatively new game, the standard format entails every player at the table paying an ante and the button contributing a double ante each hand. This blinds structure incentivizes players to see the flop without investing too much by simply matching the size of another ante through a call.

Conversely, paying an ante every hand means playing too cautiously can result in rapid chip loss. As a result, a typical game of Short Deck Poker combines limping (calling the minimum) and players raising with their strong hands. However, it’s worth noting that hand rankings also undergo significant changes in this game, but we’ll delve into that later.

Once the pre-flop action is complete, similar to Texas Hold’em, players progress to the flop. From this stage onward, the game adopts a typical no-limit style, with the action concluding with the player who holds the button. So far, the game appears relatively straightforward!

If you’re already familiar with playing No-Limit Texas, Hold’em transitioning to Short Deck Poker shouldn’t be too challenging, as the game follows a similar flow and pattern to its predecessor. However, the two have other differences, with the most prominent dissimilarity in the hand rankings of 6+ Hold’em.

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Here is an essential guide to playing short-deck poker:

  • Don’t be afraid of draws!

In short-deck poker, players usually need to draw more often than in Hold’em due to the shorter decks and increased number of face cards. It is better to seize these opportunities rather than avoid them.

  • Try to Focus on Getting a Straight

To improve your chances of winning at short-deck poker, remember that straights are more common due to the decreased number of cards in the deck. This makes straight draws more powerful than flush draws. Playing aggressively with a solid straight hand can give you an advantage at the table.

  • Don’t be Afraid to Overbet

As a newcomer to short-deck poker, prepare to be amazed by how frequently you get strong hands. In contrast to Texas Hold’em, where having a top-quality hand is a big deal, you’ll experience overbets more consistently in short-deck poker. Be bold, and don’t hold back! While it’s wise to adjust the size of your bets according to the pot in standard Texas Hold’em, it’s recommended that you overbet once in a while in short-deck poker.

  • Feel Free to Open-limp

It is better to play with a broader range of hands and to limp in six-plus Hold ’em instead of only raising with strong hands, as is typical in traditional Hold’em. This strategy can make the game more profitable since your opponents won’t be able to predict your playing patterns as easily.


Short-deck poker hold’em is a more action-filled alternative to traditional Texas hold’em that many players find enjoyable. The changes from regular hold’em are simple, making it easy for new players to learn and play immediately. The WSOP game carries all the excitement with the annual tournaments. 

With the increased popularity of short-deck poker, more and more WSOP events are expected to incorporate this fan-favorite game. Millions of players worldwide enjoy playing short deck poker, and hosting such game events is an excellent way to engage the global poker audience. 

As a result, many anticipate that there will be several short deck tournaments throughout the upcoming WSOP schedule. It will be interesting to see how these tournaments turn out and whether players revert to traditional Texas Hold’em for their competitions or opt for newer games like Short Deck. Either way, this could be a defining moment in WSOP history as we watch its evolution live from Las Vegas.

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