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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Boot Camp: Think Poker is Boring? Try Some Shorthanded Action.

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I used to play poker online every night. You could not peel me away from PokerStars, unglue me from Ultimate Bet or free me from Full Tilt.

But until recently, around March, poker nights became movie nights, then reading nights, then nights where I simply went to bed early.

Yes, the twins were wearing me out. But it was more than that.

Poker was boring.

So boring.

So painfully, terribly boring.

There were many reasons for this, and not a lot of them were the game's fault. But let's start with what I was seeing and, therefore, blaming on the game.

I play cash games. Since I've withdrawn most of my money online, and since I also am, at best, a solid, decent or even predictable player, I play lower stakes, generally .25/.50 NLHoldem or .10/.25 Omaha Hi.

I don't know what you're seeing there, but what I was seeing was fold, fold, fold, raise pre-flop, one call, bet on the flop, fold.

There was not only much action at these tables. There wasn't any.

Until, that is, I moved to six-handed games.

Now I hate posts where poker players on losing streaks suddenly find a game that works for them and proclaim it to be the potion that cures all their maladies. That's not what six-handed poker is for me. It's not a cure to all my woes. But it has made me a winning player again.

It seems so odd to say that. I am still a fairly nitty player. I was, quite honestly, afraid of the six-handed games for a long, long time, because they are filled with aggressive, bomb-the-flop players who will shove on a sneeze.

But out of desperation to find anything that would work for me in poker before I completely gave up the game, I tried shorthanded games a couple months ago.

You see, most players know how to play tight. That's how the game's changed.  I don't see a lot of the stupid mistakes that used to feed my bankroll any longer.

What you do see, especially at the shorthanded games, is unbridled aggression, and that's worked to my favor.

Playing snug is not only OK again, it's actually correct for now, at least at these shorthanded games. The games are filled with so many aggressive players that you honestly only have to wait for a hand and then make them believe you are either pushing them around or that you are scared to get your chips in and wait for them to shove when you've really got a monster.

It's an old adage in poker that when you play the opposite of your table, you'll be successful, and so far, that's true here.

It's not as simple as it sounds. Aggressive players are dangerous and will push you off hands. They're also smart. I'm a tight player, but I've had to change my game up so I'm more unpredictable. I am a looser, more aggressive player myself these days. I'm just not nearly as aggressive as many of my opponents.

I'm not saying you will win at shorthanded games, but if you find yourself with a growing discontent for poker, I urge you to try them out. At the very least, they are action games, and action games are far more interesting to play.

I don't know how long it will last. But thanks to the shorthanded games, poker is fun again.

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