Short Deck Hold'em is a variant of Texas Hold'em played with a short deck of 36 cards. The deck contains no 2's, 3's, 4's, or 5's. Short Deck Hold'em uses Short Deck hand rankings which differ from normal high hands.
Short Deck Hold'em Gameplay
A hand begins with the first players clockwise from the dealer placing forced bets, known as blinds.
Each player is dealt 2 hole cards from a short deck of 36 total cards.
A round of betting occurs. Starting with the first player clockwise from the blinds, each player has an opportunity to call or raise the current bet, or fold and exit the hand.
When this betting round is complete, the flop comes: 3 community cards are dealt to the center of the table.
Another round of betting occurs, starting with the first player clockwise from the dealer.
When this round is complete, the turn comes: 1 additional community card is dealt to the center of the table.
Another round of betting occurs in the same way.
When this round is complete, the river comes: 1 final community card is dealt to the center of the table.
A final round of betting occurs.
If two or more players remain in the hand, a showdown is held and the players’ hole cards are compared.
The pot is awarded to the best Short Deck hand, or split in the event of a tie.
The hand now complete, the dealer button moves clockwise and the next hand begins.
Players in Short Deck Hold’em are not required to use a certain amount of hole cards to form their best 5-card hand, and may play 3, 4, or even all 5 of the community cards.
Short Deck Scoring
In Short Deck games, 2's, 3's, 4's, and 5's are removed from the deck, leaving 36 cards instead of the normal 52 cards.
Because there are less ranks in the deck, several of the rules for scoring hands change:
• Three of a kind beats a straight.
• A flush beats a full house.
• The hand A6789 is a straight, and is the lowest straight.
The order of hand strength, from weakest to strongest, is therefore: High Card, One Pair, Two Pair, Straight, Three of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Four of a Kind, Straight Flush, Royal Flush.
Short Deck Hold’em can be played with Pot Limit, No Limit, or Fixed Limit betting.