Texas Holdem Short Handed Strategy

To me, short-handed play can be one of the most frustrating parts of poker. The variance is much higher than normal full-table play, so you must be willing to accept the ups and downs that come with it. For this article, we will consider short-handed to mean a table of 5 or less players.

Always stick to solid strategy and good starting hands. Long term, those small percentages will add up. Maybe you'll be down big a few times, but that's part of the game.

Basic Adjustments for Short-handed Play:

With fewer people at the table, your draws are going to be worth less. While you can still see the flop cheap, it becomes very difficult to get enough callers to make the pot odds work for you.

This means that with small to medium pairs, suited connectors, flush draws (Ax, Kx), and some straight draws, you should be betting or raising rather than checking and calling.

Overall, you should be raising more, and calling less in a short-handed game. The odds that others will fold is simply too great to just call. In addition, position is much more important here than at a full table. If you are on the button, don't be afraid to bet.

Top pairs are very strong hands, even with a moderate kicker ( 7 or better is usually pretty safe ). When betting, a middle-pair should be treated like a top-pair would at a full table.

What is the most number of people I should bluff?

You should never bluff with more than 2 opponents at once. The odds are simply too great that someone will either call you or be holding a strong enough hand to reraise you. Again, position is important.