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13-02-2006, 14:47   #1
shaydy
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Short Handed Cash Games

Just wondering if anyone would like to offer some help/tips on playing short handed cash games. I'm quite new to cash games and have been doing quite well so far but mainly playing on tables of 9.

Sometimes the table will fade away to around 5 or 6 players and once or twice ive been left playing heads up (quite enjoyed that actually), and ive found myself getting super aggressive the less players that are there. I know a more aggressive approach is needed but are there any specifics to watch out for on these short handed tables?

If I were to sit down on a 6 handed table what would your advice to me be?

Any help appreciated.
Shay
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13-02-2006, 15:28   #2
ntlbell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaydy

If I were to sit down on a 6 handed table what would your advice to me be?

Any help appreciated.
Shay
Play the same as when a 9 table fades to 6, open your range up and play more aggresive.
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13-02-2006, 15:35   #3
ianmc38
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In late position try to see some cheap flops with more marginal hands like lower suited/unsuited connectors.

Don't limp with big hands like AA, KK, AK etc. These are your big money hands and you want to extract as much as possible from other players when you get them.

Don't overbet with big hands. A big mistake alot of smaller limit players make is to jam with the nuts or with monsters. Unless there are big draws on the table, you want to give good pot odds for your opponent to call. I prefer a bet of about 1/3 of the pot. If you overbet, you'll end up chasing people out instead of extracting one or two small bets from a couple of players.

Don't allow cheap cards when there is a draw. If the board is dangerous and you have something like top pair, top kicker or a set, dont slow play it. For example, if there are two to a flush on the board, then you want to make sure your opponent is getting the incorrect odds to call. Now with just pot odds, we're looking at 2-1, but when you factor in the implied odds of him hitting with his draw, then I think a bet of more than the pot is required eg 1.25/1.33 times the pot. Similarly with an openender, we can afford to give him slightly better odds, but still make sure that he's making a mistake by calling you. Dont ever check when you have a made hand on a board that has a big drawing possibility on it, as more often than not your opponent will be more than pelased to take a free card.

Thats all i can think of right now.

Last edited by ianmc38; 13-02-2006 at 15:37.
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13-02-2006, 16:05   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmc38
you want to give good pot odds for your opponent to call.
Nope.
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13-02-2006, 16:09   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmc38
In late position try to see some cheap flops with more marginal hands like lower suited/unsuited connectors.

Don't limp with big hands like AA, KK, AK etc. These are your big money hands and you want to extract as much as possible from other players when you get them.

Don't overbet with big hands. A big mistake alot of smaller limit players make is to jam with the nuts or with monsters. Unless there are big draws on the table, you want to give good pot odds for your opponent to call. I prefer a bet of about 1/3 of the pot. If you overbet, you'll end up chasing people out instead of extracting one or two small bets from a couple of players.

Don't allow cheap cards when there is a draw. If the board is dangerous and you have something like top pair, top kicker or a set, dont slow play it. For example, if there are two to a flush on the board, then you want to make sure your opponent is getting the incorrect odds to call. Now with just pot odds, we're looking at 2-1, but when you factor in the implied odds of him hitting with his draw, then I think a bet of more than the pot is required eg 1.25/1.33 times the pot. Similarly with an openender, we can afford to give him slightly better odds, but still make sure that he's making a mistake by calling you. Dont ever check when you have a made hand on a board that has a big drawing possibility on it, as more often than not your opponent will be more than pelased to take a free card.

Thats all i can think of right now.

In this post you say -

1. Dont overbet the pot with big hands
2. Overbet the pot with big hands

Something is a miss I feel.
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13-02-2006, 16:17   #6
 
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a quote from a winner on short handed play "I reread the section on playing in late position in Hold-em For Advanced Players by slansky, and all the sudden I was crushing the game. Suddenly my bankroll was at $500"
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13-02-2006, 16:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardshark202
Nope.
Yes, with a monster you want to give your opponent good odds to call on a board with no draws. For example you have the stone cold nuts, be it quads, the nut flush etc. You want to value bet without making it too expesnive for your opponent to call with some sort of hand. Read my post.

Last edited by ianmc38; 13-02-2006 at 16:22.
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13-02-2006, 16:21   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzbox
In this post you say -

1. Dont overbet the pot with big hands
2. Overbet the pot with big hands

Something is a miss I feel.
1. Dont overbet the pot with big hands - When you have a monster on a board with no draws
2. Overbet the pot with big hands - On a board with big draws you want to give your opponent the incorrect odds to call. When implied odds are factored in, a bet larger than the size of the pot is often required for a drawing hand to be making a bad call.

Again read my post and then analyse the context of each comment.

Last edited by ianmc38; 13-02-2006 at 16:25.
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13-02-2006, 16:27   #9
 
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Some general snippets.

Try to incorporate some of the following thoughts:

1. Never open limp.
What does this mean? Opening a pot means that you are the first one in, so if you are the first one to enter the pot, always raise. I find that a pot raise is a good size (3.5x the BB). Often you will win the blinds, and thats a good result.
This serves a few purposes, it gives you a chance to win the blinds, it gives you a chance to buy the button and play in a raised pot in position, and it gives you the best opportunity to win the pot on the flop.

2. Limp small pairs behind limpers. If there are limpers, then its ok to limp with good implied odds hands. Small pocket pairs are great here, if you raise, then you might actually cost yourself money. ... but you might be able to win the pot - I hear you scream - yes this is true - but if you flop a set you might be able to win lots of MONEY. So take a multi-way pot with these hands. Also some SCs are good but you normally should be in position to join in the fray with these hands. (Also suited aces are fine here)

3. Raise limpers with big hands and trash
Consider raising a lot of limpers with both your good hands, some trash hands and some medium trouble hands. You would love to win the pot with your trash and trouble, but you would like to get called with your big strong hands. These hands dont normally perform well in multiway pots so raising narrows the field and gives you a chance to win all those lovely blinds.

4. Learn how to use position.
Position allows you to control the pot size. This is the most difficult to explain. If you have raised preflop, and have 1/2 players still in the pot with you, this is your chance to steal if you have nothing, or check to control the pot, or take a free card. You will need to develop a feel for what sort of flops are stealable, and what sort of flops will get you in trouble.


5. Generate big pots when you have big hands
Play in big pots in position with twopair and better. Try to play smaller pots when out of position with lesser hands (like Top pair).

6. Semi-bluff
Develop a good sense of when to semi-bluff. Semi-bluffing allows you to steal pots on the flop/turn, and adds to your aggressive image, allowing you to get paid off when you hit your big hands (like sets). Play big hands and semi-bluffs the same way. Dont check/call a draw, ... but check/minraise a set. Thats really really obvious. Rather, lead with both, and if raised, PUSH. Note: dont do this with all draws - but select the big ones (12 outs or more).
This will have a dual effect of allowing you to steal lots of pots, and also allowing you to get action on your big hands.

7. Try to figure out your opponents tendencies.
If he is likely to pay you off with top pair - then never semi-bluff him.
If he is likely to fold top pair - then semi-bluff him to death.
You get the idea. Semi-bluffs do not work on calling-stations, but they do work on weak-tighties. Figure out which one of these your opponent is, and play accordingly.

Thats just some general thoughts, make the rest up as you go along.
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13-02-2006, 16:31   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmc38
1. Dont overbet the pot with big hands - When you have a monster on a board with no draws
2. Overbet the pot with big hands - On a board with big draws you want to give your opponent the incorrect odds to call. When implied odds are factored in, a bet larger than the size of the pot is often required for a drawing hand to be making a bad call.

Again read my post and then analyse the context of each comment.
Well it wasnt clear what you meant. Thank you for clarifying.

As an aside - I find that overbetting the pot is not a good thing to do with your big hands. Give the draw between 3:1 and 2:1 is fine (half pot to full pot). Most draws are about 4:1 (flush draw/straight draw) on each new card. Some are better, but 3/4 pot is usually good enough to have them making a mistake by calling ... which is what you want.

Furthermore - the best way to prevent them from having appropriate implied odds, is to not pay them off when they hit.

You can further screw up their odds, by checking the river when the draw misses, giving them an opportunity to bluff at the pot, which they will often do, in a desperate attempt to win the pot.
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13-02-2006, 16:35   #11
ianmc38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzbox
Some general snippets.

Rather, lead with both, and if raised, PUSH.
Sorry but I can't see the logic in this. The only hand that will call a push is one that will beat you or has you dominated. Someone may be calling to a better draw. Can't advocate a push here.
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13-02-2006, 16:42   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmc38
Sorry but I can't see the logic in this. The only hand that will call a push is one that will beat you or has you dominated. Someone may be calling to a better draw. Can't advocate a push here.
Correct - but I will always have outs. I will also do this with big hands. Thus, you might well fold a lot of hands that are beating me. And if you call, then I will get lucky some of the time (because I have lots of outs).

Let us take the following situation:

Hero has QhJh
Villain has TdTs

Assume its a 5/10 game, because that makes the addition easier, and assume that stacks are about 1000.

Villain raises to 40 in MP, on caller in the CO, and we defend our blind (lets not reflect on whehter this is good or not).

Pot on the flop is 120

Flop
3h 5h 8s
Hero leads for 80, villain decides to protect his hand and makes it 250 to go, co folds, and hero pushes for 1000. Ouch, villain has a really tough spot now.

Lets say that we play this hand 4 times, and each time villain calls, and I have the following array of hands

QhJh
8h9h
55
Ah2h

How much do you think villain wins, by calling every time?
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13-02-2006, 17:23   #13
ianmc38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzbox
Correct - but I will always have outs. I will also do this with big hands. Thus, you might well fold a lot of hands that are beating me. And if you call, then I will get lucky some of the time (because I have lots of outs).

Let us take the following situation:

Hero has QhJh
Villain has TdTs

Assume its a 5/10 game, because that makes the addition easier, and assume that stacks are about 1000.

Villain raises to 40 in MP, on caller in the CO, and we defend our blind (lets not reflect on whehter this is good or not).

Pot on the flop is 120

Flop
3h 5h 8s
Hero leads for 80, villain decides to protect his hand and makes it 250 to go, co folds, and hero pushes for 1000. Ouch, villain has a really tough spot now.

Lets say that we play this hand 4 times, and each time villain calls, and I have the following array of hands

QhJh
8h9h
55
Ah2h

How much do you think villain wins, by calling every time?
You've isolated one hand where you specifically know the villains range.

What if the villain has:

1. A set
2. Top two pair
3. An overpair with a heart
4. A8 hearts
5. AhKh

Show me the expected results on pushing for those ranges and then i may agree with you. Dont have time to even consider now in work...
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13-02-2006, 18:05   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmc38
You've isolated one hand where you specifically know the villains range.

What if the villain has:

1. A set
2. Top two pair
3. An overpair with a heart
4. A8 hearts
5. AhKh

Show me the expected results on pushing for those ranges and then i may agree with you. Dont have time to even consider now in work...
The guy raised preflop, he almost never has top two. He might have 33/55/88 but not very often. An overpair with one heart is still put in a very difficult decision. He cannot have Ah8h when you have 8h9h or Ah2h, only when you have QhJh and it happens infrequently enough that you can live with it, same for AhKh.

What about all the times he has AA-99, or AKo...Ax blah, or just two cards that miss, or whatever?

Those times far outweigh those times when he has a specific hand that he can call you with, and you pick up the pot a LOT of those times.

Focusing on the bad times (like he has a set), is ignoring all those other times, when either

A. you pick up the 120 pot on the flop without a fight
B. you pick up the inflated raised pot on the flop when he lays down to your push

This is a lot of times.
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14-02-2006, 03:45   #15
Hectorjelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzbox
Some general snippets.

Try to incorporate some of the following thoughts:

snip

Thats just some general thoughts, make the rest up as you go along.
great post
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