6-Max Poker Strategy

Mistakes to Avoid

Full ring games used to be the most popular poker format, but in recent years, 6-handed games have overtaken the popularity of those 9- or 10-handed games, especially online.

The shorter games usually feature more action because the blinds come around more quickly. So, instead of having your action forced on 22% of hands, it is forced on 33% of hands. The players who prefer to wait for the strongest starting hands in a 9-handed game cannot get away with doing that in 6-handed games.

When there’s more action, there’s more room to make mistakes. Let’s take a look at common mistakes in 6-max poker you should try to avoid.

  • Not opening up your range postflop

This is probably the toughest idea for tight players to get comfortable with. You have to play more hands, and that extends beyond your preflop hand selection. Many tight players are fit-or-fold players postflop, meaning if their hand doesn’t fit the flop, they will fold.

There is no room for that in 6-max poker.

You don’t have to continue every time you miss a flop, but you have to be willing to do so enough so that you’re not giving money away by giving up on hands in which you don’t flop something strong.

  • Not three-betting enough

In a full ring game, you might not be comfortable re-raising preflop with less than a powerful hand. In a 6-max game, however, it’s important to recognize that players making initial raises are not necessarily doing so with a strong hand themselves. That means you should be more willing to put the pressure on those players.

In order to balance your range, you should be willing to three-bet with average hands. That way, your opponent will have a difficult time determining the strength of your hand. Three-betting also can be used to isolate your opponents who may have raised with a lesser hand.

  • Not protecting your blinds

It’s a major leak to almost always give up your blinds when facing a raise, especially in 6-max when you are in the blinds more often.

You’re always going to have a disadvantage based on your position, but that should not be enough to prevent you from calling those preflop raises or even playing back at the raiser. It is up to you to determine what your range of hands for protecting should be, but it needs to be much wider than it would be in a full ring game.

You should be more willing to defend the smaller the raise. If the raise is too big, and you don’t have a hand that can play well on the flop, it’s best to fold because you don’t want to add to your disadvantages after the flop.

  • Not recognizing your competition

You’re probably going to win most of your money in any form of poker against weak players. It makes sense, then, to play more hands against those players in 6-max poker because they’re probably playing more hands. The more hands they play, the more mistakes they will make.


If you’re an avid online player, it’s important to become a solid or above average 6-max player because that’s where the best games are these days. It’s not entirely different from full ring games, as recognizing the key differences is important for you to be profitable in the long run.