Short Deck Preflop Charts

Short deck poker, also known as Six Plus Poker, has gained significant popularity since its inception in Macau's high roller poker rooms.

Short deck hold'em shares similarities with traditional Texas Hold'em, but the differences introduce unique dynamics that significantly affect preflop play.

We will first outline the key differences between short deck strategy and regular Texas Holdem, then provide #free short deck preflop charts to give you a solid starting point for preflop strategy.

To make it easier to study offline, here is a downloadable PDF of the short deck preflop charts shown at the bottom of the page.

There are 24 short deck preflop hand charts for common scenarios.

They fall into the following preflop range categories:

For full access to the complete library of short deck ranges, sign up for a RangeConverter short deck poker subscription.

There's GTO strategy for heads up to 9 handed and everything in between, for a wide variety of stack depths.
Learn hand charts for every spot in the poker range viewer. Test your skills and fix your leaks with the GTO poker trainer.

Main Differences Between Short Deck and Texas Holdem

If you're familiar with full deck Texas Holdem and want to try short deck poker, before learning any short deck strategy, it's important to understand the 3 main differences between the two game formats and the effect this has.

The 3 main differences with short deck are:

  1.  1. Number of Cards
  2.  2. Hand Rankings
  3.  3. Blind Structure

Number of Cards in Short Deck Poker

In short deck poker, the standard 52-card deck is reduced to 36 cards by removing all 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s. 
The six becomes the lowest card in the deck, which is why this variant is also known as Six Plus Poker.

Hand Rankings in Short Deck Poker

The hand rankings in short deck differ from standard Texas Hold'em due to the shorter deck. The probability of hitting the different hand types changes and this affects the rankings.

The main difference is that a flush ranks higher than a full house.

Like with Texas Holdem, aces can play as high and low. But in short deck the 6 replaces the 2 for the low straight, which becomes A, 6, 7, 8, 9

Flushes occur less frequently in short deck poker due to the reduced number of cards of a specific suit.
Straights are much more likely to hit due to the increased connectivity of the cards from the shorter deck.
Three of a kind is also more likely to hit  than in NLHE, although not to the same degree as the straight.
However, despite straights becoming more common than trips and sets, not all rules rank 3 of a kind higher than straights.

The most common hand rankings for short deck games played online are:

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Four of a Kind
  4. Flush (ranks higher than a full house)
  5. Full House
  6. Straight (variations exist where three of a kind beats a straight)
  7. Three of a Kind
  8. Two Pair
  9. One Pair
  10. High Card

Blind Structure in Short Deck Poker

Short deck holdem is generally played with a button blind structure and antes, where every player posts an ante and the button posts an extra ante. The player to the left of the button is the first to act both preflop and postflop, and the button is the last to act.

This is different to the standard two blind structure in Texas Holdem with a small blind and a big blind, who act last preflop but first postflop.

The Importance of Preflop Strategy in Short Deck Poker

Once you are familiar with the differences between short deck and Texas Holdem, it's time to learn short deck preflop strategy.

Like with regular Texas Holdem, preflop strategy is a fundamental aspect of short deck poker.
Good starting hand selection lays a solid foundation for a winning strategy.

Short deck preflop strategy is quite different to NLHE, so it is important to learn the basics, even if you are a competent Texas Holdem player.

The reduced deck size impacts starting hand values and preflop strategy, leading to a higher likelihood of drawing strong hands.  Getting a pocket pair is roughly twice as likely as in 52 card holdem.

Certain hands that are considered strong in Texas Hold'em may not hold the same value in short deck poker.
For example, higher connected hands increase in value, but small suited connectors are not as attractive as they may seem. Low to medium pairs go down in value if the straight beats three of a kind hand rankings are in place.

Due to the ante structure and preflop equities, going all in preflop at 50a or 100a stack depths is common, even as an open raise. 
Limping preflop is also much more common than in Texas Holdem, where it is usually not an optimal strategy.

Preflop equities run much closer in short deck poker, which leads to higher variance. Due to the higher variance and increased number of all in pots, it is important to prepare accordingly - expect big swings, keep your mental game solid and have the bankroll to support the stakes you are playing.

Key Preflop Strategy Differences Between Short Deck and Texas Holdem

In short deck hold'em, the closer equities and ante structure of the game means that players behind you are less likely to let you win the pot with a preflop raise without a fight.

These two factors make limping preflop more frequent and raise sizes larger in short deck than in no-limit hold'em.
Pot-sized and larger raises are common. As is shoving for many times the pot.

Three-betting any other size than all in is not a significant part of the strategy unless stacks are really deep. This is because stacks are usually too short,  pot size is already large due to antes, and equities are too close to 3bet and then fold.

In short deck poker, multi-way limped pots are the norm. This is often the optimal strategy, which is in sharp contrast to optimal NLHE strategy where limping preflop is rarely correct.

Best Starting Hands in Short Deck Poker

The top starting hands in short deck hold'em include pocket aces, pocket kings, AK suited, JT suited, and strong drawing hands like KQ, QJ, QT and T9 suited.

In short deck hold'em, big pairs and high cards are still good starting hands. However pairs, particularly those lower than kings, decrease in value in short deck compared to regular hold'em.

Connected hands like jack-ten increase in value due to the higher chances of making two pair, trips, and straights.

Pocket aces will still be a solid favourite in a heads up all-in situation, but does not have as much equity against a decent connecting hand as in 52-card hold'em. For example,  AA vs JT suited in NLHE has nearly 80% equity compared with only 64% equity in short deck.

Free Short Deck Preflop Charts

Below are short deck preflop charts for 5 max 50a, which is commonly played on GG Poker.
These GTO preflop charts are calculated rake free. For rake consideration, there are short deck ranges available for every stake and rake at GG Poker in the short deck poker subscriptions from RangeConverter.

Due to how commonplace limping and multiway pots are in short deck, there are a huge number of preflop charts possible.
Every possible scenario is covered in each of the solutions available with the short deck subscription.

Here are 24 short deck preflop hand charts for common scenarios to give you a solid starting point for preflop strategy.

The Opening Ranges are Raise First In (RFI) charts which show hands to play when action folds to you. The vs Limp charts show how to play when someone limps into the pot before you. The vs All In charts show how to play when someone open raises all in before you.

Short Deck Opening Ranges

UTG opening ranges

2 - MP RFI
MP opening ranges

3 - HJ RFI
HJ opening ranges

4 - CO RFI
CO opening ranges

Short Deck Ranges vs UTG Limp

5 - MP vs UTG Limp
MP strategy vs UTG limp

6 - HJ vs UTG Limp
HJ strategy vs UTG limp

7 - CO vs UTG Limp
CO strategy vs UTG limp

8 - BTN vs UTG Limp
BTN strategy vs UTG limp

Short Deck Ranges vs MP Limp

9 - HJ vs MP Limp
HJ strategy vs MP limp

10 - CO vs MP Limp
CO strategy vs MP limp

11 - BTN vs MP Limp
BTN strategy vs MP limp

Short Deck Ranges vs HJ Limp

12 - CO vs HJ Limp
CO strategy vs HJ limp

13 - BTN vs HJ Limp
BTN strategy vs HJ limp

Short Deck Ranges vs CO Limp

14 - BTN vs CO Limp
BTN strategy vs CO limp

Short Deck Ranges  vs UTG All in

15 - MP vs UTG All in
MP strategy vs UTG all in

16 - HJ vs UTG All in
HJ strategy vs UTG all in

17 - CO vs UTG All in
CO strategy vs UTG all in

18 - BTN vs UTG All in
BTN strategy vs UTG all in

Short Deck Ranges vs MP All in

19 - HJ vs MP All in
HJ strategy vs MP all in

20 - CO vs MP All in
CO strategy vs MP all in

21 - BTN vs MP All in
BTN strategy vs MP all in

Short Deck Ranges vs HJ All in

22 - CO vs HJ All in
CO strategy vs HJ all in

23- BTN vs HJ All in
BTN strategy vs HJ all in

Short Deck Ranges vs CO All in

24 - BTN vs CO All in
BTN strategy vs CO all in

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