The 6-max no-limit hold’em format is gaining immense popularity among online poker players, sometimes even overrunning the full-ring games. If you’re in the mood for more action-packed poker, here are a few tips on basic 6-max strategy.
Those who have already played 6-max cash games know that they’re faster, more intense, and more aggressive than what is typically the case at the regular nine-handed tables. More often than not, the 6-max battles are won and lost in position as the shorter-handed table means you’re going to spend more time in the blinds and playing from late positions.
It’s only natural that the game logic of 6-max NLHE suggests greater success will be enjoyed by the more aggressive players. However, you should still keep your head clear as even here too much does not necessarily mean good play. If you wish to try playing 6-max and stay on the winning side, here are five rather simple strategy tips to consider.
1. Play Tight
Aggressive play is often the right play from late positions. However, you should really know what you’re doing as it’s going to be really hard to keep up the same level of aggression when playing from the blinds and early positions.
Many new 6-max players tend to start out playing too many hands and playing them too aggressively. You should still fold around two-thirds or even three-fourths of your hands and not get involved in the pot. This means that any suited-ace or suited connectors should be returned to the dealer before the flop if it costs more than one big blind to continue, unless you’re on the button. This might sound boring, but when playing from out of position at the 6-max table, tight often means right.
By not playing too many hands you will not only save your chips, but will also have more time to study and get to know your opponents which is also very important.
2. Don’t Forget to Be Aggressive
That said, aggression is the key to success in all poker disciplines and 6-max NLHE cash games are no exception. Aggressive players can win with the best hand as well as make their opponents fold. Aggression is such a powerful weapon that a number of pros have built their entire careers on its foundation.
This means you should raise almost every hand you decide to play. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a mediocre hand from the button or a monster from the blinds — take the initiative before the flop and oftentimes keep it up afterwards.
3. Play in Position
At the 6-max tables, do try to play the maximum number of hands from favorable positions. This concept is as important as playing aggressive.
Poker is a game of information which can be best obtained by playing in position. Because of this, you should play stronger hands from the early positions and a more wide range of hands from the late positions. In this way before making hard decisions you will be able to observe and better read your opponents.
From the early positions you should narrow your hand range to middle and higher pairs, strong aces, and suited kings and queens. Meanwhile let yourself improvise when on the button.
4. Believe in Your Opponents
Another golden poker rule is that even the weakest players can have a good hand — don’t forget that. If your opponent is playing solidly and responsibly, take that player’s raises or reraises as a reliable sign and retreat.
If in such situation you’re not sure whether you’re winning, just fold and move on. This is the right move. Smart bets by your opponents indicate they’re looking for value.
5. Isolate the Limpers
There are few pieces of poker advice that begin “never” or “always,” but it is more or less the case that in 6-max games it makes sense never ever to let your opponents see a free flop. Don’t limp yourself and don’t let others do it.
Limpers are usually weak players looking for value with small hands. Don’t let them do it even if you have a monster and are looking for easy profit yourself. By leaving the limper in the pot, you will only have yourself to blame.
If you’re seriously into poker, these strategy tips should not be entirely new to you. However, some basics are always good to remember.
And if you’re looking for a good place to try 6-max NLHE cash games, we recommend an up-and-coming independent site Tonybet Poker. One huge advantage to playing at Tonybet Poker is that the site charges zero rake from its hold’em and PLO cash game tables. What’s more is that being a rather new site it has a solid population of weak players driven by the overwhelming amount of freerolls being offered, which means you’ll have plenty of room for learning and putting these tips to a good use.