We've already talked about how to approach the
preflop in shorthanded poker or 6-max games. It's on the flop that shorthanded
poker starts to get interesting, so let's continue with our tips and
strategies for getting ahead on the flop.
The best thing to do in poker when it comes to
the flop, especially in 6-max games, is to take the initiative. Although each
situation is different and must be considered separately, it is normal
that, no matter what flop comes up, we should be determined and start pushing
the limits ourselves. You have to understand that on a dangerous flop, whoever
hits first has the upper hand.
We must not be afraid of bluffing at this
stage, it can work out very well. For example, from the BUTTON we can raise two
limpers. If there are three cards of the same suit and the two players
before us pass, we can bet even if we have nothing. In other words, a manual
In situations like this it can benefit us to have
been aggressive preflop (remember what we said in the first part about
playing aggressively? For things like this it's a good thing), because the
limpers won't have a flush (you can tell because they've checked) and they'll
think we have a better game. It's a very good way to build the bluff, but it
requires following a clear style from preflop. If we have been conservative and
now we bluff, we can be seen to be bluffing.
How do we interpret this? Are they countering
our bluff with another bluff? Is it a legitimate raise? Here we will
have to judge the situation in each case to know what is the game of each
If we want to flop with continuation bets, we
have to take into account whether we are talking about a dangerous or
favourable flop, the number of players and the position we are in.
Flop danger. Here we usually talk about
"flop texture". An unfavourable or dangerous texture happens when
there is a pair on the flop, suited or connected cards. Can we take advantage
of this? Yes, but only if we are in a good position. If not, we forget
about it. Betting out of position on an unfavourable flop is suicide.
We forget about slow play. It's common to think
about slow play when you're about to make a good hand or you already have a
three of a kind or a flush. If you want to tie the hand, you will have
to go for the ace if you want the flush, or have two cards connected over the
top if you dream of the straight. Something you probably won't get by playing
Take advantage of other people's disbelief.
With low limits, shorthanded poker is characterized by skepticism. Normally,
players tend to distrust everything they perceive and we can take
advantage of that to steal chips from them and get a good cut.
This is extremely important. That and position,
of course. In poker, the golden rule on the flop is to bet against one
player if you have just raked in preflop. We can also do it with two
players, but not with more.
Broadly speaking, this should not be done if we
have not connected with the flop or do not have the position, although each
case is different. And betting against aggressive players is out of the
question, although we can do it against three tight players, even if the
flop is dangerous.
As in preflop, position is of vital importance.
Not just here, but in 6-max poker in general. Assume that position will
be the position that makes you the money when you win, and the position that
makes you lose less when you get scalped.
A professional player often says that he
plays better when he loses because he lost less than the others, an
important detail that makes the difference.
We have already discussed in Part I that
defending the blinds means attacking. That means that, if we have raised
preflop, our only convincing defense is to bet. The ideal is to play in the
big blind with heads up, go all-in and look at the 5 cards on the table to
compensate for the (bad) position.
The differentiating element when playing 6-max
poker from the blinds is the free card. This free card requires a flawless
and error-free reading of the flop and the opponent, which is not always
possible when playing with low limits.
Be careful with the information that we can
give to the opponents with the check-raise strategy that we have already
mentioned. The same can be said of the check - fold. And we will be
indicating what our game is if we have not incorporated the resource of check -
raise or check - fold.
If we check-fold, we are not holding cards. If
we check-raise, we do. In isolation, these moves hurt us tremendously.
But if we camouflage them as part of our normal play, we can take advantage of
the free card.
In order not to confuse you, we will try to be as
clear as possible so that you are clear on how to play the flop in Texas
hand is a tremendously strong hand. They are usually associated with
winning plays (what we know as "nuts" in poker), but they don't
always have to be.
of a monster hand: we have 3♥ 5♥ and, on the flop, we have a straight flush draw
when 4♥ 7♥ Q♣ which we can end up hitting on the turn or
river. In cases like that we have to take into account that our game can be
based on the following:
What we call a "strong hand" and what
we don't is an opaquer question. It will depend on each board, as each
game is different and the circumstances of each round are unique. It is
crucial, therefore, to read the game correctly to see if the hand you have
managed to make is strong enough (a full house or flush draw could fall into
think it is, consider the following to define your play on the flop:
If we are holding monsters or very strong
hands, we can follow the same principles as we have just discussed for playing
early positions. But you have to bear in mind the following:
You know what the flop is, but you don't know
how to play the flop from late position. Don't worry, it's normal, especially
if you don't have much experience in 6-max poker. Keep the following in
In this case, if the pot is not open, we bet.
If it is open, we raise. We can opt for slow play, but sometimes a straight
game can be good for us.
With strong hands, what we should do is
a manual fast play, cancelling the reaction time of the others.
If we have a good hand "just like
that", we do something similar: we bet if the pot is not open, and raise
if someone else has already bet and opened. If you do this, the turn
will go in your favour, no one will bet and you will have all the initiative.
If you're betting a tighter game, it can
be good to bet on the turn to let whoever wants to get out of the hand. If
someone sees you, don't bet on the river. This avoids the check-raise scare.
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