Introduction to Shorthanded Limit Holdem

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Shorthanded Hold'em games are hard to find in brick and mortar poker rooms. In the middle and lower limits, it is played at times, but never with any regularity. Sometimes players are willing to start a game shorthanded in the hopes that it fills up, but if it stays shorthanded, they quickly move to another limit or leave. The exact opposite would happen late at night or early in the morning. During these times, players would leave to go home, thus leaving the game shorthanded. The players who still wanted to play would have no choice but to play shorthanded or go home. These games are often good games because the players still playing are usually the ones that are stuck and are not playing their best game.

The internet has changed the world in many different ways. In the poker universe, the internet has brought online poker to many players, and it has brought more interest to shorthanded games. Many online casinos have tables set up specifically for shorthanded games. They may have a 6-player maximum table, a 5-player maximum table or heads-up tables.

Shorthanded Hold'em may be right for you if any of these describe you:

  • you can tolerate the wilder fluctuations in the shorthanded games
  • you are willing to play more aggressively
  • you get bored waiting for hands in full games
  • you like action and would like to get involved in more pots without giving up edge
  • you do not mind getting heads-up in many situations after the Flop
  • your strength is in reading hands and playing the players

If any of these descriptions pertain to you, then shorthanded games may be right for you. These are games that loose-aggressive players prefer. In fact, the loose-aggressive players can often perform better in the shorthanded game by just playing the same way that they do in full games. The shorthanded games suit their style better than full games do. The loose-aggressive players' natural play now becomes closer to the winning formula in shorthanded games. This is not necessarily because those players understand the differences between shorthanded and full games. They are playing the game the same way that they know how, and it just so happens that their strategy is closer to the correct strategy when there are fewer players than when there are more. Meanwhile, the tight-passive players will have trouble in the shorthanded games if they do not change their strategy from a full game. Playing tight and waiting for high quality hands means giving up a lot of edge to the aggressive players in the shorthanded games.

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