All About Max Opening Ranges and Hand Selection Charts

Last updated on : 01 Jan, 1970

All About Max Opening Ranges and Hand Selection Charts

Your Go to guide to 6 Max Poker

6 Max poker games are probably the most played poker games in the 6 Max poker games are probably the most played poker games in the online cash game format. They have wiped out the full-ring nine player games almost completely over the recent years.

As an avid poker player, you must have a clear idea of the six-handed format of online poker games and formulate your strategy to play them well.

A good six handed poker strategy can help you not only in cash games but also in poker tournaments. The short-handed skills that it helps bolster will translate into your overall play, making you a stronger player. 

Once you are well versed in the basics of playing poker you can advance your skills with the perfect strategy to play six max poker. If you need a quick brush up on how to play poker visit our detailed page and head back here later.  

Before getting into the strategy for hand selection and opening ranges let us understand the format.

What is Six Max Poker?

This is a poker game whose format allows a maximum of six players at the table. Contrary to the traditional full-ring games which seat up to nine players at the table.

This changes the traditional positions from which players need to play the tightest. These positions were traditionally called; the Under the Gun, Under the Gun plus One and Under the Gun plus two.

In the six-handed format the positions are.

Low jack, Hi Jack, Cut Off, Button, Small Blind, and Big Blind.

This format often feels looser than the full-ring format because of the lack of players. The result however is a larger average pot size, a definite increase in the percentage of players seeing the flops and an increase in the number of hands played per hour. These are some of the reasons that poker players, professional and recreational alike, prefer this format of poker cash games. Simply put, there is more time to play hands and less time wasted in folding them.

Since this format is used mostly in cash games this article will discuss the best strategies to adopt while play 6 Max cash games.

Let’s get straight to it!

How to Select the best 6 Max Opening Ranges Cash Games?

If you have ever played poker in your life you know that your poker opening range affects your entire poker strategy. So obviously even in this format, the most important thing is to know the starting hands' ranges.

Keeping in mind a well-structured range for your hand selection will help you in identifying the profitable spots and get you stuck less.

Generally, it is important to only raise hands that will have a positive expected value to start with.

The closer you are to the button in the game the wider is the range of hands that you can open-raise. These are the hands that you open raise with, this means that the action has folded to you when you are in the corresponding position in the hand. There are no limpers, straddlers, or raises before you at this point. 

Adjusting Preflop Ranges

In some cases, it becomes important to adjust your preflop ranges.

  • When you are aware of your opponents’ tendencies. This is probably one of the main reasons that call for adjusting your ranges. If you know your opponent, you must exploit them by modifying the hands with which you open.  

At a table where your opponents are all opting for a tight and conservative play, you should loosen up your opening ranges so that you can play more unchallenged pots. On the flip side, if you are going head to head with an aggressive player to your left who is fond of three betting you, pick tighter ranges which will give you a stringer set of hands to play.

  •   When you can determine the skill level of all your opponents. In some cases, you can get away with playing a wider range of hands. This is when you have an edge over the players playing against you on the contrary if you are playing against strong players you may want to buckle up and play tighter hands.  
  • When you are playing games with particularly high rakes then there is a good reason for you to play a tad bit more carefully then you would otherwise. You can go with a narrower range of hands and ditch the marginal ones that sit on the fence and can go either way. This is because they can get slightly losing when considered against the rake of the game.

How much should you Open-Raise Preflop?

The smaller that you open raise in the preflop the more poker hands will be able to open.

If you intend to raise larger then you should hold a tighter range of hands,

When you are playing micro stakes some poker experts advocate that you use the thumb rule of keeping your open raise four times the Under the Gun. Which you should reduce to three times the Hijack and Two and a half times the Cut Off and Button and finally between three to four times for the Small Blind opens.

The reason that they recommend there slightly larger than usual open sizes is that the range of hands that call an open raise in the micro stakes are higher as and when you keep moving up.

If you have a tight Under The Gun range and a button player who is going to call bets three or four times the open with Queen Eights then you should push for the extra value that you can get out of it. Your range will be stronger than the calling range of this player.

There is an exception to the open raising ranges mentioned above. It is when you are placed in the small blind position. In this case, a larger bet, say, three to four times the big blind is preferable. In this case, the player in the big blind has already committed money into the pot which gives the player incentive to play much looser than he or she would otherwise. So, raising more results in worsening the pot odds of the player in the big blind.

When playing live, quite a few players raise to four or five times the big blind, although this play can be exploitable there is valid reasoning behind why they do it. Many more players in live sessions want to see the flops because they are only playing approximately twenty-five hands an hour. The intention is to discourage some hands from calling while taking advantage of the worse hands at the table. So, by raising higher they can get more hands to fold and quickly snatch up the pot. By playing this way players can easily up their equity, albeit with some more risk to their game.

So theoretically it is okay for you to sometimes experiment with your open raise sizing when playing at a 6 Max Cash table.

To Summarize:

  • A smaller bet size provides your opponents with a great price to call which you should avoid because that makes it even tougher to win as it steps into the territory of multiway pots
  • A bet larger than three times the big blind makes your individual price worse and then forces you to tighten your range, at least speaking theoretically it does.
  • The exception to this rule is when you are placed in the small blind position. In this case, a larger bet, say, three to four times the big blind is preferable. This is because in this particular case raising more results in worsening the pot odds of the player in the big blind.

What should you do after the open raise?

You now have a fair idea about handling the open raise at the 6 max cash tables. What after that? Well generally is a different player opens you should call only with hands that do better than a sizeable chunk of their opening range. After this, you can place your three-bet for value with some of your best hands and throw in a few bluffs in the mix with the hands that are slightly poor to be able to call.

Apart from this overall strategy, you must also employ the other tools in your poker arsenal. Take into consideration your opponent’s table image, stack size, and raise size. All these variables combined will serve for a great Six-Max poker strategy.

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