December 22nd, 2016
Six Plus Hold’em is an exciting new spin on the conventional Texas Hold’em poker game. It was introduced in casinos in Macau by two of the world’s most famous professional poker players: Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan. Both hail from New Jersey and have the combined pedigree to create a brand new style of poker.
Ivey has claimed seven World Series of Poker bracelets, while Dwan – primarily an online player known by his handle 'Durrrr' – has been playing professionally since the age of 17. As Dwan explains, in Six Plus Hold’em:
"everyone needs to be in there, gambling more, thinking more, trying to figure out what to do...they can’t just be lazy or just wait for a good hand, which makes for a less fun game… There’s a lot more action, so you’re thinking about the new ways to play it and you end up coming to the conclusion that you can’t fold, you have to call again or raise. It’s just fun. Everyone is in a lot of pots and there is a lot of money in there."
The game starts out the same as traditional Texas Hold’em, with each player receiving two pocket cards before the betting begins. There are still the three community cards, the Flop, followed by the forth community card, the Turn and the fifth and final community card, the River. Players bet in turn until there is a showdown, with the best hand winning.
So what has changed? The most fundamental difference between Six Plus Hold’em and most other popular variants (including Texas, Omaha, 7-Card Stud and High / Low Chicago) is that cards 2, 3, 4 and 5 are removed from the deck, leaving only 36 cards instead of the standard 52. The Aces remain both low and high value, and form a low straight as A,6,7,8,9.
But what does this actually do to the game mechanics? Well, it places an emphasis on making Straights, as fewer cards in the deck means that these should be easier to form in your hand, just as Flushes become harder to create with only nine cards.
Since Straights are now a more regular occurrence, this type of hand has fallen down a peg on the hand rankings, meaning a Straight can lose out to Three of a Kind. Similarly, it is now more difficult to reach a Flush, since four cards have been removed, so its importance has been increased to place it above a Full House. The new rankings are as follows:
Initially, even seasoned poker players may struggle because of the switch between Three of a Kind and a Straight, which in most games outranks the former hand. This levels the playing field between professional and amateur poker players, as everyone is still fresh to the playing style and trying to figure out the best strategy.
The smaller deck also increases the chance of certain hands. For example, players could now draw a Pair of Aces one in every 105 hands, compared to Texas Hold’em, where that statistic more than doubles to one in 220 hands. Likewise, the chances of hitting a complete Straight increase from 31% to 48%. In this respect, it shares some similarities to Omaha Hi-Lo, but without the overly complex rules.
The short deck means there will be a lot more games, so Ivey and Dwan advise that you take care to manage your bank roll, as you could burn through it quicker. It also means, as Dwan hints at, that there should be more playable hands, which means fewer players folding at the start of the game, therefore more thrilling gameplay and dramatic ending to each hand.
Phil Ivey also promotes the idea that 'luck' is a bigger factor in this style of poker than Hold’em, but not without strategy. When offering advice about playing Six Plus, he says: "It’s still poker, so you have to be patient when you need to be patient and be aggressive when you need to be."
Coral online casino was one of the first UK casinos to adopt the game at the start of 2016, hoping that it would offer poker fans an innovative and exciting new way to play. So if you want to try your hand at Six Plus Hold’em, why not visit Coral Poker now? If you join today, Coral is gifting players a 150% First Deposit Bonus up to £300, as well as other promotions and exclusive offers!