Playing shorthanded with 4 or fewer people can be a tricky proposition if you're not familiar with how the flow of the game goes. If you come from a full ring background and are stuck playing with few poker players, you may get your butt handed to you if you're not prepared.
Many factors come into play when making decisions such as tells, past hands, and table dynamics. Table dynamics are when the players at the table are acting a specific way, such as 4 bet bluffing a lot, or triple barreling. When these dynamics come into play, you must be prepared to counter them with plays of your own.
One such play I like to use when playing shorthanded is inducing. To induce means you get a player to do something you want them to by your actions. When using this strategy, you can't just jump right in and try to induce someone to bluff and shove all in without setting the play up first. What I like to do is 3 bet a good bit, and sometimes 4 bet bluff real small with junk hands. I will rarely 4 bet bluff, but only one or two times is enough to set the trap.
This hand demonstrates inducing very well. The dynamics have been set up perfectly, and my trap is ready to spring. I have been very active and 3 betting a good bit, and sometimes 4 betting. I got folds with both 4 bets I made, so this is the perfect time to do it again.
I start the hand with KK and get raises by the button. I 3 bet and the villain makes a weird play by min 4 betting. He almost instantly min bet, which to means he is getting frustrated and tired of getting 3 bet. I instantly 5 bet to make it look like I'm trying not to get pushed around.
This play is a bit tricky as stack sizes are only 100 Big Blinds deep and putting in half your stack means you're almost never folding. However, when it is 3 handed and you have been raising a large percentage of the time, you can make this play and even make it look like a bluff.
So our villain jams all in as if to say "Take that", but much to his dismay I had the goods this time.
Unfortunately, the villain gets his Ace on the turn and even hits the Ten on the river to rub salt in the wound. But, we got the money in with the best of it and made him spew his chips due to our aggressive play that set this hand up. Again, the key is to begin setting this type of play up from the beginning. If you are only raising with the goods, you will always get credit for it and rarely get paid off. You have to be prepared to ramp up the aggression and dictate the action.
For more play by play images from PokerTracker, read these blog posts.