Monday, January 10, 2005

My Thoughts on 5/6 Short

I think I have mentioned my strategy tips for the 5/10-6 MAX tables. I am sure they go against common sense and probably suck but they have worked for me so far. Here is a recap of how I play these tables.

1. Choose the right table

The one thing I have trouble handling is outright aggression for aggressions sake. I am not talking about throwing out a bet because an Ace is out there, or steeling blinds. It’s the guys that 3-bet anything. That never slow down no matter what their hand is. The ones who use aggression as a weapon and your only choice is to try and guess when they are lying.

So the first step in my nightly 5/10 journey is to find tables with small pots. I know. I know. This is against common wisdom. I mean more money on the table means a better table, right? Well not for how I like to play. I like tables that let me limp with pretty good hands. If every round is raised pre-flop then you start having to decide if that J-10 s000ted is good enough, or if you should play your A3 s00ted because you have not seen a hand in a while. It is just a recipe for disaster for me. So I find the weak tables and exploit them.

2. Play Tight

I know people say you need to loosen way up on these tables. I have seen players here that pre-flop raise any Kx, Ax, Qx hand and bet/raise to the river if they hit. I hate hands with bad kickers. You just never know. I know you can get beaten with a good kicker but somehow I guess it feels better the sneer at your opponent’s choice instead of your own. I play pretty tight for a 5/10 table. No high card bad kicker crap. I have no problem folding hands. Now you have to modify the starting hands for the table. You only have six spots so early-middle-late position kind of gets blurred. So as a compromise I will pretty much play anything you would play in normal-tight middle position for a single bet. I end up seeing the flop with a lot of A3 s000ted, which I get away from if I miss the flop. I play a lot of pocket pairs. S000ted connectors down to 9-10. All the premium cards of course. I play smaller connectors in the blinds and things like Q-10, etc..

3. Know your Enemy

This is important. At any given table your going to have different types of players. The guy who plays his K3o like it is AKo on a K-x-x flop. These are the guys you are looking for. Just make sure you have a decent kicker and let him pay you all the way to the river. Be careful of the same move against better players. There are very good players mining these tables too and they are smart enough to not play crap. Get a feel for your opponents and try and extract as much money from the idiots as you can before they run out.

4. Know how to Fold

I try not to chase too much on these tables. If my A-10 or AK misses the flop I am willing to wait for another shot. If I am HU it is not really worth it for me to chase too many hands down. I might be playing too weak here and should do some chasing, but normally it seems to cost me more than I gain.

5. Know when to Leave

Sometimes you will get a good table where nobody pays attention and they just keep paying you off over and over and over. Other times they will catch on and fold anytime you bet unless they have monsters. Sometimes it is profitable to stay at these tables. You can open your hand selection up and bluff when you only have a moderately good hand. Steal some blinds. Get a few pots. However normally when they are on to you it is good to leave. Take your winnings and go. It is more likely you will end up giving back if you stay too long.

So those are my basic guidelines. So far they seem to have worked well. I have a moderate BB/100 playing this way. I am profitable so far. I hope this continues. I have been splitting my game out a little more lately though. Not just playing the 5/10 short games. I have been playing a lot more SNGs, O8, and MTTs. Somewhat because I am playing the tables with a smallish bankroll. I hope to grow my bankroll to the appropriate amounts soon and play these juicy little tables a lot more. I will say it is nice to beat the 5/10 level with some consistency. I really lost a lot of confidence when I took my first shot at it. I think I am recovering now and hope to be more steeled against variance this time around. Only time will tell.


Blogger djw said...

Pretty interesting post, although I would suggest that most of these thoughts would be successful at full tables, or other levels.

Good post.

12:37 PM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I agree with that statement.. and the point in some ways is that you should not change your game too much just because your playing short. Alot of people throw out everything they use on full tables when playing short. Some people this works for. Not me though.

1:09 PM

Blogger trumpjosh said...

Nice post. The only thing I would differ with you on is that I looooove the people who 3 bet anything. Just play tight and you'll take huge pots from them to more than make up for the blinds they steal. Check-raise becomes the weapon of choice. Another thing I like to do is choose my tables based on number of players and stack size. If there are 3-4 players and two small stacks, this is usually pretty good. They have been getting beaten up by some maniac and are ready to call you down as they are likely to be a little on tilt.

1:27 PM

Blogger Human Head said...

You must have read my mind. I've been thinking about trying out the 6-max tables ($1/2), and this post was just the info I was looking for as I contemplate the move.

7:21 PM

Blogger Poker Nerd said...

I see what you're saying, but you really need to be cautious about being TOO tight, particularly if you're against opponents who fold too much.

If you're first in, you need to be raising pre-flop with a wide variety of good hands to isolate the BB with a random hand. Playing against the BB and playing against a raiser from the BB are the bread and butter of 6-max.

Make your opponents push back and be extremely observant of how they handle situations that come up all the time, like raising pre-flop and missing the flop. You should be able to completely break down each player's style within fifteen minutes of sitting down.

I would strongly suggest taking a peek at the shorthanded section in Sklansky's Hold 'Em for Advanced Players, page through Theory of Poker, etc. to try and completely grasp the concepts there.

If your opponent folds too much (and you'd be surprised how little this has to be), in many situations, you show immediate profit by betting, regardless of your holding.

I've been accused of being a maniac and scoffed at for some of my plays in 6-max, but I'm way up through 3/6, and from my observations at 5/10, things don't look much different. Matt from Poker Chronicles says the same thing, and even revealed he has a VP$IP of 35-37 at 10/20...and he destroys those games at a 6 BB/100 clip.

I will say this, though...I had to learn my aggression at a stake level that didn't hurt...1/2 - 3/6. I can't tell you how badly I'm itching to take a shot at 5/10, but I need more certainty that what I'm doing is right.

Sorry for hijacking your comments :)

6:51 AM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

No problem Nerd. I hear what you are saying. Interesting way to play it. If you can beleive it I have never read Slansky. That should be my next pickup. I agree with what your saying. I think there are many ways to play the short tables. I sometimes get into too big of a pissing contest when I try to be too aggressive. I will read that book and the short sections and practice aggression on the 1/2 tables. Until then I am going to stick with what is working for me. heh.

7:51 AM


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