The Penguin`s Guide To Shorthanded Poker On Any Of The Best Poker Sites

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The Poker Penguin, A Good Friend Of Mine, Shares His Wisdom On The Short-Handed Game And Other Poker Offers
I love shorthanded games. That means I love it when there`s only two, three, four, five, or six players at the table.

I especially love heads up or three-way action.

Aggression is repayed in spades (and every other suit, although flushes are just a bonus).

I`ve discovered that if you bet heavily with good hands, bet heavily with medium hands, and sometimes bet heavily with nothing, then most players will fold regularly. The players I like to go up against in shorthanded games think they need a hand of sorts to win. Any hand will do. Which means I punish them when they don`t have a hand, and when they have second best. The times I get stuck attacking with a second best hand are an unfortunate expense, basically, if they play back, you back off. If they keep playing back, you leave, they`ve grown some cohones and are no longer a good opponent to play against.



So, the penguin`s guide to low-limit heads up:

Pre-flop:
Raise or fold.

It`s almost a cliche now, but it works for me. Folding pre-flop (even when it costs a blind) cheaply establishes a reputation for playing solid hands. Attacking pre-flop means that the mental pressure is on my opponents to make some sort of a hand on the flop. Calling or Checking just does nothing.

Flop:
Raise or fold.

While betting first allows my opponent to just call if he has a goof hand, it also makes him think if he really wants to play that Q9 (especially if an overcard has come on the flop). Often, they`ll save their money. If they check into me, that suggests they want a free card and I`m going to dissapoint them. Of course I run afoul of slowplayers sometimes, but most heads up hands are not great.

Turn
Raise or fold.

If I`ve checked on the flop and not been bet into (I rarely check when acting second), then I will almost always bet. My thinking is that I`ve pretty much told the guy that I want out of the pot, and if he doesn`t take my invitation, then he must be more worried about the showdown than me.

If I get checkraised or re-raised on the turn, I will often fold. If I have nothing, and don`t even have a decent high card, then it`s not worth even taking on a bluff.

Sometimes, I`ll try to throw a check-raise at my opponent. Usually I will have a hand - it`s to buy credibility for the times I don`t and to get some respect for a check

River
Raise or fold.

If I see the river, then I`m 90%+ committed to seeing the other guy`s cards. I don`t see much point in subtlety. I bet unless I`m absolutely sure I`m beaten.

Of course, I don`t stick to this game plan 100%. Although I would probably do better if I did.

I`ll slowplay sometimes and I won`t re-raise unless I`m sure I`ve got the best hand.

Hope that helped.

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