In short handed, understanding your individual opponents is more important than a general sense for the table, especially when it's only 3-4 players. The table is so much more in a state of fluxuation that as soon as you think you have a line on the table as a whole, someone will leave and you (possibly) have to start all over with your analysis. Accordingly, I think the whole 'loose table vs. tight table' continuum is better suited for full ring evaluation. It's not entirly unapplicable in 6MAX, but in shorthanded, you have to look for those small edges and be willing to ride them very hard. And most of these edges come from individuals, not from overall table texture. In other words, given the choice between playing at a table with 2 sharks and 1 donk or one with 5 'decent' players, I would much rather sit at the feeding pool and wait to pop the donk. As soon as you become big stack, everything changes, and YOU get to set the table texture almost entirely on your own.