65s how would you play it

How Would You Play This 6♦ 5♦? (Pro Analysis)

Have you ever asked yourself something like…

Would a top-level pro have played this hand the same way I just did?

If you’re like most poker players, you probably have.

Whenever an Upswing Lab member finds themself in a pickle, our Upswing Poker Engage Facebook group is there with like-minded players to help them find the answer.

In addition to talented members, the group also includes Upswing coaches, such as the all-around talented high stakes pro David “MissOracle” Yan. The coaches spend time every week making sure that valuable questions from members get answered.

david yan ept win

David Yan is a long-time pro from New Zealand who crushes cash games and tournaments.

This is exactly what happened to one of our Upswing Lab members, Cedric, who struggled when he found himself playing a 3-bet pot, out-of-position, with a low suited-connector.

No surprise! He posted his hand history into the Engage group and David Yan wasted no time coming to his rescue with a in-depth answer to help Cedric wrap his head around this tough spot.

Let’s dive in.

The hand in question:

$0.50/$1 6-Max Cash game. 170BB Effective stacks.

Hero is dealt 6 5 UTG.
Hero raises to 3BB. 1 fold. CO 3-bets to 9BB. 3 folds. Hero calls.

Flop (19.5 BB): K♣ 6♣ 7
Hero checks. CO bets 6.44BB. Hero calls.

Turn (32.38 BB): K♣ 6♣ 7 J♣
Hero checks. CO checks.

River (32.38 BB): K♣ 6♣ 7 J♣ 8
Hero checks. CO checks.

In this hand Cedric had a couple of specific questions:

Should I have bluffed the river, or take the showdown? If the answer is bluff the river, what sizing should be taken?

Now, it is a long way from posting the blinds to deciding what to do on the river, so let’s take the hand step-by-step and see what our situation is when the last card is finally dealt.


Hero is dealt 6 5 on the UTG.

Hero raises to 3BB. 1 fold. CO 3-bets to 9BB. 3 folds. Hero calls.

Preflop Analysis

Opening 65-suited from Under The Gun is a bit loose if we are using a preflop raise size this big. David Yan would suggest:

[Open for] a smaller sizing preflop, as it mainly gives you a better price [on your open], especially from the earlier positions, and allows you to play a wider range in general.

And so while opening 6 5 to 3x the big blind is probably a losing play, this hand can have its place in a 2.2x or even 2.5x opening range.

Facing a 3-bet, this hand actually functions pretty well as a call. In fact, it might even be a better calling candidate than some of the higher suited connectors, which are more likely to be dominated by opponent’s high cards.

Take a hand very high suited connector like Queen-Jack, for instance. This hand is dominated by 3-bets from King-Queen or Ace-Jack — two hands that are very likely in the opponent’s 3-betting range.

Editor’s note: To learn more about why low suited connectors are sometimes preferable to high ones, read Why 54s is Better Than 98s (And How That Should Impact Your Strategy).

65-suited, although a weaker hand overall, does not face these issues as much, and David Yan generally approves of the call. However, he reminds us:

Folding if you’re unsure is completely fine. After all, it is not easy to realize your equity out-of-position and most players will find themselves losing money in this spot (i.e. calling the 3-bet loses more than just folding to the 3-bet).

Note: Want to know how to play every hand in every common preflop situation? Get instant access to extensive preflop charts and lessons (for cash games, heads-up and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Lock your seat now!

The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of five sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.


Flop (19.5 BB): K♣ 6♣ 7

Hero checks. CO bets 6.44 BB. Hero calls.

Flop Analysis

We start by checking the flop, a standard play versus an opponent who has the range advantage over us. Facing a 1/3rd pot-sized continuation bet, we now have a couple of different options.

We can definitely call and play some turns, but we could also go for a check-raise. 6 5 is a good check-raising candidate for a couple of reasons:

  1. It has five outs to improve to trips or two pair, which will likely be the best hand, and
  2. There is a very decent backdoor straight/backdoor flush potential (just imagine check-raising and seeing the 4 fall — what a dream).

David points out that by check-raising:

You can make [the opponent] fold some equity with hands such as, say, Ace-Jack with no backdoor flush draw. And this balances a bit for the times you have sets or, say, Ace-King which may want to check-raise at times too.

Furthermore, if your only semi-bluffs are flush draws, then you will not have enough bluffs on turns and rivers that do bring a flush.

That last part is a very important concept when it comes to building a bluffing range. In most spots, it is crucial to bluff with a little bit of everything (i.e. both flush draws and straight draws as well as backdoor draws, bottom pairs, etc.).

This way, when one of the draws hits on a later street and improves your bluff to a value hand, your range still contains bluffs in the form of those other draws that did not hit.

However, all this should be done with a mixed frequency to avoid over-bluffing, and therefore calling with the 65-suited here (as Cedrid did) is completely reasonable.


Turn (32.38 BB): K♣ 6♣ 7 J♣

Hero checks. CO checks.

Turn Analysis

The turn brings a potential flush on the board. It also improves KJ-suited and pocket jacks, both of which are in both players’ ranges.

First, it is worth considering whether we want to have a leading range here or not. In this case, it does not look like this is a great spot to take the initiative.

Take a look at Upswing Poker suggested ranges for Lojack open vs Cutoff 3-bet (focus on the hands that are either calls or mixed frequency calls):

LJ vs CO 3-bet Call

Red = 4-bet | Orange = 4-bet or call | Pink = 4-bet or fold | Green = call | Light green = call or fold | Light blue = 4-bet, call or fold | Blue = Fold/Not in range

Some of our suited hands are going to be either folded or 4-bet preflop at some frequency (AJs, ATs, KQs, A5s). Those that do get to the flop by calling a 3-bet may want to check-raise the flop at times as well, particularly when facing a small 1/3rd pot-sized c-bet.

This removes a lot of flushes from our range, meaning the opponent will have more of them than us. He also should have more sets that we do, given that we would 4-bet pocket kings (and sometimes pocket jacks) preflop. And, again, we would have check-raised most of our sets on the flop.

Cedric correctly checks and so does the opponent. Let’s take the river.


River (15.2 BB): K♣ 6♣ 7 J♣ 8

Hero checks. CO checks.

River Analysis

The river is an eight of hearts and I am going to let David take it over from here:

I think this is very close to the bottom of our range, so I would bluff. As far as worse hands go, you can possibly have AQ with backdoor flush draw, but that’s about it (and I think that hand sometimes check-raises the flop too).

So, the question here isn’t really whether we should bluff this hand, it’s more about what sizing should we choose. You could potentially have two different sizings here, but I think for simplicity purposes I would suggest to have one.

And how should we go about choosing that sizing?

My suggestion is to think about what the worst hand you want to value bet here is and pick the sizing that you would want to bet with that hand class — generally good advice for picking sizing in any spot, really. Furthermore, you can adjust this slightly for how many (or few, in this case) bluffs we have available).

In this case, I’d say versus most villains that worst hand to value bet with would be AK.

So what river bluff bet size would you have picked?

Let us know in the comments below!

Want more valuable insights usually reserved for Upswing Lab members? Read This is When (And Why) World-Class Players Overbet the Turn.

Thanks for reading.

Note: Ready to join 6,000+ players currently upgrading their No Limit Hold’em skills? Crush your competition with the expert strategies you will learn inside the Upswing Lab training course. Learn more now!


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Tomas Molcan

Tomas Molcan

Successfully trying not to be all that terrible at poker since 2009.

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