Getting tired of No Limit Hold’em and ready to try a new game? Apparently, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey are, as the much-admired poker pros are promoting a game known as “Six Plus Hold’em.”
The rules of Six Plus Hold’em appear to be rather straightforward – it’s the same as NLHE, but with less cards. Deuce through five of all suits are removed from the deck, leaving 36 cards instead of 52. In other words, short-deck poker.
Ace remains both high and low, with the lowest possible straight being Ace-6-7-8-9. As explained by Dwan in a video promoting the game, straights take on greater significance since it’s harder to make a flush with only nine cards of each suit as opposed to 13 in a 52-card deck.
New Game, New Strategy
“That’s one of the interesting things about new games,” Dwan states, answering an interviewer’s question while seated next to Ivey, presumably in Macau where both have been known to favor the high stakes cash games. “You got to figure out, OK, straights are a little more important here.”
Also more important is the likelihood of increased action, which may draw more recreational players to the game. NLHE is often viewed by casual players as requiring a bit too much patience while waiting for good cards.
“It’s a little bit more exciting than playing regular No Limit Hold’em because you get to play more hands and there’s a lot more luck involved,” Ivey stated, providing his take on Six Plus Hold’em. “So I think it’s a lot more exciting for a new player.”
But players ready to try Six Plus Hold’em are reminded by Ivey that the game’s premise remains the same. Though the action may increase, don’t forget the basics that are known to bring profit and success.
“It’s still poker, you know,” Ivey added. “So I mean you have to be patient when you need to be patient, and be aggressive when you need to be.”
New Games Take Time to Master
While Ivey and Dwan are two of the world’s best poker players and understanding complexities of various poker games may come quicker and easier to them than most, both readily admit that a learning process is involved with Six Plus Hold’em.
“I’m still trying to figure out the game myself,” stated Dwan, “as I’m sure a lot of other people are. You make stronger hands than normal, obviously, because there’s less cards in the deck. Your percent chance of winning when you have a better hand….you’re going to be a smaller favorite, usually, than in regular Hold’em. And that results in people gambling more.”
A parting word of advice from Ivey regarding Six Plus Hold’em: “Be careful, the game is very fast and there’s a lot of action. So take your time and be smart.”
No word yet on if and/or when your favorite poker site might be adding Six Plus Hold’em to their game offerings.