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Shorthanded No Limit Hold'em Cash Game Strategy

Shorthanded or Six Seat No-Limit Hold’em Cash Game Strategy
by K. Swope of

A shorthanded game is a table that only seats a max of six players at one time. Short handed No-Limit Hold’em will be the game discussed in this article. The strategies and methods mentioned below are for players with knowledge of how Hold’em is played and is not meant to be a “How-To” guide.

Shorthanded poker only slightly chances the scope of your playing given hands. Typical quality starting hands still hold great equity, but it is now possible to play marginal hands with added strength. Hands such as A9 or A8 which would normally be folded out of position in a full game, become hands that you would now raise with at a six seat table. This is because of the odds against your opponent holding any Ace is 12.5:1. Aces that contain a suited hole card also become more powerful. Suited Kings however can still be trouble hands and should not be played so aggressively. While any pocket pair is a potential raising hand now as well.

Playing position in a six handed cash game is of little use since players will look to catch cards on mediocre hands and re-raise with stronger hands in order to build pots. This is one problem area with shorthanded games. The ability to build a decent size pot will not come very often. One or more players must be on draws or holding a solid hand that would constitute staying in the pot. Do not become overly concerned with building up pots. Most short handed games can be very profitable by just taking down uncontested smaller pots.

An absolute weapon to use in this game is trapping and check-raising. Opponents will attempt to steal more pots since typically any hand will only see two to three players staying for the flop. This is a great opportunity for you to capitalize on their aggression. Don’t be afraid to also use this tool as a way to re-steal a pot from an opponent you suspect of bluffing or being weak. Check-raising an aggressive player on a steal will also score you some smaller pots. Do not attempt this move if there is a large amount of money at stake as most players will call with marginal hands just to see a showdown.

Do not see an excessive amount of flops hoping to get lucky and catch some cards. Play your hands appropriately and be patient. Force your opponents into the hard decisions by playing your good starting hands with power. Winning at short handed poker is a grind and takes a high volume of playing to be profitable due to the smaller pots and fewer opponents. Try learning to multi-table to maximize your profit ability.

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