Best way to make short handed fun? (1 Viewer)

maloviz

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Tonight I'm hosting a 5¢/10¢ cash game but due to some cancellations and just people being busy in general it's looking like we might only be playing with 5-6 players.

I love poker in any form so I don't mind playing with any amount of people. But I want to make sure everyone else is also having fun.

I don't know a ton of circus games. I pretty much only know how to play nlhe, plo, and (crazy) pineapple.

How do you guys approach hosting when you become/start short handed?
 
Only disadvantage of a shorthanded game is that’ll easily break imo. I much prefer any game 5 or 6-handed, especially NLH.
6 handed is probably my preference too. I like the pace and action better. I guess the game breaking is my main concern. If I could guarantee that we have 6 people for many hours I'd be totally happy with that.
 
For the games that I play with friends the lowest we can go is 5 people for cash. Lower than that and people start to feel uncomfortable. I think lowering stakes can stretch the dollar more when short handed, but some of the guys I play with don't want to play 25c/50c because "no one takes it seriously".
 
For the games that I play with friends the lowest we can go is 5 people for cash. Lower than that and people start to feel uncomfortable. I think lowering stakes can stretch the dollar more when short handed, but some of the guys I play with don't want to play 25c/50c because "no one takes it seriously".
Id love to bump up my stakes a bit. I think I'd rather player 25c/25c or 25c/50c. But most of the people I play with are casual players or young guys that don't have much money. So in order to try to keep it consistent I do lower stakes
 
I'll have to check this out and learn some. Thanks!
Ease your way in...
Try not to pick games with split pots until you are comfortable with that.
Pineapple and it's variants
Omaha and it's variants
Try a low game...7-2 single draw is always fun...
 
For short tables, bomb pots, nit game, and maybe some circus is the best way to have fun. Although IMO, 5-6 handed isn't too short and usually plays more fun than 8-10. Better pacing and less table captaining needed to keep the game going. When I have 9 handed games I want to blow my brains out telling people to act or getting people to help push pots etc.
 
To me, 6–7 players is the sweet spot, and 5 ain't bad either—as long as they're players who come with multiple buy-ins and are comfortable playing short-handed.

If Hold'em may not be exciting enough, consider allowing players to call orbits of different games. Playing something like Omaha or Pineapple when you're short-handed will give people a better chance to catch interesting hands instead of whiffing over and over.
 
Ease your way in...
Try not to pick games with split pots until you are comfortable with that.
Pineapple and it's variants
Omaha and it's variants
Try a low game...7-2 single draw is always fun...
Three handed holdem is always a good one for people to wet their feet on. Plus it’s a good learning game.
 
6 handed is probably my preference too. I like the pace and action better. I guess the game breaking is my main concern. If I could guarantee that we have 6 people for many hours I'd be totally happy with that.

6, even 5, handed is my preference too.

Set the expectation for players to bring 3 buy ins minimum (big gamblers will need more) for the night, set the stakes appropriately around that total, and that will help prevent a 6 handed game from breaking.

You can also do buy in ranges, so for the guy that only wants to bring $10 for the night, make him bring $15 and buy in for $5/50 BBs max.
 
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I used to push so hard for a full table and somehow felt I was missing out if we were anything but 10 players.

Weekly (2x/week 9 months out of the year) .25/.25 cash game with $25 initial and up to the big stack anytime. #thegodfatherclubmn

Once we rolled a few times with less than 10 I came to realize this is much better Poker. 5 is probably the bottom end but I can even run a waitlist in the dark months so that never happens.

So convinced am I that 10 is a population explosion, the ellipse I’m presently building will be an 8 man no questions asked. Once complete, I’ll build another before the end of the fall and sell my oval to pay for them.

7 is probably optimal.
 
Tonight I'm hosting a 5¢/10¢ cash game but due to some cancellations and just people being busy in general it's looking like we might only be playing with 5-6 players.

I love poker in any form so I don't mind playing with any amount of people. But I want to make sure everyone else is also having fun.

I don't know a ton of circus games. I pretty much only know how to play nlhe, plo, and (crazy) pineapple.

How do you guys approach hosting when you become/start short handed?
Short answer:

Sell chips, deal cards.

You’re welcome.
 
I had 4 of 6 RSVPs show up and we watched a movie instead, I think that was more fun.

5 is my minimum, 6 or maybe 7 is the sweetspot if you wanna run at a good pace, 8 or 9 is good for just socializing.
 
@maloviz - How did it go?
Thanks for asking. It was almost really bad. 5 players were confirmed + myself. Then 1 cancelled last minute, 1 said they'd be an hour late, and another said they'd be 2+ hours late. So we almost had to play 3-4 handed for a while.

Luckily I was able to talk 2 people that were a maybe into coming. So we ended up playing 5 handed for a short period and 7 handed a couple hours in. Everyone had a bunch of fun, and funnily enough, I have 8 players already confirmed for my next game. And I haven't even started inviting anyone yet lol.

We ended up just playing normal nlhe all night as that's what everyone is familiar with. Pizza, snacks, drinks, and good company did most of the heavy lifting in making sure it was a good night.

I ended up losing about 1 buy in playing, but had lots of fun. One of my friends I haven't seen in many years who barely knows how to play poker got insanely lucky and won a huge pot and ended the night with 800+ BBs. It was his first time over so I'm really happy he walked away with a nice pile.
 
Tonight I'm hosting a 5¢/10¢ cash game but due to some cancellations and just people being busy in general it's looking like we might only be playing with 5-6 players.

I love poker in any form so I don't mind playing with any amount of people. But I want to make sure everyone else is also having fun.

I don't know a ton of circus games. I pretty much only know how to play nlhe, plo, and (crazy) pineapple.

How do you guys approach hosting when you become/start short handed?

Add a high hand jackpot (take 5c out per hand that goes to the flop. Highest ranking hand of the night wins the pool).

That can help keep people around... unless someone makes a royal early.
 
I like NLHE 8-10 handed, minimum to start is 6 which I view as practice for a 6 max tournament.

There's a number of things you can do besides just NLHE.
Double board bomb pots, usually NLHE but if short handed PLO can make the action crazy
Everyone ante 1-2BB deal an Omaha hand, check it down (dealer runs the full board), get lucky to win, people side bet with each other for head to head action as well
Play short deck aka 6+ hold em, PLO, PLO8, Big O, or dealer's choice

I don't really enjoy the draw or stud type games but if your group likes it then throw those in the mix as well
 
Tonight I'm hosting a 5¢/10¢ cash game but due to some cancellations and just people being busy in general it's looking like we might only be playing with 5-6 players.

I love poker in any form so I don't mind playing with any amount of people. But I want to make sure everyone else is also having fun.

I don't know a ton of circus games. I pretty much only know how to play nlhe, plo, and (crazy) pineapple.

How do you guys approach hosting when you become/start short handed?
maybe take advantage of the few players and learn 5 card draw. It's one of my favorite games and it works best short handed. I taught it to kids at summer camp when I worked so it's easy to pick up.
 
Maybe this goes without saying but shuffling and dealing from two decks to keep the game pace moving quickly is helpful when short handed.
 
I've mentioned before that most of my inner group have been friends and have played poker together since our high school days. These days, me and one of my buddies still occasionally play heads up and me, him, and another buddy have played 3 way numerous times - for hours at a time. When I host, I actually prefer less people (somewhere between 4-7 or 5-8 is good) so we can play more circus games (I'm not a fan of regular NLHE, it's the game I suck most at, haha - I'll play it if I have to (if someone else chooses to deal it) but I much rather play a variety of games). A lot of times, we play with 4-5 people - a mixture of no limit, pot limit, and limit bet/raise stud games (and even A2/between the sheets). For us, we still get a decent amount of action playing split pot/hi-lo games, bomb pot, double board, pineapple (extra card), crazy (discard after flop), etc. It never really gets boring for us, even shorthanded, because we were friends first and we also have a LOT of circus games that we've played over the years (and a bunch of those we invented ourselves lol).
 
Honestly, most people in your group probably play a range that fits 5 to 6 handed better than an 8 to 9 person tables. That’s my experience anyway with low stakes home games.
 
I had 4 of 6 RSVPs show up and we watched a movie instead, I think that was more fun.

5 is my minimum, 6 or maybe 7 is the sweetspot if you wanna run at a good pace, 8 or 9 is good for just socializing.
You had 4 people and you didn't play poker? On behalf of all of us that don't get to play poker as often as we want, please, please play the next time this happens.
 
You had 4 people and you didn't play poker? On behalf of all of us that don't get to play poker as often as we want, please, please play the next time this happens.
+1

4-handed was all I played for a few years, as that was all that was left of my original poker boom crew. We had lots of great games
 

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