Six Plus Holdem Launches On iPoker

Six Plus Hold’em Goes Live on iPoker Network, But Will Players Flock To Format?

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Bet365 and other partnering sites on the iPoker network have debuted Six Plus Hold’em.

The variant, which became popularized in Macau card rooms before making its way to Russian-focused site Pokerdom, is an action inducing form of Hold’em where the low cards (2-5) are removed from the deck.

Six Plus at a glance

Six Plus bears a strong structural resemblance to traditional Hold’em. Blinds are paid in the same fashion, community cards are dealt as normal and there are the same number of betting rounds.

However the removal of the deuce through five cards is significant enough to warrant slightly different hand rankings:

  • In Six Plus straights appear in abundance, so much so, that they rank lower than three-of-a-kind (but still higher than two pair).
  • Full houses are outranked by flushes, with the frequency of the latter unaffected by the smaller deck.

Going further, the prevalence of premium hands is much higher in Six Plus:

  • On average, players will be dealt a pair at a rate of approximately once every 12 hands versus one in 17 normally, with the chances of flopping a set increased from 12% to 18%.
  • Being dealt two broadway cards is also a much more common occurrence, up from 14% to around 29%.

Hold’em for gamblers?

The augmented rate at which players are dealt premiums will undoubtedly have a profound impact on gameplay, with players willing to see more flops and often having better pot odds to suck out on their opponents.

In other words, Six Plus is a more action-oriented game, and by extension, one that may appeal to gambling minded players who find the pace of classic Hold’em too tedious for their liking.

It may also find a home with new players, as the smaller deck increases the chances of players making a hand, therefore rendering them less reliant on some of the more skillful nuances of poker, most notably bluffing.

Strategy still plays a role

That being said, success at Six Plus will depend on far more than just blind luck.

To illustrate, it’s easy to see players overvaluing hands that are considered strong at the hold’em tables, but relatively weaker when playing Six Plus – bottom sets and low suited connectors are good examples.

Players that exploit those who treat Six Plus holdings the same as Hold’em hands should quickly gain a decisive edge.

How much impact will Six Plus have on liquidity?

Last October, Pokerdom became the first major online site to support the format. At the time the operator was already on the upswing, thanks in part to a very successful Open Faced Chinese rollout.

However, Six Plus did little to increase liquidity on the site, and today the Six Plus lobby is practically a barren wasteland, despite its prominent placement in the client.

There’s reason to believe that the format will fare better on iPoker:

  • According to PokerScout, iPoker has approximately three times the cash game liquidity as Pokerdom. Historically speaking, alternative formats stand a better chance of thriving on more heavily trafficked sites.
  • iPoker appears willing to put some marking muscle behind Six Plus. PokerStrategy was the first to report that the network is planning on running €125,000 worth of exclusive Six Plus promotions.
  • The prevalence of gambling among the UK’s young and affluent demographic is on the rise.  The frenetic pace of Six Plus may appeal more to the UK online poker market than Pokerdom’s primarily Russian player base.

As of the time of this writing, Six Plus is only live in a limited capacity. From a quick observation of the Bet365 cash game lobby, it appears the game is only available at the €.02/€.04 level.

At peak playing time, about 35 players were mixing it up at the Six Plus tables, less than 2% of all cash game players on the network. While this number is expected to grow once the format becomes available at more stakes and is tied to promotional events, it’s probably safe to say that it won’t be a windfall for the dot-com industry’s third most popular operator.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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