Holdem Fifth Street

In hold'em games like this it often doesn't take much to win. Therefore you must pay off with more holdem hands. Second pair is not just a bluff catcher because your rival will bet third pair for value. You should too, especially if you are last to act and he has already checked. However, if you are first to act, it is normally better to try to induce a bluff with these average hands. You should of course mix up your play. (The basic concepts of heads-up play on the end are complicated and discussed fully in Poker Theory)

A Note on Tells

In a short-handed game not only are you often playing heads-up but you are consistently playing hands that are not very good enough. Because of this you will often find yourself in a situation where it is far from obvious what you should do and it is more likely that normal that you could represent a tell. The same holds true for your rivals.

A tell would help you to throw your chips in, or the amount of time that you are thinking about a poker hand. In a short-handed holdem game, it is possible that you are going to have a hand that you haven't played many times before or thought about a lot. You are going to be in debatable situations. It is those debatable situations where you are most likely to give your hand away your how you act.

There will be times where you do want to think about a poker hand. So how do you keep from giving anything away? You can do this by thinking on the hands that you don't really need to think about.

This idea is very essential in short-handed play. You are going to have more obvious thinking situation, and if your rivals see you thinking only in average spots, they will have a great advantage.

Let's take a simple example. Suppose your rival bets on the flop and you are having difficulty deciding whether to call or not. At last, after much thinking you throw your chips into the pot. A wise player will immediately realize what likely has happened. He will understand that there is a good chance that you won't put in a double size bet on the turn. Even if he was out of the line, you have forced him to steal the pot from you and he will be correct in doing so.

Playing Short-Handed

Many successful hold'em players learn to play in a style that can be characterized as tight and aggressive. This is sometimes known as a solid poker. It is the way that we generally suggest to play and in most games it is the way that we play. But short-handed game is very different from other. The tight players don't take any chance against the live ones who seem to bet and call with anything. Unless you are able to make the adjustments that we mentioned, you will be another loser in the short-handed holdem games, and will be persuaded to avoid some of the profitable situations in all of the poker game.

The big advantage of short-handed hold'em assuming you play it well is that you get to play many more hands. Therefore if your decisions are better than your rivals, as you will be making many more of these decisions than normal, you can expect to produce a higher win rate in the short-handed games than you would in a normal ring game. This is especially true if you are against one or more players who only understand how to play at a full poker table.

Many hold'em players will tell you that they would rather play short-handed. This is the reason why. They find it more profitable and actually enjoy it more than play at a full table.

Continue with: Playing in other non standard poker games