Poker 6·7·8 Hold’Em Strategy Cards
Bill Burton is an advantage blackjack player and skilled poker player. He is the author of the best-selling book, "Get the Edge at Texas Low Limit Hold’em", available at 10% discount from the BJI online store, and the guide at www.casinogambling.about.com.
Last year Stickysoft® Corp. introduced their two card Poker 6-7-8 Texas Hold’em strategy cards. The two-card set offered excellent advice for starting hand selection as well as a wealth of general information about Texas Holdem. (I reviewed these cards in the August 2005 issue of Blackjack Insider.) The cards were designed for playing at a full table with 10 players and the advice given for starting hand selection was for that situation.
Short Handed Play
Unfortunately, you do not always find yourself at a full table. Players come in and out of ring games (non tournament games are called ring games) and if you play in tournaments you will find that you will get down to short handed play at the final table. The strategy and criteria for starting hands changes with the number of players and many players are confused about playing in short handed situations.
The reason that your criteria for selecting a starting hand changes when playing at a table with fewer than 10 players is because your position is shortened from that of a full table. There has been a vast amount of good information that deals with starting hand selection for full tables but there has been scant information dealing with short-handed games.
Stickysoft® Corp. realized there was a strong need to address the situation of short-handed play. Using the same concise format of their original cards, they developed two new sets of cards to deal with every situation from 10 players down to heads up play. Each set has five cards and the sets are sold separately.
The cards are tri-fold with six panels. The cards measure 10 ˝ by 5 inches open but fold down to 3 ˝ by 5 that will fit in your pocket.
There are three panels that cover Early, Middle and Late Position and a fourth one for Late Position – Aggressive. The strategy on this card can be used to mix up your play so you will not be too predictable. The decisions on the card are color coded to suggest how to play a particular hand based on the action before you. For instance there is one color to "call but fold if there is a raise" and other colors for combinations of calling, raising, or re-raising with a particular hand. The cards are easy to follow and understand.
This set contains cards for 7 – 10 players. These cards are excellent if you play mostly ring games where the number of players varies from time to time as players come in and out of the game. Other panels on the cards in set one cover topics such as position, betting, bankroll requirements, expected gain and more. The fifth card in Set One is devoted to strategies for playing the Flop, Turn and River along with a discussion of Terminology, Outs and Pot odds.
This set contains cards for 2-6 players. It is excellent if you play single table Sit & Go tournaments (Blackjack Insider Newsletter, December 2005) or find yourself at the final table of a regular tournament. As with the other cards it has pre-flop strategy for early, middle, and late positions as well as a panel for late aggressive strategy. The two-player, heads up card has a panel for being on the button, not on the button and on the button aggressive. This card also includes a panel with the Outs and Odds chart
Each card has a number in the upper left corner to denote the number of players in the game. Along with the starting hand suggestions the cards also contains position adjustment numbers listed in red on the card under the number of players. The recommendations for starting hands on all of the cards are listed for Early, Middle and Late position. When the game becomes short handed your position needs to be adjusted based on the number of players. For Example:
In a 10-player game you have the small blind and big blind. The next 3 players are considered to be in early position, followed by 3 players in middle position and the last two being the cut off (person before the dealer button) and button are in late position. This is denoted on the 10-player card as 3-3-2.
In a 7-player game, the positions are adjusted and the first 2 players after the blinds are in early position with one player in middle and two in late position. This is denoted on the 7-player card as2-1-2.
There are more people playing poker online at any given hour of the day than there are in all of the brick and mortar cardrooms around the world. In my review of the original cards I wrote that the real strength of these cards would be discovered during online play. These cards are extremely valuable for online play because you can set them out in front of you while you play online. Nobody can see you referring to your cards as you play out the hands.
The new sets of cards for short handed play are even more valuable for online play because many of the online poker sites offer table that have 9 players instead 10 at a full table. Most of the sites also offer games that you can play at 6 player tables. These 6 player games are extremely profitable for the player who is experienced in short handed play. These cards can help you get the edge in these games.
There are many good charts and cards available for selecting Texas Holdem starting hands but to my knowledge these are the first ones that specifically address situations when play is short handed.
If you play in ring games you will occasionally find yourself in a short-handed situation. If you play on the internet at a nine or six player table you will ALWAYS be short handed and if you play in tournaments the only chance you have of winning is to be able to adjust to short handed play. These cards are excellent at helping you do that.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.
Editors Note: The Poker 6-7-8 Hold’em Strategy Card Sets I and II are available at a 10% discount in the BJI store. Click here.
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