One of the biggest mistakes poker players make is when they think a short-hand table is going to be the same play as a nine-or-ten handed table. To maximize your experience and payout, you have to understand the critical differences. If you are at a six-handed table, remember that there are likely less people playing and that means that fewer cards are available. Those fewer cards mean that your hand selection may be wider.
If you find yourself at a short-handed table, you will play more hands due to the fewer cards. With larger tables, there are more cards, which means that there may be some great hands out there. For example, if you are playing a nine-handed game, you would never play a hand like an Ace9. The only way this would be an advantage is if you are in the exact right place at the right price. Too much luck is needed for you to walk away at an advantage if you play.
On the other hand, if you are participating in a six-handed table, playing an Ace9 might not be a bad idea. It isn?t a strong hand by any means, but it still is playable. A hand like that can oftentimes leave you ahead. The difference between playing a short-handed game versus a 9-10 handed game is the difference in the hand strength you can get.
Here is another example of the difference. If you are playing at a full 9-10-handed table and Ace Jack isn?t great. Because there are so many cards out, the chance of another player getting an Ace Queen or Ace King is too high. In addition though, a pocket JJ or higher will already have you beat. The idea is to always play a hand when you are ahead. The chances of staying ahead with an Ace Jack at a 9-10 handed table is about 30%, not good odds at all.
Let?s look at a six-handed game with the Ace Jack. In this case, it is a strong hand. The reality is that there are fewer cards out there to beat you. Plus you also can stay in the game with that hand and reap some benefit; then, when the game gets too risky you can pull out.
The way the Ace Jack plays out in six-handed games as opposed to 9-10 handed games is the same with every hand. Remember that hand strength is a critical component of sitting at the table. You want to always be aware of what cards are out there and what the possibilities are of someone else getting a hand that immediately puts you at a disadvantage. By understanding this, you can make better decisions as to what will work, and what won?t.