The Short Haul


After spending time learning the basics of Texas Hold’em, it’s always good to expand your knowledge of the game. To do this, you must educate yourself on other difficulties of poker. One area where advanced Texas Hold’em strategy will come into play is Short Handed games. Short Handed games are ones which have 6 or less players sitting at the table instead of the typical 9 or 10 handed tables you see at the live casinos and online. Adjusting your strategy to fit this type of play has a few key components:

Opening your hand range is a valuable tool to succeed at shorthanded Texas Holdem. Typically, when playing a full ring game, you should be playing between 16-20% of your hands. While playing a shorthanded game, you will increase your hands to a range of 25-36%. The reason for this is, with less players at the table, the likelihood of major hands decreases, and the value of less premium hands becomes higher. It is very often that any Ace being dealt is the best hand at the table preflop. You will also see that players will be trying to steal pots much more often and therefore, you are going to need to be prepared to enter more pots (for bigger amounts), and even call bluffs more often by either re-raising or by calling out on the river.

Be prepared to play heads-up in many situations. In a shorthanded game, it is very likely that the action will come down to the blinds only. Always remember that in the small blind, you will be out of position for the rest of the hand, so if you are going to play in this situation, it’s always best to raise here, even if you have just an average hand. Also, if you frequently find that the Button is raising your big blind, you have to assume that he is just using his position here, so if you have a playable hand, it’s probably the best spot in a Short Handed game for you to be reraising him here.

Adjusting to the speed of the game is another important factor in shorthanded play. The game goes much faster than a typical 9-10 handed game. For instance, in a full ring game, you will see on average 75-90 hands per hour. In a shorthanded game, you will see approximately 120 – 150 hands per hour. Make sure you are fully concentrating on the game and not distracted by other factors outside of the software.

By considering the practices above as well as spending more time at shorthanded tables, you should be well on your way to taking on a new advanced strategy in online poker!

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