Key differences between shorthanded and full-ring tables

There are many differences between cash game tables and when you play over the Internet, you have plenty of filters to use, in order to make the right selection. The most important decision is whether to play at high-stakes or low limits and this depends exclusively on the size of your bankroll. Another important choice is whether to sit down at tables populated by loose aggressive opponents where many hands are played and the size of the pot grows fast, or stick to less flamboyant tables.

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Perhaps the most important decision is whether to play shorthanded or full ring tables, as this choice influences your entire strategy. The same rules are used at both tables, but when you compete against nine opponents, you need to play differently than when you have just five other players to worry about. The differences are subtle but failing to adjust to the different environment will cause a great deal of suffering.

At shorthanded tables, you need to shift into a slightly more aggressive gear, especially if you are a player who prefers tight poker. More hands are being played and you won’t find yourself too often in late position, therefore you have to take chances. The blinds have some leverage pre-flop because they are the last to act, but unless they strike a decisive blow before the board arrives, their chances to win diminish.

Playing from the button is the best case scenario and you need to make the most of it, while be extra cautious when acting aggressively from cutoff. The button will frequently try to counter your raises and the worst part is that you don’t have too many players ahead of you to dominate. Being under the gun at shorthanded tables is a nightmare and regardless of your style of play, it is wise not to play too many hands from this position.

By comparison, full ring tables allow players more flexibility as there are three late positions worth capitalizing on. It goes without saying to tone down your aggressiveness from under the gun, since you have so many players behind you that would raise and reraise. At these tables, the company almost as soon as the button and players should play disposition accordingly, especially when they have above average cards.

Speaking of the strength of starting hands, one needs to understand that full ring tables are much harder to beat with decently strong cards. More players are involved and this means that more cards are being dealt and the odds of someone making the nuts are enhanced. Think twice before calling an all in with a second best hand and try to keep the size of the pot manageable with value bets when you think you are ahead.

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