Playing shorthanded poker is something you will experience often online as it allows you to play far more hands over a shorter period of time. This applies to both cash games and tournament games. Shorthanded tourneys have grown in their popularity over the last few years and are expected to continue to grow as more players see its value.
A cash game that has fewer than seven players is what is considered a shorthanded table. The reason for this is the game play is faster due to there being fewer players. It sees you making more decisions over a shorter period of time and requires that you adjust the way you play at those tables. It will require that you play more loosely than you may normally and it will require that you change up the way you play more often as well. The position you find yourself at the table will play an important factor and will have to be considered.
When playing shorthanded be sure to take time to understand those you are facing! You can sit out and observe those at the table and gain insight before you begin to play. This is a valuable practise to take as you are gaining information and as most poker software will permit you to make notes on other players you can do so and refer to those notes any time you face that player in the future. Often times players will simply observe tables without any intentions of playing in order to compile information of other players and practise predicting their play. As most players will play the same levels more times than not it is likely that you will come across them at some point in the future and then you have the upper hand. This can apply to cash and tournament play as notes will apply to both but be smart and identify differences if you pick up on them. They could very well become handy down the road.
If playing in a shorthanded tournament you will need to play at a level that you are comfortable with. This is important as no two tournaments will be the same. There are 4 and 6 handed and even heads up tournaments. It is good to try each variation to determine which you are most comfortable playing and in the process of doing so you may discover that you play better at 4 handed for example over 6 handed play. Figuring out what the number of opponents is that will let you use your skills. Remember when playing in this manner to defend yourself when in the big blind or small blind. This is most important in tournament play and even more so when playing a shorthanded tournament and this is due to their bring fewer players and an increased number of blinds that you will have to ante up.
Overview for Tips on Short handed play:
As you begin to develop these skills you will see how they apply and will be able to use them to your advantage. Many players fail to consider shorthanded play or to try to develop their shorthanded play and those that do will perform better overall than those who do not.