Short Handed Poker Anyone?

This was published 01-07-2009

Short handed play is offered at all online casinos, and I really enjoy playing short handed.   6 players as oppose to 8,9, or 10?  The action is faster, the betting is much bigger and there is a lot more variance and wild swings.  But it can be very profitable if you’re willing to give it a go, and can handle the swings!

Understand the difference between short and regular play, and adjust!

The first mistake most people make is not realizing the difference between short handed and regular games and not adjusting their game accordingly.  Waiting too long for a hand will cost you in a short handed game due to the increased number of blinds you have to pay. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying play every hand you’re given…Far from it.  But i am saying if you don’t adjust to compensate for the fewer players and more blinds you will go broke without playing a hand. 

In full games you can afford to sit back and wait for big hands before committing your money.  You can’t do that in short handed play;  the blinds come around far more often and other players have loosened their games, so unless you push back enough with less-than-premium hands you’ll be seen as an easy target and will literally give your money away.

Don’t piss your money away – but don’t wait for premium hands either!

There are people out there who play King / 8 every time it’s dealt. In a regular game that would be suicide, however in a short handed game (if it’s suited) K/8 may be a very playable hand depending on your position. With this in mind, you need a hand strong enough to win just on high card alone, especially when you’re putting your money in there against the blinds.  A hand like 9/10 suited looks very attractive, and indeed in late position in a full table game would be a raising hand.  In short play, your hand still needs to improve to win the pot.  With the King / 8 the king may be good enough to take the pot down without improving at all.  It’s also likely anover card to any pair that may be out there, so you’ve still got outs if your opponent improves on the flop.

Short games are geared for a loose,  aggressive playing style,  while tight,  passive players  –  who can at least survive in full games  –  will need to adapt to succeed.

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