Poker strategy from Lou Krieger on short games

With the recent death of poker pioneer Lou Krieger, I was reminded of a special column he wrote in the July 4, 2003 issue of CardPlayer magazine. My husband and I thought it so important t we have saved it and reread it over the years.
I thought I should share the highlights with you, and will add my own thoughts. The column was about short-handed games. That’s something we seem to experience more and more these days at our local casinos.
According to Michael Wiesenberg’s The Official Dictionary of Poker, a short-handed game (sometimes referred to as a “short game”) is less than a full table. In a ring game at a casino, many of us will not play when there are five or fewer players at the table. That’s just too short! The rake makes it too expensive, even with a reduced rake; and the blinds come around so much faster. Just too costly; and, with fewer players, the pots are smaller. Hate to waste pocket Aces!
“Short-handed play tests a player’s skill and heart,” Lou wrote. “You need to be very selective and very aggressive, too, more so than in full games.” You should do more bluffing and semi-bluffing, check-raising and fold-or-raise rather than just calling.
By way of example, in a short-handed game, Lou suggested, “an ace, especially an ace with a good kicker, is a hand you can value bet and even raise with if the flop seems to have missed your opponent as well as you.”
Even if you may not have the top hand, “the best course of action is to bet and keep right on betting” unless your opponent plays back at you with a raise. Is he bluffing? Knowing your opponent is critical.
The more short-handed the game (fewer players), the more it pays to be aggressive. You can bet most drawing hands. Bet all of your hands against tight, timid players who often will fold marginal drawing hands in the face of aggression.
“In a short-handed game, the flop’s texture is important,” Lou explained. A good player is skilled in deciding whether the flop hit or missed his opponent. At a full table, if the flop doesn’t help your hand, it is likely to have improved one or more opponents’ hands. After all, the odds are only 2-to-1 against matching one of a player’s unpaired hole cards.
The fewer players in the hand, the less likely some will improve on the flop. Take advantage of this fact by stealing more pots. The fewer the number of opponents in the hand at that point, the better for you. If the flop is weak, consider being the first to bet on the flop.
If you flop a monster in a short-handed game, slow-play is the best strategy. Let the more aggressive opponents do the betting for you; and you avoid giving any information about the strength of your hand. Wait for the turn to raise, after the betting limits double. Consider a check-raise. (That advice also applies to full-table games.)
You can expect some of your opponents also will become more aggressive. All the more reason for assessing all of your opponents at the table. In short-handed games, some players are too aggressive – like a maniac.
Lou suggested how to deal with that situation: “When you sense that your opponent has crossed that Rubicon, you can check-raise early and often with hands like top pair, or even with a good draw.”
Our thanks to Krieger for this and so many other valuable words of wisdom he has shared with us, and for helping to make the game of poker such a wonderful experience that we all enjoy. May he enjoy the great poker game in heaven.

read more

Закладка Постоянная ссылка.

Добавить комментарий