Shorthanded No Limit Hold'em
Playing shorthanded NLHE is very different from a full table. We talk about shorthanded when there are only six or fewer players at the table. Unlike in traditional full-handed ring games with nine or ten players, you generally do not need as impressive an hand in order to win shorthanded.
The value of hands increases as the number of players at the table decreases, so you can play more hands, with the blinds moving more rapidly from one player to the next. Hands like AJ, AT, KJ and small pairs can be played from earlier positions than a full table. This does not mean that you should bet the ranch with a mediocre hand of course.
In short-handed games, it is also more important to be very observant of the behavior of your opponents. As there are fewer players to observe, your competitors will tend to be able to pay more attention to each other. For example you should never play like a rock at a 6-max table, because everyone will notice that and when you have a hand, your opponents will not pay you.
Many more hands are played heads-up without a showdown than in full ring. Therefore it is important to know the style of your opponents. Your game will be based on your table position and the style of your opponents, rather than on the strength of your hands.
If you are just starting at No Limit Hold'em, you should focus on the full ring tables first. Only when you know the basics of the game such as strategy implementation, the significance of positions, the meaning of bet size, etc, should you can try the short-handed format. This is because you will be faced with many tough decisions when playing against few opponents, and this requires experience.
To avoid such situations, you should stick to the strongest hands as well as those mentioned above. Do not play marginal hands out of position, especially hands like AJ, KJ, KT, ... These are problem hands, even in a shorthanded game, and should only be played in late position.
Another thing to consider to avoid these situations is to constantly observe your opponents. Know what hands they play and from what positions. If a loose player limps off and you have the positional advantage, it is not a bad idea to raise and isolate him.
Hoping that the blinds fold and if the limper calls, you will have the position to your advantage throughout the hand. You can earn big money in shorthanded games by finding players who call your pre flop raises out of position and fold often on the flop.
As mentioned earlier, you can play more hands in shorthanded but not the point of being too loose a player. Try to stay out of most marginal situations and know how your opponents play to use that knowledge against them.
If you play your cards, your opponents and your table position in the right way, you will succeed at the 6-max tables. Last but not least, the less players at the table, the more aggressive your have to be.
Good Game at the tables!