Poker 6 Max Ranges
6-max poker games, which means there are six players at the table, are the most popular format for playing poker online. They are so well-liked that they have almost completely taken the place of full-ring games, which have nine players, on most online poker websites.
If you aim to be a successful online poker player in cash games, it’s essential to have a strong 6-max game. Even if you usually play in poker tournaments or in live settings, improving your skills in short-handed games can boost your chances of winning.
What Does 6 Max Poker Mean?
In 6-Max Poker, there can be a maximum of six players at the table. To compare, traditional poker games, known as ‘full-ring’ games, can have up to 9 players.
This means that in 6-Max Poker, some positions like UTG (Under the Gun), UTG+1, and UTG+2 don’t exist. Instead, you have positions like Lowjack (LJ), Hijack (HJ), Cut-Off (CO), Button (BTN), Small Blind (SB), and Big Blind (BB).
With three fewer players, 6-Max Poker feels more relaxed than full-ring poker. This leads to bigger pots, more players seeing the flop, and a faster pace of play. This is why both skilled professionals and casual players like 6-Max Poker – you spend less time folding and more time actively playing hands.
Although there are 6-Max tournaments, this format is most commonly found in cash games.
Poker 6 Max Ranges — Starting Hands
In poker, it’s important to start with a good selection of hands before the flop. Having a well-defined range of hands to play will lead to fewer difficult decisions and more chances to make money.
Here are charts that show which hands to play for each position at a 6-handed poker table, starting from the Lowjack (LJ) ranging all the way to Small Bling (SB).
You’ll notice that the 6 Max poker ranges of hands we raise, become wider as we move around the table. This happens because when there are fewer players left to act after us, we have a better chance of winning the blinds with our raise and a lower chance of running into a strong hand.
When you’re in the small blind position, your opening range is at its widest. This is because there’s only one player between you and the small blind in the pot (1.5 big blinds). However, it’s also reasonable to call (limp) with a wide range of hands from the small blind, especially if you’re up against a skilled opponent who might try to counter your wide opening range with aggressive 3-bets and calls.
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Here are the specific opening ranges outlined in the charts for each position:
- Lojack (MP): Open with roughly 17% of all possible hand combinations, which is about 222 combinations.
- Hijack (HJ): Consider playing about 21% of all possible hand combinations, which is approximately 280 combinations.
- Cutoff (CO): You can open with around 30% of all possible hands, which totals to about 394 combinations.
- Button (BTN): Your opening range here is the widest, with about 44.5% of all possible hand combinations, which is roughly 590 combinations.
- Small Blind (SB): In the small blind, open with about 44% of all possible hand combinations, which amounts to roughly 570 combinations.
These ranges give you an idea of how many hands you can play from each position to start a hand in poker.
When Do You Need to Adjust Your Preflop Ranges?
The starting hand charts we talked about earlier are helpful guides, but they’re not unchanging rules. Successful poker players change the hands they play based on a few things, like these three:
- Opponents’ Style: How your opponents are playing is the main thing that should guide your decisions. You want to take advantage of their weaknesses. For example, if everyone at the table is playing conservatively and tightly, it’s a good idea to open up your hand selection. This way, you can win more pots without a fight. On the other hand, if there’s an aggressive player to your left who’s always making big bets, it’s smarter to stick to stronger hands from the charts we talked about earlier. This makes it easier to deal with their aggressive moves.
- Opponents’ Skill: When you know you’re better than the other players at the table, you can get away with playing more hands. Playing more hands gives you more chances to show your skill after the flop. However, if you’re up against really strong opponents, it’s a good idea to be more cautious and tighten up your hand selection. The idea is to widen the gap in skill against less experienced players by playing more hands and to narrow it against better players by focusing on stronger hands.
- Rake: Rake is a portion of the money taken by the poker room for hosting the game. In games where the rake is high, it’s a good argument for playing a bit fewer hands. Some hands that might break even without the rake could become slightly lost when you factor in the rake. So, it’s wise to be a bit more selective with your hand choices in these games.
Remember, poker isn’t just about following a fixed set of rules but adapting to the specific situation at the table.
Beat Your Opponents with The Power of 3-Betting
3-betting can be a game-changer in a 6-max poker game when used effectively. It accomplishes both of these objectives simultaneously. It makes your opponents pay if they want to stay in the game, while also growing the pot for you. It’s crucial, especially when you have strong hands pre-flop. Instead of playing them slowly, you should be aggressive. To keep your strategy well-rounded, mix in some semi-bluffing hands when you 3-bet. These hands not only prevent your opponents from realizing their equity but also keep them guessing whether they should call or fold against your 3-bets.
3-betting also reduces the chances of ending up in a multiway pot, which is advantageous for us. Multiway pots are tougher to win, and your hand’s value diminishes when multiple opponents join in. Against less experienced players, 3-betting allows you to isolate them for post-flop play, where they are more likely to make significant mistakes. This is how poker 6 max ranges can be made full use of with 3 betting.
There are several good reasons to 3-bet before the flop:
- For Value: Raising with your strongest hands lets you build a bigger pot and get more chips from opponents who have weaker hands. Many new players tend to play their strong hands cautiously, but being more aggressive is often the better choice.
- As a Bluff: Including bluffs in your 3-betting strategy helps keep your overall range balanced. This makes it harder for your opponents to predict your moves and prevents them from capitalizing on your predictability. If you only 3-bet when you have an incredibly strong hand, your opponents might catch on and fold most of the time. When they fold, you win the entire pot, even if your hand only had, for example, a 60% chance of winning. By doing this, you deny your opponent the 40% chance they had to win the pot.
- To Isolate: 3-betting reduces the chances of multiple players entering the pot. This is a good thing because your hand’s chances of winning decrease as more players get involved. For instance, a pair of Aces (AA) is an 85% favourite to win against a single random hand, but if there are four other players with random hands in the pot, AA is only slightly ahead. 3-betting to isolate your opponent often results in a one-on-one showdown against the original raiser. This is particularly useful when you’re up against a less skilled opponent who is either raising or just calling, allowing you to take advantage of their mistakes in later post-flop play.
Selecting the Right Hands for 3-Betting
Your choice of hands for 3-betting depends on the positions and the tendencies of the initial raiser. Consequently, sticking rigidly to predefined hand charts for 3-betting might not be the best approach. Instead, consider what hands the raiser is likely to open with based on their position and 3-bet around the top one-third of that range. Successful 6-max players typically have a 3-bet percentage ranging from 5% to 8%, which is a good benchmark. With this in mind, your 3-bet range should include:
- Premium Hands: This category consists of AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, and AK. You should 3-bet these hands nearly all the time.
- Strong Hands Below Premiums: Hands like AQ, AJ, KQ, 99, and 88 fall into this group. You should 3-bet these hands most of the time.
- Speculative Hands: Suited connectors like 98s, suited aces like A5s, and small pocket pairs should also be a part of your 3-bet range, but used more selectively.
Poker 6 Max Ranges FAQs
What is the 6-max strategy in Texas Holdem?
In Texas Hold’em, 6-Max is a poker variant played with a maximum of six players at the table. The strategy for 6-Max games is more aggressive and dynamic compared to full-ring games with more players. It involves adjusting your starting hand selection, position play, and overall gameplay to account for the shorter table. This often means being more active and adapting to your opponents’ tendencies.
What are the ranges in poker?
Ranges in poker refer to the specific sets of hands that a player chooses to play in different situations. These ranges are based on factors like the player’s position at the table, the style of play, and the actions of opponents. For example, a “starting hand range” might be a list of hands that a player is willing to play before the flop.
What does 6-max mean in poker?
In poker, “6-Max” refers to a game or table where there are a maximum of six players. This format is different from “full-ring” games, which can have up to nine or ten players. 6-Max games are known for being more aggressive and action-packed due to the shorter table and fewer players.
How do you play a 6-max poker tournament?
Playing a 6-Max poker tournament involves adapting to the shorter table and the different dynamics it creates. You’ll need to be more aggressive, especially in the later stages, as blinds increase. Position play is crucial, and it’s important to be aware of your opponents’ tendencies. Staying adaptable and adjusting your strategy based on the table dynamics is key to success in 6-Max tournaments. Be prepared for more frequent confrontations and be selective with your starting hands.