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Texas Holdem 6 max Preflop Strategy

Your preflop strategy is vitally important if you want to become a good winning player.

Below I show a starting hands chart. First and foremost the saying "tight is right" is absolutely correct. The mistake the vast majority of players make at a 6 max table is to loosen up way to much. We've all sat down and seen some of these players go on amazing runs picking up loads of pots. However that is due to short term luck and in the long run these players lose. I strongly suggest you to start out very tight. Over time when you are winning well, then consider adding more hands and we will look at what those extra hands options later.
However some full ring rock players who find themselves in a 6 max game or when the full ring table has gone shorthanded do play too tight and will end up being blinded to death because they dont adjust.

The majority of the time you enter the pot it will be with raise. Texas holdem is a game which starts as a fight for the blinds. By raising first in you may win the blinds right there. The preflop raise only costs one extra small bet and you gain the intiative in the hand and often on the flop with a single bet you will take down the pot when other players check to the raiser when the flop has missed them.

6 Max Starting Hand Guide

I would first like to point out that any starting hand guide is just a base from which to work from, which is why I havent made it into a chart. The starting hands are not set in concrete. Alot depends on the table texture and how you read other players at the table. However many players like to see some form of starting hand chart so I have set out a guide below. Follow the links for a more indepth look at how to play differently pre flop from the various positions and get a better understanding of starting hand values.

To start with I suggest you stick to this chart. You wont be going far wrong. Over time and as you become more experienced you can change some of the plays and develop your own style and also understand when and what hands can be added or played differently.

Position is vitally important in texas holdem so I have split the starting hands up into positions. For a more indepth look at each positions and variations on starting hands click on the relevant position links.

UTG
Raise: AA-77,AKs,AK,AQs,AQ,AJs,AJ,ATs,AT,A9s,A8s,
Raise: KQs,KQ,KJs,KTs,QJs,

MP
Raise 1st and callers: AA-77,AKs,AK,AQs,AQ,AJs,AJ,ATs,AT,A9s,KQs,KQ,KJs,
Raise 1st and callers: 66-55, A8s,A7s,KJs,KTs,QJs,QTs,JTs,
Raise 1st or Call a caller: K9s,QTs, Q9s,
Raise 1st only: A9,KJ,KT,
Call a caller: JTs,J9s,T9s,98s,

Raise in front Reraise: AA-99,AK,Aks,AQ,Aqs,Ajs

Optional Reraise a LAG 88, AJ
Call or reraise KQs,QJs,KJs,ATs


CO
Raise: AA-77,AKs,AK,AQs,AQ,AJs,AJ,ATs,A9s,A8s,A7s,A6s,A5s,AT,KQs,KQ,KJs,KJ,
Raise: KTs,K9s,QJs,QTs,Q9s,JTs,J9s,
Raise 1st and 1 caller: 77-55,A9,KT,QJ,
Raise 1st only: A4-2s,A8,A7,
Blind Steals: :44-22,A6,A5,K8s,QT,JT,K9,Q9,Q8s,J8s,T8s,98s,87s,76s,65s,
Not auto raises! With these you want button and blinds to fold, or if a blind calls for them to easy fold flop when they miss.

1 caller Fold: A4s-A2s, 44-22.
2 callers: call: 66-22, A7s-A2s,T9s,98s. fold: A9,KT,QJ,

Raise in front Reraise: AA-99,AKs, AK,AQs,AQ,Ajs
Call, reraise or fold: KQs,QJs,KJs,Ats,
extra possible cold calls/reraises
cold call against prf +15% suited or hands with more than 1 caller.
suited hands: QTs, KTs, JTs, want multiway pot with these so I dont mind cold calling
unsuited hands reraise aggressive raiser: 88-77, AJ, KQ
donít overplay, play cautiously could be dominated

Button
Raise:: AA-77,AKs, AK, AQs, AQ, AJs, AJ, AT,KQs,KQ,
AT-A8s,KJs,Kts,K9s,QJs,
Raise 1 limper or call 2: A7s-A2s,KJ,KT,QJ,QT,JT,QTs,Q9s,JTs,J9s,
Call 1 limper: 66-22,T9s,T8s,98s,Q8s,J8s,J7s,T7s,Kxs or raise 1st in
Call 2 limpers: 97s,87s,76s,65s, raise 1st in but fold if 1 limper
Auto Blind Steals 55, Axs,A5,K5s,Q8s,K9,
Blind Steals44-22,A4, K8,K7,K4s-K2s,Q7-Q2s,Q8o,J9,J8,T9s,98s,87s,76s,
Blind Steals 65s,54s,T8s,97s,86s,75s,J8s-J4s,T7s,96s,85s,98,87,

Raise in front Reraise: AA-99,AKs, AK,AQs,AQ,Ajs
Cold Call (or reraise 1) KQs,QJs,KJs,Ats,

If raise is 1st in from CO and likely to be a blind steal over say estimated for example 26% then consider reraising the following:
Possible extra reraises 88-22,Axs,AJ,AT,A9,A8,A7,KQ,KJs,KJ,QJ
The more aggressive the player the more you can reraise with, QJ is pretty weak.

Can consider cold calling the if pfr 15% and/or more than 1 in the pot or loose blinds.
suited hands: QTs,KTs,JTs,
unsuited: AJ,KQ,
cold call 3 players in pot 77-22
Donít overplay, play cautiously could be dominated with unsuited hands.

Ill state again the above is a solid guideline. In any game you should be adapting to players at your table and in time with experience you may be able to add more hands. Please read the relevant sectiosn for each positions as not all the above hands are playable every time, for example the blind steals and iso raises.

Playing the blinds in 6 max texas holdem is alot different from a full ring game. See the relevant links for details of an indepth look below.

Small Blind - You out of position and will often be facing steals.
Big Blind - You'll need to learn to defend your big blind.

With good players playing more aggressively pre flop you will more often see players cold calling. Find out when it is correct to cold cold preflop.

Cold Calling

Relevant Reading

My starting hands guide and pages should set you up with a solid pre flop strategy. I highly recommend you read these links to increase your understanding of the preflop plays and with experience you will learn which plays are correct and when and wont need to follow a starting hand chart.

Heres some great preflop advice and starting hand charts from Leader.

Preflop Play: Take off the training wheels by Ed Miller. Ed Miller highlights how you should be thinking preflop, play more hands against weak players and less hands against strong players.

My table of 6 handed open raising standards King Yao draws up a table of his opening raising standards in 3 to 6 handed games. This is a good base from which to work from.

Opening Standards in 6 Max according to 9-2 offsuit.

30 preflop questions Different players opinons on what hands they play preflop.

yet another preflop poll Answers for 13 various preflop questions.

Am I a rock ? Common situtation for some tight full ring players who move to 6 max.

Back to Basics. What do you do pre-flop UTG, button after 2 limpers and sb to a button raise questions.

Preflop hands 10 various preflop questions

Preflop hands II 10 Steal and defend questions.

25 very simple questions Various preflop questions answered and discussed many good players.

The proper level of aggression ?? Discussion on what hands to raise preflop

Strategy for pocket pairs Basic discussion on playing pocket pairs preflop and flop. Ive included to highlight not getting married to your pocket pairs post flop.

OverCall or Raise 3 preflop situations discussed, K8s in CO after 1 limper, JTo button after 2 limpers, 77 in CO after 2 limpers.

medium suited kings: playable? A detailed looked at Kxs preflop.

KQo and QJo in Party 5-10 (6max) Players 2 biggest losing hands in $5/$10

new pro needs help .. look at my stats please Leads to some discussion on preflop hands. Rory gives some general good preflop advice.

"High Card Power" in shorthanded play What exactly does this mean and does the kicker count?

Too tight? Trying to find which hands to add... (10k stats included) Good preflop comments from TazQ

who are more profitable...loose or tight blinds?

Finding 5% VP$IP Interesting how well Nikla uses position, something highly important when considering adding new hands.

When to limp pre-flop in a shorthanded Hold Em game Discussion on when and where to limp and why.

A9o and KT with limper in front from various positions From a thread "Quick Preflop Questions"

Raising standards... 8 questions Raise, call or fold in these 8 preflop scenerios.

Poll: 3-Bet Standards. UTG folds, UTG+1 raises, CO folds. You're on the button. Which hands do you 3-bet?

PF Limp tricks. Is there any reason in SH? Might be useful if playing against same players often.

Some Newbie 6-max questions #2 Highlighting some preflop hands and situations.

Still not what I would like to see - to low a vpip Discussion on stats, stealing and defending.

vpip of 17 Looking to increase VPIP

Table of Hand rankings by percent of pots won vs random hands, played to the showdown, against 1 - 9 opponents

Starting Hand Charts

The below offer starting hands chart, they are useful in particular the top 2 links which show how the the chart evolved and how certain players thought certain hands should be played. I do think these charts are way to basic and have there flaws but useful nonetheless. Another SH Starting Chart This is the first version of the chart, Ive included this link so you can see players comments on why and how certain hands should be played preflop.

Starting Hand Chart v2.0 (In Progress Update) This is the updated version of the chart, again with many comments.

6-Max Ultimate Starting Hand Guide

Limping Preflop

For many players new to shorthanded texas holdem its difficult for them to adjust and become more aggressive. This aggression starts preflop when entering first in most pots you should be raising. Limping is the sign of a weak player.
The following articles look at why raising is preferable to limping preflop.

Doesnt raising prevent wouldbe junk limpers?

Loose Games Discussion on limping preflop in low limit games.

Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO Poster thinks limping and passive play is best, read why and the counter arguments. Take particular notice of comments by Naphand who was a player who experimented and had great discussion on limping in preflop in the earlier "Loose Games" thread.

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