Intermediate Poker Strategy – Short Handed Limit Texas Holdem
A short handed poker game is one in which you play against six or less than six players. Playing this game can be advantageous especially when you are new to poker, as it has few players. The lesser the number of players, the better are your chances of winning. One aspect that can enhance this possibility is – knowing a few strategies. Here are some of them:
Deciding what games to be played
A key skill to develop when playing short handed limit poker is being able to determine the games to play. Firstly, it is advisable to not play against professionals if you are still developing your poker skills. Secondly, examine the way opponents are playing. To do this, you will have to observe two key aspects: the amount of betting and raising that each player engages in. Thirdly, determine whether you should enter a game or not. If players are consistently folding and raising, it is best to not join. On the other hand, if they appear to be limping to the pre-flop, you can enter the game. These are passive players and going up against them can be beneficial in a short-hand limit game as your chances of winning are high.
Starting hands at the pre-flop
When you play a game of short handed poker, there are a few hands that can be more advantageous than others. Some of the hands that you can raise are pocket pairs, JT, QJ, AT+, KJ and KQ. You can call a raise with these hands – QJ, AJ, KJ, KQ, high value pocket pairs and AT (sometimes). Small pairs and suited connectors should be played only in a few situations. You may be able to limp with it into a multi-way pot if the players are not aggressive. If the number of players is less than four, the game will not have a multi-way pot. In such a situation, a suited connector will have little strength. When the game has very few players, play heads-up pot if you have a small pair.
Hand values are relative; however, the key aspect that determines this is their strength. Another aspect that can influence it is the amount of action in the game. For instance, even with good hands, it is best to fold if a lot of action has already taken place. Retain only AA, JJ, QQ and KK in such a situation.
At every point in the game, be aware of the number of cards that can make a winning hand for you. These are known as outs. Ensure that your estimates of odds for outs are less than that possible. For instance, in a situation where you have an ace and queen as pocket pairs, and the board has king, queen and ten, it is best to not count the ace as an out. This is because, an opponent could have a jack or AK.
If you are a beginner in poker, mastering how to play short-hand limit Texas Holdem can be advantageous. This is because, most of the key concepts used in short handed Texas Holdem are used in long-hand poker pre-flop.