Playing Shorthanded Poker Tournaments

You will see an increasing number of tournaments being tagged as “shorthanded”.  These shorthanded tournaments will only have six players as the maximum for a poker table instead of the traditional ten. This kind of tournament will require you to adjust and use a different skill set to make sure you rake in some chips.

Playing loose and fast

Do not even think that you can play slow in shorthanded tournament. The name of the game is playing it fast and playing it loose. The blinds will be going on a quicker pace. Since you have only six players, 1/3 of the time you will be force to put something into the pot while on a traditional tournament the blinds will be forced onto you 1/5 of the time. Patience is out of the window for shorthanded tournaments since it will also not be a profitable attitude.


Playing a shorthanded tournament exposes you to a wider set of starting cards. Unlike ring games, you cannot wait for premium starting hands. You really don’t have to think that your opponents will have premium cards. The chance that other players will have pocket aces is also lower. So, some cards that you don’t want to play on a full table can be playable on a shorthanded table.

Learn some foreplay

You have to change what is in your mind right now after reading that subheading :P Seriously now, with shorthanded games you can play a bit passive at first to get a feel of how the other players on the table handle their cards. As quickly as you can, extract some more information so you can also play the player. This way you also don’t reveal too much about your game very early in the tournament.

Size Matters

When you are able to build a good stack. Play hard and exploit the smaller stacked players. This is a critical mindset if you want to win a shorthanded tournament.

Knowing if You Played Your Hand Correctly

As you learn the ins and outs of poker, you actually want to know whether you are making the right decisions or not. Overtime It will be easier to pinpoint mistakes but as a newbie, it is quite tricky to know the color of the good from bad decisions.

One good practice is to know the hand history because you want to analyse your decision as a whole. Here are two ways on how you can get help and see if you played the poker hand well, just right, or plain and simple bad:

Join poker forums

This is the easiest way to get an analysis of how you played your cards. Post your hand on a strategy forum and you will get reactions from friendly members. Other people will comment and give you advice on what went wrong and how you can improve on your game.

Comments will be coming in from different directions so keep an open mind. You should also filter what to accept and not treat everything as something from the holy books.

Figuring out by yourself

This is a tricky and difficult process especially if you are new to poker. This article will not cover the ins and out of analysing your moves on the poker table. You can look for the Range-Equity-Maximize process, read on expected value, or use the software that can help you calculate for the best equity.

In poker, winning some chips does not mean that you played your hand well. It also goes that if you lost some money, it does not mean you  played your hand so bad. Analysing the short term process is not the way to go, you need to look at the long-term haul to see if you are improving on your poker.

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