Short Handed Play – Dave Tarbet
Short handed play is very different from a full table and you must alter your style of play accordingly. Many players do not like short handed games as they cannot grasp the difference in playing style needed to win at a short handed table.
Very tight players who only play premium starting hands do well in a full game but if they do not adapt their style they will not be winners in short handed games. A short handed game is a lot faster and the blinds come round more often so you have to play more hands and cannot afford wait for those big pocket pairs.
Okay, so now you know you have to play more hands, but what type of hands should you be playing?
An important concept to grasp is that starting hands change value in short handed games. Hands like suited connectors that can be quite profitable in full games go down in value at short handed tables where most pots are contested by only 2 or 3 players so these hands lose their equity.
Hands that go up in value are hands that can win by themselves without any help from the community cards. Hands like Ace-rag, King-rag and small pairs all go up in value for this reason.
You also need to be very aggressive in short handed games and don’t be afraid to raise, your opponents certainly will not be. You also should be prepared to call your opponent down to the river as there is a lot more bluffing in short handed games. Even if there are scary cards on the board, in a short handed game it is less likely that these cards helped your opponents.
Although short handed tables are mainly found on the internet, some live card rooms are now spreading these games aswell. If you are playing a short handed game for the first time, be careful as these games are a lot more volatile than full games meaning your wins and losses can be much greater. Remember, don’t play tight and be aggressive and hopefully you’ll be a winner.