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Short Handed Poker

Playing full ring poker is easy.  All you have to do is sit and wait for premium hands.  The key to winning in full ring is to play ABC tight poker.  Shorthanded poker is a little different.  The blinds come a lot faster when you’re in a 5 or 6-handed game and the faster the blinds come; the more aggressively you need to play.

To play shorthanded poker profitably, you have to get a good sense for when you can steal a pot and who you can bully off their hand.  It takes much more skill to play shorthanded than it does to play full ring.  Here are some tips to help you out:

Play Your Opponent

When you play in a full ring game, you’re primarily concerned with the cards you’re dealt.  However when you play in a shorthanded game, there’s less of a chance that one of your opponents have a good hand.  In this situation, it helps to know your opponent.  Is your opponent passive?  Put more pressure on them by raising more often with your marginal hands.  Is your opponent a calling station?  Then value bet them into oblivion.  Customize your play to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.

Exploit Position

When there are fewer players in the pot, there’s less of a chance that someone hit the flop.  In those situations, the player who shows the most aggression will take it down.  It’s always easier to steal when you’re in position than it is to steal when you’re out of position.  Exploit that fact.

Be Aggressive

Aggressive poker is winning poker and limpers are losers.  Favor raising and folding over checking and calling.  You want to put the pressure on your opponents and make them make the tough decisions.

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