Aria Introduces Short Deck Poker Tournaments for Low Stakes Players

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The Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas was the first to bring short deck poker tournaments to America, when the second Poker Masters included a $10,000 buy-in short deck event. Now, the most popular poker room in Sin City is introducing the Texas hold’em variant that’s become popular with high-stakes pros to low-stakes players.

Aria Las Vegas poker
Aria in Las Vegas will finally spread low-stakes short deck poker tournaments on Dec. 2. (Image:

On Dec. 2, Aria will spread a pair of “affordable” short deck tournaments. Starting at 11 am that Sunday, the poker room will open a $240 no-limit version of the relatively new hold’em game. And then a similar tournament at 7 pm that same day.

These tournaments are replacing the casino’s regular Sunday standard hold’em events, but only for one day.

But who knows, maybe short deck will be a rousing success and will become a regular game at the Vegas Strip casino.

Aria has been a poker innovator. Last year, the popular card room began incorporating the big blind only ante format into many of its tournaments. And now many of the top poker rooms in the US are following suit. The format has become so popular that even the WSOP hosted six big blind ante tournaments this past summer.

Perhaps, short deck hold’em is the next craze in poker. Does anyone want to make a prediction about the 2019 WSOP falling in line with the trend?

Making it Affordable

Aria Tournament Director Paul Campbell announced on Twitter that his card room will host some short deck poker (also known as six-plus hold’em) events next month at “affordable” buy-ins.

Short deck is already popular in the high-stakes card rooms of Asia. Pros such as Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey promote the game. But, except for a few high-stakes cash games and tournaments, the poker variant hasn’t yet spread to America.

And now for the first time ever, a US casino (Aria) will host the game at a buy-in the Average Joe can afford.

What is Short Deck Hold’em?

No-limit six-plus hold’em is the same basic game as standard Texas hold’em, except with a few major differences. Each player is dealt two hole cards and attempts to make the strongest poker hand out of the eventual seven cards available.

But in this newer variant, the 2-5 cards are removed from the deck. Hence, the name “six plus hold’em.” The betting structure is the same as standard hold’em but the hand strengths are quite different.

A royal flush, straight flush, and quads are still the top three hands, and high card is the weakest followed by a single pair and two-pair. But in short deck poker, a flush beats a full house and three of a kind beats a straight.

The reason for the adjustment to the hand strengths is because it’s slightly more difficult to hit a flush than a full house with four of each suit removed from the deck. New players often forget these rules and pay dearly.

Pros such as Dwan and Ivey enjoy the game as it’s a little more action-packed than standard hold’em.

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