Have you ever sat down at a 6 max game on Party Poker and just been absolutely rolled? Have you ever made your way into a heads up hold'em game and wondered how you lost your buy-in in 20 hands? Have you ever watched the 300-600 games on Ultimatebet and wondered how Neverwin seems to always win, despite his sometimes maniac play?
The key is, you have to be aggressive. Some people are just not aggressive players by nature; they like to wait for their high pocket pairs, and don't make any moves until they flop trips or a made straight. Well, you play this way short-handed, and you are going to be absolutely steamrolled, it's as simple as that.
The only way you can become an effective short-handed player is through practise, practise and more practise. Your J/10's in full table play, which you might toss away depending on your position, almost play like the nuts in short-handed play. Hands such as these need to be raised, especially in heads-up play. Middle and bottom pairs need to be played and played often. Top pairs play like the absolute nuts in short-handed play.
The key to short-handed play is reading your opponents. Top short-handed players do so well because they know when their opponents hit and when their opponents missed. How do their opponents play top pair? Middle pair? Flush / straight draws? How do their opponents play when they hit their straight or flush? When are they bluffing and when do they have a hand?
These are all questions you have to ask yourself. Short-handed hold'em is the absolute highest elevation of the game; if you devote significant resources to becoming a great short-handed player, you will get paid off many, many times over.
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