Some starting hand tips for Short Deck Hold’em
Low connectors such as 7♣ 8♠ are going to have less value, as even if we flop a straight say on a 9♠ 10♠ J♣ board then someone could easily have Q♣ K♠ and we are going to be drawing almost dead.
Drawing hands on flush boards
Will prove less lucrative than in Hold’em for example, we have 8♠ 8♣ and the flop comes down 8♥ 10♥ K♥ in regular hold’em we still have 35% equity on this board even if our opponent has been lucky enough to flop a flush, as we can win with the board pairing or the case 8 rolling off. In Short Deck where flushes out rank full houses our equity is reduced greatly to below 7% as we will need to hit the case 8♦ and making 4 of a kind to bag the win. With other hands such as Q♠ J♠ we have zero equity against a flopped flush, so it is a good idea to keep the pot small with these types of holdings as flushes are so strong players are likely to slow play these types of boards in the hopes of opponents like us hitting our straight draws and then putting in large bets on the river.
Don’t be fooled by big pocket pairs hand strength
Hands like K♠ K♣ are still the second highest ranking hand however the equities run so close in this game that even against a hand such as A♦ K♦ we will only drag the pot 55% of the time, compared to the 66% equity we would have with a 52 card deck.
Another eye opener for a new Short Deck hold’em player will be how much equity J♣ 10♣ has even against the strongest of holdings, such as A♦ A♠ we will win this around 40% of the time, around double our chances of that in regular hold’em where we would have 21.5%
Weak Ace High hands have poor playability in Short Deck
In regular No limit Hold’em an offsuit Ace high hand such as A♠ 8♣ would make us a favorite over a suited hand such as Q♦ K♦ in Short Deck hold’em the opposite is true, holding the suited connector would make us a 57% favorite over the Ace high hand. In general, we want to be playing the low offsuit combinations of Ace high rarely and if at all not in bloated pots, as there is never really a great outcome for playing a hand such as A♠ 8♣
For example, if the flop comes A♣ 8♦ J♦ this can be deceiving for a modest player as a good flop, we have two pair! Great, Right?! Hmm, not really, these are dicey waters in Short Deck poker, say at worst our opponent is going to continue with a hand like A♥ Q♥ even against this hand we only have a small edge with 53% in equity. The dangerous part about continuing with a board like this in Short Deck is that there aren’t many good turns or river cards for our hand, any next card makes straights or better two pairs possible, any diamond makes a flush possible, if the Jack on the board pairs we will have our two pair counterfeited.
Pick good bluff candidates
Middle and bottom pairs are great semi-bluffing hands in Short Deck Hold’em because these pairs have less showdown value and so you are less incentivized to try to check down with them. When called you are more likely to improve your hand as there are fewer cards in the deck.
Have a mixed limping strategy
Limping into pots with a balanced range of strong, medium and weak holdings can not only allow you to see cheap flops with hands that play well on certain boards like suited connectors and pocket pairs trying to connect, but you can also balance this strategy by including hands like A♠ K♣, K♣ K♠ and Q♠ Q♣ in your limping range, along with weak holdings such as 6♣ 7♣ and hands of this nature will serve two purposes.
Allows us to limp, 3bet for value VS any aggressive players that are raising hands such as A♣ J♠ and pairs such as 10♠ 10♣ profitably and play bigger pots with a strong range advantage or just pick up the pot pre-flop with even more dead money after the raise and any calls that followed.
The second part of this strategy that can be very lucrative for us, is playing a Pot with a deceptively strong hand after the flop, for example if we include Q♠ Q♣ into our limping range and the flop comes A♠ Q♦ 8♦ and our opponent has a hand like A♠ 8♣ then we are well disguised and set to win some bets from our opponent.
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