I'm a winning full table player, and enjoy Brier's articles. But this article seems to imply 'you-better-not-try' short-handed. So, I am wondering. Why really are the short-handed games often quoted as extremely profitable?
1. Good hands hold up more often? 2. No 'schooling' phenomenon to benefit poor players on their weak draws ? 3. Good players can outplay others better? 4. other reasons?
I believe all of these contribute in some way. Which would be the most important one?
1. His treatement of KTo is pretty bad analysis in my opinion. I think it shows he is a guy who is very inexperienced in Shorthanded games..which I would guess is probably the case, since he wrote this article a few years back, and he wasn't playing online. He open-raises UTG in a 5 handed game with KTo...in my opinion, that's a bad raise, he should only raise with it in the cutoff or button.
2. His treatement of the blind issue does not seem characteristic of his analysis in general. It sounds more like a John Patrick type of anaylsis.
3. He raises with AdJc, blinds call..flop is Ac7c3c...Turn is 8d..he gets check-raised on the Turn and he folds. I think that's pretty weak. If he is going to regularly fold in spots like this with hands like that, he is asking others to steal his pots from him. A lot of the SH games depend on the texture of the game, not all 5 handed games are built alike, some are ram and jam'em games, others are filled with 3 passive players, and it would be correct to fold against a check-raise by one of those passive players. However, he doesn't say anything about the players at all, so how can one make a decision to call or fold or even raise without knowing how the specific player plays? The analysis can not be the same for all situations, it is 100% player dependent.
4. I like a lot of the stuff he has written...but I don't like this article at all.
Yep, it is. I like the book a lot, but the chapter on SH isnt good.
I qoute from Briers article:
Quote: When you have to play more marginal holdings, two things happen, both of which are bad. First, as stated previously, your preflop play starts to look like everyone elseís. Second, once the flop comes, you will find yourself thrown into more marginal situations. You may have to play middle pair or bottom pair with or without a good kicker because of the pot size and the fact that you cannot be as confident that you donít have the best hand. It may be harder to tell whether you are leading or chasing.
1. Yor preflop stats does NOT look like everybody elses. I play 5/10 (6max), seeing around 28% of the flops - I havent seen many decent players seeing much more then 30% - and average is 45%. That is, if game is 5handed and there are 2 decent players at the table seeing 30% and average is 45%, the rest is seeing 55% each. That is, you got a better starting hands nearly 75% (71% I think) against theses guys (if its headsup).
The bad players also adjust to the fact that it is beeing SH. In fact, they often adjust by increasing there number of hands more then the decent players (they play SH because they hate the idea of folding 87o and seeing flop 654) + they dont understand that you must play another mix of hands, that not high carded drawing hands goes down in value...
2. Brier says: "It may be harder to tell whether you are leading or chasing." Yes, and this is excatly one of the main reasons you can use your skill more in SH then fulltable. At a full table you can often play your draws passivley and then checkraise when you hit, but SH this will cost you a lot both when you hit and dont hit.
Dont take this as an excuse not to read Ciafonne/Brier. I like Ciafonnes writing a lot.
By the way, I think SH is much more fun. Thats the main reason I play it. If you are a good player you can make a lot of money on both fulltable and SH. Online you can play multiple tables, you dont have to play either 1 full table or 1 SH.
Yeah, the K10 raise UTG is pretty horrible. No 20-40 game is going to have people calling lesser kings like Brier states, well almost.. But you will catch a boatload of AQ, KQ, KJS, A10S calling that will have you dominated with position... what fun
Quote: When you have to play more marginal holdings, two things happen, both of which are bad. First, as stated previously, your preflop play starts to look like everyone else?s. Second, once the flop comes, you will find yourself thrown into more marginal situations. You may have to play middle pair or bottom pair with or without a good kicker because of the pot size and the fact that you cannot be as confident that you don't have the best hand. It may be harder to tell whether you are leading or chasing.
I would assume the good player wouldn't mind both himself and a bad player experiencing many marginal situations -- as the good player is going to capitalize on better judgment and push his edges more aptly, thus manuevering himself through marginal spots with great ease, while the bad player spills chips and foolishly is unable to adapt properly to marginal spots.
Quote: The flop is 8 [hearts] 3 [clubs] 2 [hearts] , giving you a flush draw with an overcard. What should you do [you have Qh5h]?
Answer: Bet, or check with the intention of check-raising. You have a strong, playable hand in this fourhanded game against one opponent, and you must play it as such. In most cases the preflop raiser will bet, so checking and then raising is the best course of action. Your opponent may decide to fold a better hand, such as pocket sevens, fearing that he is playing two outs
I challenge anyone to find me one player who raises 77 utg in this spot, yet would fold to a check raise on this flop. Has Brier ever played shorthanded? Someone who raises 77 utg is not going away when he gets a flop this pretty for the hand. Not ever.
Quote: Hand No. 3 ($15-$30 game): It?s a fourhanded game. You are on the button with the Q [hearts] Q [diamonds] . The first player limps in, you raise, the small blind reraises, and the big blind makes it four bets. The first player folds, you just call rather than cap the betting, and the small blind calls. There is $195 in the pot and three players.
The flop is A [diamonds] 8 [hearts] 3 [clubs] , giving you second pair. The small blind checks and the big blind bets. You call, fearful of the ace, and the small blind calls. There is $240 in the pot and three players.
The turn is the 4 [diamonds] . Both of your opponents check. What should you do?
Answer: Bet. Your hand is probably good if no one has an ace, which is quite likely given that both of your opponents have now shown weakness by checking. With a large pot like this, you must protect your hand and avoid giving free cards. In a shorthanded game, players will frequently pound the pot preflop with less than premium hands, but then back off on the expensive street.
I really doubt most of us here would choose this as our first line to play out this hand.
Quote: Hand No. 4 ($20-$40 game): It?s a fivehanded game. You open with a raise under the gun with the A [diamonds] J [clubs] . Only the blinds call. There is $120 in the pot and three players.
The flop is A [clubs] 7 [clubs] 3 [clubs] , giving you top pair, decent kicker, and a flush draw. Both blinds check. You bet and they both call. There is $180 in the pot.
The turn is the 8 [diamonds] . Both blinds check, and you bet. The small blind raises and the big blind folds. What should you do?
Answer: Fold. Even in a shorthanded game, when the board flops all of one suit and you get check-raised on the turn, it almost always means you are up against a flush, especially with a third player in the hand. You have a draw to a flush, but it is only to the third nuts, meaning that if your opponent has a king-high or queen-high flush, you are drawing dead.
This is laughable. You need substantial opponent reads to even consider folding here. I ask again: Has Brier ever played shorthanded?