6 Max Preflop Chart: Best Strategies for 6-Handed Poker

Do you want to crush six-max poker games? If so, you need a solid 6 max preflop chart to guide your decisions. In this article, we’ll provide everything you need to know about playing optimally at six-max tables.

Why do you need a 6 max preflop chart?

6-max or 6-handed poker is the most popular format for online cash games. They are so popular that they have almost completely replaced full-ring (or 9-handed) poker games on most online poker websites.

A strong 6-max game is essential to be a successful online cash-game player. It won’t hurt your win rate to improve your short-handed skills. This is where a 6 max preflop chart comes in.

In this article, we are going to dive deep into the 6-max poker strategy. You might want to bookmark this page so that you don’t have to read the entire guide in one go.

What does 6-max poker mean?

Simply put, 6-max allows six players to play at one table. Traditional full-ring games allow for up to 9 players.

This means that the positions we play the tightest — UTG, UTG+1, and UTG+2 — do not exist in 6-max poker. The positions in a 6-max table are as follows:

  • Lowjack (LJ)
  • Hijack (HJ)
  • Cut-Off (CO)
  • Button (BTN)
  • Small Blind (SB)
  • Big Blind (BB)

6-max is looser than full-ring poker because there are three fewer players. This results in bigger pot sizes, more hands per hour, and a higher percentage of players seeing flops. This is why both recreational and pro players prefer the 6-max format — they spend less time folding and more time playing hands.

There are 6-max tournaments. However, it is more commonly cash games. This is what we will be focusing on in this guide.

Charts for 6-max starting hands

A solid poker strategy begins with good preflop hand selection. Structured ranges will make it easier to find profitable hands and less difficult spots. You can refer to a 6 max preflop chart when analyzing starting hands.

The range of raising hands increases as we move around. This happens because there are fewer players behind us and we are more likely to win the blinds with our raises.

Your opening range will be the widest at the small blind. This is because there is only one player between you and the BB. Against a tough opponent, limping with a wide range may also be a good strategy.

When to adjust your preflop ranges

The 6 max preflop chart can be a great guideline but they are not set in stone. The ranges of successful players are adjusted frequently based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to these three.

6 max preflop chart

1. Opponents’ tendencies

How you adjust your opening ranges will depend on the tendencies of your opponents. It is important to exploit your opponents whenever you can, and changing which hands you open is one way to do so.

If you are playing conservatively and tight at a table, you might consider lowering your opening ranges to make it easier to win more pots. If you have a very aggressive player to your left that is constantly 3-betting, you should play tighter within range. This will give you a stronger set of poker hands that are easier for you to play against 3-bets.

2. Opponents’ skill level

If you have an advantage over your opponents, you can play a wider range. You can play more hands and have more chances to use your edge post-flop. It’s also a good idea to increase your range if you are playing against very strong opponents.

The goal is to increase the skill gap against poor players by playing more hands while narrowing it against good players by playing premium hands.

3. Rake

When the rake is high, you should play a narrower range of hands. Marginal hands that are close to break-even can lose when the rake is considered.

How to open raise in a 6-handed game

Open-raising should be between 2.25 and 3 times the size of the big blind.

A smaller size will give your opponents a good price to call. This is something you want to avoid as it makes it more difficult to win multiway poker pots. However, raising more than 3BB will make your price worse and force you to limit your range.

The exception to this rule is when your position is in the small blind, where 3BB or 4BB should be used. This happens because the player in the big blind has money and position, which encourages him to play loosely. Although you cannot change your positional disadvantage, you can make his pot odds worse by raising larger amounts.

Why 3-betting is essential to 6-max success

When done correctly, 3-betting can be a powerful and extremely profitable strategy. There are many reasons to 3-bet pre-flop.

6 max preflop chart

Value. When you re-raise with your strongest hands, you can build a pot and extract value from weaker hands that your opponent will call with. Inexperienced players often slow-play with strong hands, but fast-playing is the best way to go.

Bluff. Bluffs can be included in your 3-betting range to help you keep your range balanced and stop your opponents from realizing their equity. Your opponents could easily exploit you if you only 3-bet with nutted cards.

They will fold almost every time you make a 3-bet. If your opponent folds, you will win the entire pot even if you have only 60% equity to win.

Isolate. You can reduce the chance of a multiway pot by placing a 3-bet. This is in your best interest as your equity decreases with each additional player who joins the pot.

AA is 85% likely to win against a player with a random hand. However, AA is only marginally more likely to win in a pot with four other players holding random hands.

3-betting to isolate can often result in a heads-up pot against the original raiser. If you are facing a fish that limps or open raises, you can isolate them by placing a 3-bet (or raise) and taking advantage of their weaknesses post-flop.

Ranges for calling and 3-betting

Ranges for 6-max calling and 6-max 3-betting are different than opening ranges. This is because calling and 3-betting are heavily influenced by the position and tendencies of the original raiser.

The tighter the open-raising range is, the tighter the calling or 3-betting range should be.

Here are some guidelines to help you when facing a raise.

  • If your hand is too weak to 3-bet but too strong to fold, then you should call.
  • Try 3-bet bluffing with slightly weak hands.
  • Hands with good playability when called are suited for 3-bet-bluffs.

These rules of thumb apply to all positions. However, there is more to consider when you face an open raise from the blinds.

When facing a raise at SB position

If you’re in the small blind and are facing a raise, it’s a good idea to 3-bet your entire range unless you have a very small raise. When facing a small raise with a loose range, it may be worth calling.

To minimize your positional disadvantage, you should always 3-bet. If your opponent calls, you will head to the flop having a range advantage and the initiative. This makes out-of-position play much easier.

When facing a raise at BB position

The BB player is in a unique situation, having already committed 1BB toward the pot. This allows them to call at a discounted price when they are facing a raise. The big blind has a wider range of hands than other positions, so you can call.

You can play loose against raises by players in the small blind because you will have a positional advantage after the flop. This will allow you to play against a wide range of positions, which can lead to a high win rate.

6-max play after the flop

This part of the game is more complicated and you will always find something to improve upon. It’s so complex that even the most powerful supercomputers on the planet cannot create a perfect GTO strategy.

This section will discuss the most common play patterns in the game and how to approach them.

What is c-betting?

This tactic is likely to be familiar to experienced poker players.

C-bet, or continuation bet, is a bet that is placed by the last aggressor on the previous street. This section will explain the strategy behind c-betting and how to react to your opponents’ c-bets.

We’ll begin by discussing how to approach c-betting on the flop both in and out of position.

C-betting on the flop when in position

As you are the last to act on each street, your position gives you a huge advantage over the rest of the hands. This will allow you to value bet more effectively and bluff better.

If executed correctly, many strategies can work from in position.

You can bet smaller with a higher frequency or a merged range. This strategy works best with disconnected flops (such as A, 9, 5, Q, Q, 6, J, 6, 2). This strategy works because the out-of-position player will have difficulty continuing with enough range.

Your bluffs will reap huge profits.

You can bet big by choosing a lower frequency or a more polarized range. This betting strategy works best with connected flops, such as Q J 8, Q 8 7, etc.

Why? Because an out-of-position player will have many hands to continue with. You want to give him the best pot odds while still forcing him into the hands.

You can be more generous with your value bets on position. Hands such as top pair with a kicker should be placed for value on a dry board. You can place all your pairs on dry boards for thin value and protection.

You should still bluff when you have the chance to improve on the river or turn (draws and backdoor draw).

C-betting on the flop when out of position

When you are out of position, you will want to use a defensive strategy. This means that you will bet fewer hands than in position. This is because you will be at an informational disadvantage during the hand, as you will be the first to act on every street.

C-bet on the flop should be made with hands that can comfortably place 3 streets of value (on most runouts), and some bluffs that could improve to a strong hand at the turn or river. These spots should limit your betting range. It’s best to use a mixed strategy with your strong hands, such as checking and betting.

Why is it so important to play defensively when you are out of position? Because you anticipate your opponent to have a very strong hand when they raise. When betting into such a range, you need to be careful about where you place your bets.

On a board with K, 9, 6, you can c-bet like this:

  • Value range: 66, 99, and K9
  • Mixed strategy: AK
  • Bluff range: QJ, QT, JT, 87s

You should always be careful with hands that seem like high-value bets like KQ.

If the board is lower like T, 5, 3, then your c-betting range should look like this:

  • Value range: 55-33
  • Mixed strategy: AT, JJ, QQ, KK, AA
  • Bluff range: 76s, J9s, QJ

How to c-bet at the turn (also known as double barreling)

After your flop c-bet is called, double your barrel on the turn using a polarized range that contains both value and bluff bets.

The hardest part of placing value bets on brick turns is choosing the right hands. Simply use the same strong hands you used to place your bets on the flop. If the turn card isn’t a brick, then you will need to reevaluate your value range. Then, place your bets with your strongest hands (e.g., You should stop betting with K 9 if there is a board of 9 8 4 Q.

You should always bet straight draws, gutshots, and flush draws as bluffs. However, you should also give up on other non-made hands, such as backdoor draws or those that were missed on the turn. You will need to be creative with your bluffs when the board is dry or drawless.

On T-3-3-4, for example, you could bluff using hands like QJ/J9 and continue to value bet normally.

Playing against c-bets on the flop

How you play against flop c-bets will depend on the ranges of both players, the bet size, and whether you are in position.

Pay attention to your opponent’s c-bet sizes and what they might mean for their strategy. Expect them to double barrel aggressively if they have a polarized range. If he bets low, his range will likely merge and he should check back on the turn frequently.

Which range should you raise the flop more often? Merged, polarized, or both?

The answer is merged. A player with a polarized range will be more likely to barrel on the turn or river so it is better to call on the flop and get a bigger raise later.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when betting on the flop with c-bets:

  • Play loose when in position, and play tight when out of position.
  • Check-raise with strong hands and draws (gutshots, straight draw, etc.) if you are out of position. You should not check-raise if the flop is very favorable to your opponent’s range.
  • Continue to play hands that can be played on turns. Consider which and how many turn cards you will need to call another bet with the hand. If you don’t have many turn cards, you should consider folding on the flop.

Playing against a c-bet on the turn

The majority of the concepts from a flop still apply to the turn, but it is possible to play more exploitatively in some important ways.

First, you have the option to make big folds or light calls based on how many natural semi-bluffs your opponent has.

  • You can expect your opponent to bluff quite often on a draw-heavy board such as J 9 5 4. This will allow you to make lighter calls than a bet.
  • A dry board such as K 8 2 2 would require your opponent to be creative to be bluffing. However, because most players are not very creative, you can make big folds versus placing a bet.

If your opponent isn’t aggressive on the river, you can call more loosely on the turn. Expect to call with them comfortably on the turn and get to showdown fairly often.

Probe bet on the turn

A probe bet is when your position is out of place and you bet on a player who had the chance to c-bet on a prior street but didn’t. Probing can only be done on the turn or river.

You should probe bet with equity-driven hands that have no showdown value. It’s better to check-call or check-raise if your draw has showdown value. You can expect to have unexpectedly strong hands on the river if you keep a few draws in the checking range.

When the board has fewer draws than you would like, you can increase your bluffing range by betting QJ. This hand still has the potential to improve to the best hand on the river.

Then, you should balance that range by using a polarized, value-betting range. This will allow you to double-barrel often. You should not go lower than the second pair top kicker.

Otherwise, your hand will be too weak to barrel for value at the river.

Delayed c-betting

A delayed c-bet is a wager made by the pre-flop aggressor when the action has not yet been completed on the previous street. This is a common and often misunderstood play that can help you win more pots and avoid difficult spots.

The delayed c-bet strategy that you employ will depend on your flop strategy. You should delay c-bet bluffing with an equity-driven range (just like you do for probing), made of straight draws, gutshots and flush draws. If these hands have showdown value, you should avoid betting with them.

Just like with probing, you’ll want to polarize the delayed c-bet range using strong middle pairs for value. With these hands on the river, you can usually bet for value again.

You can use delayed c-betting to beat most players. After checking twice, they have shown a lot of weakness.

Tips for micro stakes post-flop play

The post-flop 6-max strategy can be difficult to master. These four tips are sure to help you get on the right track. These were designed to exploit leaks at the lower limits.

6 max preflop chart

Value bets should be placed thin and often. Value betting heavily with your strong holdings is the best way to win 6-max games. This is because players love to call and that is the biggest leak in weaker games.

They can’t help but call. This makes betting on value more profitable than ever and slow-playing less effective.

You shouldn’t be afraid of betting on the larger side. Bad players will often decide that they are going to call a wager before they see its size. You shouldn’t size up in harder games, as good players can tell when bet sizing tells are being missed. However, it is possible to do so at softer poker tables.

Bluff with caution if the opponent has already placed significant money in the pot. Consistently going for big bluffs in weaker player pools is a bad idea. This does not mean that you should never bluff.

You should continue attacking weak ranges but pick your bluff spots carefully when playing micro stakes.

Study your opponent and take detailed notes. This is especially important if you are playing in an online poker room that allows you to tag players and take notes. If you are a live player, you will have to use a notepad or mental notepad.

It is important to keep up-to-date with information about other players in your pool so you can adjust your poker strategy and exploit them. You should not bluff if you are playing against a calling station because they are unlikely to fold. If you are facing a nit that folds too often, you should be more inclined to empty the clip.

Avoid making too many calls on the river. A soft 6-max game is often characterized by aggressive river play that is value-heavy. These stakes are not suited for triple-barrel bluffs.

A good adjustment is to fold slightly more against river bets. A raise by an opponent on the river is almost always going be a nutted hand. These spots should not be called light unless your opponent has many missed draws.


Now that you know how to beat up weak players in 6-handed games, it’s time to give it a try. Don’t forget to get your 6 max preflop chart to serve as a guide to your opening play at six-max poker tables.