re: Poker & Playing short-handed
I love playing short handed games, because it loosens up my game a bit. You have more room to try hands that you may fold in a bigger tourney, with the intent of lasting longer in the game. With just a few playing, you can't wait around for the stellar hands; you need to use your betting and/or bluffing skills to help you along as well.
Remember that you don't always have to have the best hand in Hold 'Em to win! The bluff or semi-bluff is very much a part of the game! While of course, you don't want to play an 8/3 or 7/2 or some such hand, if you wait around for "good" cards, they may never come.
Remember, Aces and faces are not the only cards in the deck. How many times have you put a big stake on AK and 4 7 2 or some such comes up on the flop with a couple more low cards on the flop and turn? Sometimes it behooves you to mix up your play a bit, so that your opponents have a hard time figuring out where you are coming from, and have not be able to read you very well.
Also, remember to watch the other players at the table and take note...it will help you make decisions later on in play on how to act.