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  • Strategy And Tips For Short-handed Texas Hold'em

    short handed holdem“I was killing this table when it was 9 handed but now that it’s five-handed, I’m not able to get any action and these guys are raising like it’s going out of style!” Many players have shared in this experience the first time their ring game is whittled down to half the number of regular players. The same strategy that worked well during a full 9 or 10 handed ring game doesn’t work so well once the table is half empty. A player who was able to wait for premium starting hands and played a TAG style game experiences frustration because of the pace and betting activity of the short handed game.

    Texas Hold'em Articles:

    Welcome To Short Handed Texas Hold’em

    Any time a game has 6 or less players seated it’s considered a short handed game. When this happens the dynamics of the game change quite a bit. You will see much more raising, lots of action on the flop, and less hands are played to the river. Today we will talk about two ways you may find yourself at a short handed table and the best tactics to win at these games.

    Sitting At A 6 Handed Hold’em Table Online

    A few years ago, 6 handed online poker tables became common at most rooms such as Full Tilt Poker. This was a direct result of the speed junkies who wanted a faster action game and like the quick style of short handed tables. It also spawned a generation of online short handed Hold’em experts who regularly crush the game. Your success in playing these types of games will come from a solid game plan and making a few changes to your game that run contrary to how most people are taught to play full ring games.

    The single biggest change to your game will come in the form of starting hands. While it’s ok for a player to wait for premium staring hands like big over cards and suited connectors in a full ring game, this won’t work as well short handed. The blinds will kill you in this scenario and have a big impact on your poker bankroll in short order. So you must loosen up your starting hand requirements the moment you sit at this table or suffer the consequences. Any Ace in middle position is a playable hand, unsuited connectors and gap connectors (such as five-seven or nine-jack) are all decent starting hands when you’re short handed.

    Plays from the button are standard fare for this type of table so anytime it’s folded to you and you’re holding any sort of face card or better, make a move and raise. Of course you’re not going to take down every hand uncontested but you must make moves at the blinds to be successful at this version of Texas Hold’em.

    When your full ring game is reduced to 4-6 players

    If you’re sitting at a full 10 handed ring game and find yourself sitting with a few empty seats, you must change gears immediately. Just as if you had made the choice to sit at a 6 handed table, your playing style needs to change here to capitalize quickly. For starters, some of the other players may not be as experienced and will continue to play using a full ring game strategy. You should be able to identify these players as they will fold many hands pre-flop and generally maintain their old style from the full ring game. You may also find opportunities to take big pots from the big stacks as they tend to try and bully smaller stacks once short handed. Pick your spot based on your hand and your read of these types of players and you can punish them for trying to take down pots with mediocre hands.

    Fundamentally, you will play the same regardless of whether you choose to sit at a short handed game or simply find yourself in the position because other players went broke or just tired of the game. Just how quickly you’re able to adapt your game to this type of playing environment will be the key to your long term success at short handed Texas Hold’em.