Shorthanded holdem is when the table isn’t full
Often times in full games you sit there for hours without a chance to do much. I would prefer to play shorthanded limit holdem over any other game — threehanded and heads up is fine too. It is 6am right now, and I’ve just returned from playing shorthanded. I thought of a few important tips:
The more you tilt the more you feel like people are bluffing.
Since shorthanded holdem is often really wild, and because people are raising with anything under the sun from late position, defending your blinds becomes crucial. Part of defense is to call down with hands that you would fold at a full table. These hands might sometimes include things as weak as Ace high or bottom pair. This is all part of good shorthanded play. A problem arises though, when you start to tilt.
When you tilt at a short game, you begin to assume everyone is pushing hands more than they really are. Pretty soon you are calling down with many hands you shouldn’t have and you’re making it easy to beat you. Pretty soon any flop you hit a little something of, you are calling to the river. Just being able to site this as a problem gives you some defense against it. What I try to do when I’m slipping into this is to slow down and tighten up for a bit until I get my bearings again — kind of like taking a breather. You can also do this at a full table too. Also, when you are tilting, try to avoid calling down on flops with an Ace or King when you don’t have one.
The value of being the bettor
Shorthanded poker is like the essence of what poker is really all about. You only see glimpses of this at ring games. In both styles though, being a bettor and not a caller is important. This is paramount in shorthanded play. It is difficult to flop hands and if you have a relentless bettor firing chips away at you, it makes if hard to do anything. What you need to do is to reraise preflop much more, especially with your mid-range hands. Let me give you an example, let’s say you have a hand like AJ or KQ in one of the blinds. A guy from late position raises. You need to reraise here because it now puts you in the driver’s seat for the rest of the hand. If you only call, most of the time you’ll completely miss the flop and face a bet on the flop. You can call here to, assuming your hand is good, but by betting you have a greater chance to win. Let’s say your opponent raised with 33 and you reraised with AT. The flop is J-5-2. With this flop you could probably call down anyway, but by betting you may get him to fold his 33 before the river.
One thing that I have found is that switching how you play your good hands really pays off.
ou don’t want to always raise on the flop with them, or on the turn, or slow play them. Mix it up. Sometimes even check the flop and then raise the turn or just flat call. Players especially online rarely ever fold to raises on the river if they have called the whole way so I sometimes check the flop, call the turn and raise the river. Anything you can do to keep them offguard… An example might be if you have Q4s in the BB, call someone’s raise from the button and then hit top pair. I’ll sometimes just flat call all the way so I can get full value on the hand. Then on the next pot I might checkraise the flop and bet it down.
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