What is Short Deck Mean in Texas Holdem Poker?

Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Full ring

In the last installment of Knowledge in short deck, we talked about how the presence of an ante in short deck affects the amount of effective chips a player has, and the game strategy in short deck. Next we will move on to other knowledge in short stacks.

At a full ring in Texas Hold’em, where players are dealt randomly, then out of 35,904 flop combinations, 17% of the flop rounds will have players hitting pairs and 18.5% will have at least 1 player making a straight. This means that in nearly 64% of the flopped rounds, 9 players almost always miss the flopped round. Also, only 5% of all flop laps have a flop combination that allows a player to hit top pair plus a draw, so it’s safe to say that in close to 60% of flop laps, if you can hit top pair, the hand is strong enough. This is one of the theoretical reasons why we play and go C-bet most of the time even if we hit top pair in a multi-player bottom pool.

So, is this also true in short deck games? In a 6 player short deck game, close to 25% of the flop rounds will have players pairing up and 36% of the flop rounds will have at least one player going straight. Remove some of the other flops that allow players to make strong hands, and only close to 37% of the flops will leave players with no pairs and no straights.

Top pair

In contrast, a player who hits top pair on the flop is still strong in a singleton or three-way bottom pool, but not nearly as strong as in Texas Hold’em or Omaha, where top pair is much weaker in a bottom pool of more than three players.

Let’s take an example, let’s say you have AQo, QT8 rainbow on the flop, against JJ~88, A7+, K9, Q9, J9, T9, you have 57% to 43% EV against your opponent. also has 45%, just slightly behind.

The super pair, like AA, is a little better in EV on this flop, even against JQs that hit two pairs, and still has close to 40% EV. if you put it in No Limit Hold’em, the EV is only 27%.

Considering that most players bring in a buy-in of only 20BB, in a bottom pool of 2-3 players, when the backhand chip volume to bottom pool ratio is less than 3, i.e. a low SPR situation, the top pair will almost always have a fighting chance against an all-in scenario.

Since the short deck gives all players 1 to 7 pre-flop odds, and the actual chip count is only 20BB, flat calling the pool and watching the deal becomes the mainstream pre-flop strategy used by most players.

Final Thoughts

When you first get started with short deck, you may not understand how players often flat call into the pool, thinking that since flat callers have a relatively wide range, can I just raise them often from the back seat? This thinking is wrong in most cases.

Let’s say you hold JJ in MP position and UTG flat calls into the pot. This player is close to 50% into the pool, and against your opponent’s range, your JJ has 60% EV, and the hand looks perfect for raising your opponent. But the problem is that you have 4 no-action opponents behind you, and one of these 4 opponents holds QQ+ with a 22% probability of AK, which can be approximately equal to at least one of the 4 opponents behind you holding a stronger hand than you. In this calculation, the JJ you want to make a raise is not enough.

If you switch your position to the SB spot, the 4 players in front of you are all flat calling into the pool and you still hold JJ, the difference is that only 1 player behind you has no action left and he has QQ+ and the probability of AK is only 6%. That means that the further back you are when you get a hand worthy of 3BET, the higher the strength of your preflop hand.

But we can’t ignore the fact that when you run into an opponent who can play, he will not only flat call into the pot with combinations, but also mix in overpairs to flat call into the pot. Take the previous example, you are still in MP position and UTG is such a good player, so the chance of the next 4 opponents getting QQ+ and AK goes up to 32%. Overall, it seems that the JJ in the hand is not so beautiful. All in all, when you get a hand of JJ’s strength in front position, the most appropriate strategy should also be to flat call into the pool.

Short deck are more common because of the low SPR and comparable EV after the flop, and can quickly attract a lot of new players to the game after it is introduced. It is still difficult to find the optimal strategy, but the current short deck is very similar to the situation Omaha faced when it was introduced.

Back to Top