A full ring Texas Hold’em game is normally played with 9 or 10 players. If the table only has 7 or 8 players, it is known as a shorthanded game. Some online poker rooms offer tables where the number of players is limited to a maximum of six. At such tables, the game is called 6 max poker.
Because it is played a little differently than traditional holdem, 6 max poker strategy requires a unique approach. Below, we’ll explain the basics of six max, including how to play the game and what you can expect during any given hand. We’ll also compare 6 max poker to full ring Texas Holdem, so you can note the differences side by side.
How To Play 6 Max Poker
Six max poker is played in exactly the same manner as conventional Texas holdem – the difference is that there are only 6 players. We’ve created a step-by-step tutorial that shows how to play Texas Hold’em, so we’ll go through the game quickly here.
A dealer button rotates clockwise around the table after each hand. A small and big blind are posted by the two players seated closest to the dealer’s left. Once the blinds have been posted, each of the six players receives 2 hole cards face-down. This is followed by the first of four betting rounds (called the pre-flop).
Once the betting action ends, the flop is dealt face-up to the table. The flop consists of 3 community cards. The second round of betting begins and finishes after the last bet or raise has been called.
Next, the turn card is dealt face up to the table. It too, is a community card. After it has been dealt, a third betting round begins and ends when the last bet has been called.
The final community card – called the river card – is dealt face-up to the table. This prompts the fourth and final round of betting. Any players who remain in the hand at the end of this round go to a showdown. The best 5-card hand, using any combination of hole cards and community cards, wins the pot. Hands are ranked according to traditional poker hand rankings.
Like holdem, 6 max is an easy game to play. But, there’s a lot of skill involved and becoming proficient takes practice. As you gain experience and become more adept, you’ll find yourself identifying with the 4 levels of poker play.
Six Max Poker Versus Full Ring Holdem
There are a few noteworthy differences between 6 max poker and full ring holdem. If you want to become a skilled six max player, these differences are important.
- First, the action tends to be more aggressive, which often intimidates newer players and keeps them away from the tables. That’s unfortunate, but it happens.
- Second, you’ll see fewer hands for each big and small blind you contribute (i.e. six instead of ten). This causes a lot of players to loosen up their games since their hand strength, on average, is higher. The key to remember is that it gives you a little more room coming out of the gate than traditional Texas Holdem starting hands.
- Third, the pots in 6 max poker can often grow large. If you’re going to play, make sure you understand the basics of poker bankroll management.
Top Sites To Play 6 Max Poker
A growing number of poker sites seem to be adding 6 max to their tables. If you have taken a look at our online poker room reviews section, you’ll know that we have our own list of favorites. To get started playing six max, we recommend that you visit the following “best in class” poker sites…
Don’t be intimidated by the aggressive action you’ll see at the 6 max poker tables. If you read our guide to Texas Holdem strategy, you’ll have a great foundation for taking down pots – even from the more aggressive players. Visit Poker Stars to get your feet wet. Because you’ll see more pots per hour than you will during a full ring holdem game, the more skilled you are, the more profitable you’ll be.