Short Handed No-Limit Holdem
No-Limit Holdem Strategy for Short Handed Games
A popular way to play no limit Texas holdem in this day and age is to play shorthanded. A shorthanded game is one that is less than a full table of nine or ten players. The most common way to play shorthanded, especially online, is a six max game, where no more than six players are at the table at any one time. These games may even be more popular than full ring games online.
Popularity of Shorthanded Games
The reason shorthanded games are so popular is that players get to play more hands. Good players understand that good poker means being very selective about starting hands, because if you don’t have a good hand, it’s likely that someone else at the table does. However, fewer players means fewer hands in play, meaning it’s more likely that your marginal hand will be competitive. Furthermore, since the blinds come around more frequently, players must defend more liberally, leading to a good, aggressive game.
Who Should Play Shorthanded Games
If you are an active player who is comfortable in a “no fold’em” type of game, you’ll probably enjoy shorthanded play. Your shorthanded game won’t necessarily be one where every player is in every pot, but you’ll see more action than in many full ring games. If you are a tight player who likes to take his time and wait for a huge hand to get into the pot, you will get crushed in a shorthanded game, and should avoid them.
As should be clear by now, you will have to open up your starting hand range to be successful at shorthanded poker. In addition, you will have to attack and defend blinds frequently. You will be in the blinds one-third of the time, so if you give up those hands, you will find yourself stuck very quickly. You’ll also be in late position against the blinds one-third of the time, and if you don’t take advantage of that situation, your opponents will. If you are playing online, try to take good notes on your shorthanded opponents. Since there are fewer of them, it can pay great dividends to have good reads on frequent opponents, since you will be facing them more often.