6-Max Poker Tournament and Cash Game Tips - WPT Global


6-max poker encourages action and engagement but let’s take a look at some things to consider before jumping straight in. Taking time to learn some 6-handed poker strategy key tips improves your chances of ensuring the profits end up on your side of the felt. Download WPT Global today to your device and let’s take a look at:

  • The Best 6-Max Poker Starting Hand Charts
  • What Hands Should You Float With in 6-Max?
  • How to Play from the Blinds
  • How to Approach the Most Common Postflop Situations
  • What is the Best 6-Max Postflop Strategy?


The dynamic in short-handed poker is quite different from full-ring (nine-handed) games and it's important to account for this. The blinds hit much more often, so there’s greater pressure to get involved and fight for pots. Ramp up aggression, rather than waiting for monster hands as the blinds eat substantially into your stack.

Raising percentages increase in short-handed poker and expect to be up against wider ranges from opponents, thus weaker hands in general.

Formulating a robust winning strategy requires a look at what sort of hands to play, and position to play those hands from. As a general rule, have wider raising and defending ranges to account for the elevated blind pressure, and ground your general strategy around a strong understanding of starting hands.

Let’s take a look at the sort of hands to play and when to play them.

These charts show players need to raise much more liberally than in a full-ring game. The earlier the position, the tighter the raising range is, while raising much more frequently closer to the button.

These charts are a guide, tweak the ranges according to the playing style of your opponents. Raise with a tighter range if they call often. Raise with a looser range if opponents fold often. Be prepared to adjust based on each opponent’s style.

What Hands Should You Float with in 6-Max?

Battling for pots more frequently means employing numerous strategies to keep ahead of the game. Floating – calling bets on flops where you haven’t hit a pair, to potentially bluffing on a later street, is one of these strategies.

Hands with some room for improving or picking up draws work better as floats. For example, Kd Qd on a Js 5h 2d flop is a good candidate for floating. There’s plenty of equity if the turn card is a diamond or a ten, along two overcards to the board if they pair.

Another candidate for floating is a hand with an ace in it where two cards on the board match that ace’s suit, e.g. Ah 4d on a 3h 6h Td board. Holding the ace is powerful here since a turned heart offers a strong semi-bluffing opportunity.

Look to add some floating plays to a 6-Max poker strategy toolbox to improve profitability in these games.

How to Play from the Blinds

Playing effectively from the blinds is crucial to developing a winning 6-handed poker strategy, as the blinds come around more regularly than in full-ring games.

Small Blind Tips

Look to three-bet your hand more often from the small blind, negating some out-of-position disadvantage. Opening raisers attack the blinds with weaker ranges in general, take advantage of that weakness by 3-betting more frequently than calling.

In unraised pots, be careful limping into the big blind. Observant players in the big blind can punish players who simply limp in from the small blind because of the excellent price being offered. Some players automatically raise a small blind’s limp, confident they are usually facing a weak range and happy to either pick up the pot or play against them in position. Against such players, limp less frequently & work in some traps (mixing strong hands into your limping range.)

Limping frequently is a perfectly viable strategy against players in the big blind who don’t show a tendency to punish limpers, given the excellent price paid to play the pot. The charts above, however, show a pretty broad range of hands to raise, when in unraised pots from the small blind.

Big Blind Tips

Call small blind raises relatively liberally, for being in position against the small blind provides more opportunities to value bet and bluff than in other hands. A competent small blind is also putting pressure on quite regularly, so be ready to fight back against this aggression.

When facing raises from other positions, especially late position raises, consider three-betting with hands likely to be ahead of the raiser’s range but tricky to play post-flop. Examples might be K9s, A8 offsuit, etc.

How to Approach the Most Common Postflop Situations

Continuation Betting There are a number of different ways to approach continuation betting in 6-Max. In position, players can opt to bet frequently with small c-bets or less frequently with a more polarised range (very strong & very weak hands). Small, regular c-bets are very profitable when opponents show a propensity to fold more often.

Out of position, take a line of mainly checking and sometimes leading. Leads can be a blend of weakish semi bluffs (T-J on K-9-x) and strong hands (sets and strong top pairs.) Checking weaker top pairs (K-T on K-4-7 for instance) and middle pairs can be a good strategy, especially against aggressive players in position, and avoids inflating the pot with more marginal holdings.

What Is the Best 6-Max Postflop Strategy?

There’s no “one size fits all” strategy in 6-Max. Be ready to adapt and tweak these suggestions according to the type of opponents.

Passive players fold more often, bets and raises win many more uncontested pots. Try more traps and strong semi-bluffs against aggressive players to offset their more frequent attempts to win pots.


6-Max poker is a fast and thrilling variant of No-Limit Hold’em, players are thrown into battle together much more often thanks to the increased regularity of the blinds hitting them.

There’s a unique ebb and flow to shorter handed games. Careful observance of opponent tendencies gives crucial information on when is a good time to pull a bluff, slow-play a monster or even make a hero fold versus a particularly tight player.

Keep a close eye on the level of aggression or passivity from opponents, while increasing aggression compared to full-ring games and follow some of these tips above, to increase your success playing short-handed.

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