Moving from Full Ring to Short-Handed Poker Cash Games


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To beginning poker players, it may not seem like there's much of a difference between full ring and short-handed (6-max) cash games. After all, it's still poker with just a few more or less players involved. However, there are some notable strategy differences between full ring and short-handed cash games that players should note. So when moving from full ring to short-handed tables, you should keep the following changes in mind.

1. Open your Range Up More

In a full ring game involving 9 or 10 players, you can sit back and play tighter. The first reason why is because the blinds come around less often, so folding hands over and over isn't as expensive. Another reason why is due to the fact that, on average, it takes a better hand to win with so many players involved.

But these two factors change when you move to 6-max games because the blinds come more frequently and your hand strength doesn't need to be as good to win. So it's important to open the range of hands you play and be more aggressive. As a generic example, if you normally played AA-JJ, AK in early position, you could open your range up to AA-99, AK with six or less players at the table. Of course, how much you open your range highly depends upon the type of players you are up against.

2. Pay More Attention to Detail with Opponents

It's always important to study your opponents in poker so that you can gain information on them and exploit this info later. But it's especially crucial on short-handed cash tables because there's a smaller pool of players in the game.

Due to the fact that there are less grinders involved, you need to really study opponents closely. A couple of aspects that you should be looking at include what range of hands opponents play in certain situations, and how much they're willing to bet. The more you can learn about other players, the closer you'll be to winning money off of them.

3. Start with a Bigger Bankroll

If you're relatively new to poker and are making the switch from full ring to short-handed poker games, you should start with a larger bankroll. In full ring cash games, the less frequent blinds allow most new players to survive a little longer - even if they're not very skilled. But in a short-handed game, you'll be seeing more blinds and dealing with extra hands. That said, newer and/or less skilled players will have a tougher time surviving in poker.

And this brings us to another point in that you should learn as much poker strategy as you can - no matter if you play short-handed or full ring games. Watch training videos, read articles, watch YouTube videos and read poker books when you have the chance. The more strategy you learn, the closer you'll be to earning future poker profits.