Master Shorthanded Texas Hold ‘em Poker Games and Master Tournaments
Your progression from superior Texas Hold ‘em Poker player to eventual tournament champion begins with mastering shorthanded games. Shorthanded games typically involve five or six players and are very common in online poker rooms. When you are playing in a shorthanded game the action can come to you fast and furious. You’ll be playing in more hands more quickly than in your typical ring games.
Playing in shorthanded games will typically favor the aggressive player. Because there are fewer players to begin with, hands that are not thought of as premium hands rise in value. Examples of this are medium pairs and high cards that you wouldn’t normally raise with in a full game (A-8, 8-8, 7-7…). If you are raising before the flop, when the flop comes down and your opponents do not connect with it you may very well steal the pot.
Drawing hands in shorthanded games are typically not good hands to play with because of the limited number of players in the game. It is highly unlikely that you will get pots large enough to make it worthwhile to chase.
If you do not have a hand that you feel comfortable raising with you may be better off folding and waiting to play a better hand.
Just because you are playing in a shorthanded game do not plan on playing a greater number of hands, rather, play the hands that you do play more aggressively.
Being aggressive and occasionally bluffing in a shorthanded game, especially when others are checking and calling, will allow you to pick up small pots. Your aggressive plays may make others fold and hand the pot over to you. While it may not work every time, in the long run it usually proves to be profitable.
If you find that most of your opponents will only bet when they are turning pairs, a well timed bluff can steal the pot for you.
When you find yourself seated in late position in a shorthanded game and your opponents before you have folded, a raise can force the blinds to fold thereby winning you the pot. This move, known as stealing the blinds can also be an effective way to pick up small pots and add to your chip total.
Playing in shorthanded games is also great practice for playing in tournaments. As your opponents are knocked out of the game, you’ll be going up against fewer players. Playing in shorthanded games will prepare you for these situations.
You’ll also find lots of shorthanded games played online. With players dropping in and out for a few hands before dinner or on a lunch break at work, it is not uncommon to be sitting at a table up against ten opponents one moment and then before you know it you’ll be up against Five opponents.
On a final note, with all the extra hands that you will be playing in shorthanded games your bankroll can take large swings. You need to be ready to handle these swings. Shorthanded games can be very profitable and remember you will need to know how to play in a shorthanded game if you ever want to play in and win a tournament.