Next time you're in a bar, here's a bet you can always win: Simply ask your victim to name the source of the quote, "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." Nine times out of ten he'll say Shakespeare, because most people think that almost every clever thing ever said in English stems from Shakespeare. These words, of course, are not Shakespeare's but Sir Walter Scott's. The reason I bring this up is to introduce a fundamental fact of shorthanded poker: Even more than in its fullhanded cousin, you have to lie to win. Not only that, you have to be thoughtful and forward-looking in your lies, because success in shorthanded no-limit Texas hold'em is predicated on weaving patterns of deception, and on untangling the webs of deception woven by your foes.
Because everyone in a shorthanded game takes such swift and frequent turns at small blind, big blind, under-the-gun, cutoff, and button, it's easy to fall into predictable, position-based, patterns of play. It's not uncommon, for example, to encounter players who open-raise preflop from the button or the cutoff absolutely regardless of the cards they hold. They're not necessarily wrong to do so, for position is a powerful tool in shorthanded play. But if you know they're doing it, you have cracked a pattern of their play, and now have a weapon to use against them.
Say you're in the big blind against such a player. Your first thought may be to wait until you have a strong enough hand to reraise his button steal and take his chips away from him. Yeah, you could do that, but then you'd merely be falling into a play pattern of your own, a pattern we might describe as surrendering crap hands and counter-attacking with good ones. Your attentive foe will quickly become aware of this deception trend and simply won't give you action when you reraise because he'll know that you're strong. To break this cycle, which really doesn't work to your advantage, simply disconnect your trends and patterns from the hands you hold. In other words, have it in your mind to let him attack your blind exactly twice, but then repulse his third attack with a big reraise, no matter what cards you have. Since your first two folds will have created in his mind the impression that you won't defend your blind with bad hands, he'll naturally credit you with a good hand when you fight back.
This is just one example of using patterns of deception - weaving tangled webs -- as opposed to actual hand values, in pursuit of control of the shorthanded joust. There are many such deception trends you can use, and all of them are better than just playing "get the goods, then bet the goods" poker in a shorthanded setting.