word type: noun
- Usually, a poker game with five or fewer players.
A full poker table will seat between eight and ten players, depending on the poker room and the game. If there are a couple empty seats, it is not usually considered a shorthanded game; the game is just a little shy of being full. If there are only two players, it is called a "heads-up" game. Anywhere in between is thought of as shorthanded.
People often conceive of shorthanded play as action that takes place when there are five or fewer players present at a poker table, but it is not a stretch to apply some of the same strategic adjustments to games of 6max poker which can fall under the banner of "shorthanded" play.
The biggest adjustment you need to make when playing shorthanded is to open up your game and play more hands than you would at a full table. There are two primary reasons for this: a) the blinds come around more often, so you will get bled dry if you play too tight, and b) starting hand values increase because there is less of a chance of monster hands being dealt pre-flop.
Many online poker players love shorthanded tables for rakeback because there is more action. The action plus the necessity to get involved in more hands (many rooms require a player to put money in the pot to earn a raked hand) translates to more rakeback than might be accumulated at a full ring table.