Online poker has seen many twists and turns laately as the market develops and matures. One of the biggest changes that have come about is the addition of "shorthanded" tables, tournaments, and sit and go's. These shorthanded games have only 5 or 6 players at each table, and have seen huge popularity because players can play a higher percentage of their hands. Plus, the sit and go's finish much more quickly than a standard 9 handed sit and go.
With a new table structure however, comes new strategy. If you want to be a winning player at the shorthanded tables, then throw your normal 9 handed strategy out the window, because if you play like that you'll soon be blinded away and find yourself broke. This article will give you all the changes you need to make to your game to become a successful shorthanded poker player.
The first big change you need to make comes about in your preflop play. At a normal 9 handed ring game you should be playing between 15-25% of your preflop hands, but at a shorthanded table this will not cut it. Since blinds are coming around much more often, you need to get in there and play more hands, so you should be playing 30-35% of your preflop hands.
Some hands you should add to your preflop repertoire include hands like Ax fitted, any two face cards, small pocket pairs, and fitted connectors like 6-7 fitted. These hands would not hold much value in a normal 9 handed game, but at a 6 handed table it is likely you'll be holding the best hand when you enter a pot with the above listed hands. Of course, you should also play your normal selection of premium hands as well.
Another big change that needs to be made to your Internet poker game comes about in the form of relative hand strength. At a 9 handled table it is very unlucky that just a high card or a small pair will have any showdown value, because so many hands are out there it is highly illegally someone has a better hand. However, at a 6 handed table you should not be so quick to throw those hands out, because there is a good chance that your pair of 5's will show down at the end and win the pot.
When you have a great hand preflop it is an important decision for you to raise or to just call. If you have one of your premium holdings such as a big pair or AK fitted, you should surely come in with a raise. However, with a hand like 6-7 fitted, it is best to call because you want a bunch of opponents in the hand if you happen to hit the flop hard.
If you find yourself facing a preflop raise when you hold a great hand, make sure to put in a re-raise. Even if an early position play has raised, your hands like JJ are still probably best, so you want to re-raise to isolate him. If you just call you risk other players coming in behind you and busting your big pair.