Short-handed play is one of the most profitable forms of poker. My earn rate has always been much higher short-handed than it is at a full ring game. There are basically two reasons for this. 1/Matthew Hilger is a professional poker player and respected author. In addition to the many articles on his own website, he writes columns for CardPlayer magazine, PokerPages.com and PokerinEurope.com. Matthew's next book, Texas Hold'em Odds and Probabilities: Limit, No-Limit and Tournament Strategies, will be released in June 2006. Matthew's website is www.internettexasholdem.com Advanced players have a bigger advantage over most opponents short-handed than they do in a full ring game and 2/ You get dealt more hands per hour so there are more opportunities to take advantage of your opponents’ mistakes.
Let’s discuss these two points just briefly. Short-handed play requires more skill than in a full ring game. Understanding your opponent’s tendencies is much more important short-handed than a full ring game. In a full ring game, you can often just stay patient and wait for cards and this alone will net you a profit. Short-handed does not give you this luxury. You are paying blinds at a faster rate so you must learn to play weaker hands. Much of your profit comes from taking advantage of each opponent’s individual weaknesses. It takes an advanced player to be able to identify these weaknesses.
In a full ring game you get dealt about 70 hands an hour. In a short-handed game this can be between 100 to 120 hands an hour. These extra hands give advanced players more opportunities to take advantage of their superiority over their opponents. The end result is an earn rate per hour much higher than what you can earn in a full ring game.
These two points make it sound like I am advocating playing short-handed. It is true that it can be more profitable, but beginning players are facing an uphill battle trying to play short-handed. They just do not have the experience to do well. Every once in a while they hit a big run and become addicted to short-handed play, even more so than in a full ring game, but more often than not the advanced players will walk away with the money.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is playing in a game where you are overmatched, especially when the hands are dealt at a rate of 100-120 hands per hour. Not only are beginning players overmatched but they often do not have the bankroll needed to withstand the high fluctuations. These fluctuations also lead players to tilt more often which is another weakness of players starting out. The bottomline is that short-handed play is a completely different form of poker and you had better have a lot of experience in order to do well. My advice is to get your full ring game to an advanced level before trying to master other forms of poker.
This completes the series of Matt Hilger's Top 10 Mistakes of Online Players. Hopefully after reading these articles you now notice these mistakes in your opponents and not yourselves!
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