pocket sixes

How To Play Pocket Sixes In Cash Games

Let’s talk about Pocket Sixes!

Middling pairs, like sixes, are solid starting hands that are usually worth playing preflop. But most of the time, the flop will have at least one overcard. 

To help you avoid getting lost with them before and after the flop, I wrote this article to make playing Pocket Sixes a little easier for you.

Here is what I’ll cover:

  • How to Play Pocket Sixes Preflop
  • 3 Tips for Playing Sixes in as the Preflop Raiser
  • 3 Tips for Playing Sixes in as the Preflop Caller

Let’s dive in!

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How to Play Pocket Sixes in Common Preflop Situations

Unopened Pots

Pocket Sixes fall in the top 6-7% of all starting hands.

You should always raise with Pocket Sixes preflop when the action folds to you, regardless of your position. You should never open-limp with them (or any hand for that matter).

Against a Raise

When it comes to playing against a raise with Pocket Sixes, your position is a crucial factor.

From the Big Blind: Just call versus a raise with Pocket Sixes. The pot odds you are given due to your obligatory investment in the pot make it very appealing to call, despite having to play out of position with a high stack-to-pot ratio.

From the Small Blind: Cold-calling from the Small Blind in cash games is almost always a losing play. For this reason, you should only 3-bet from this position.

But if you’re up against an early or middle position raise, 3-betting with Pocket Sixes is too loose. So, you should only 3-bet Pocket Sixes from the Small Blind when facing an open from the Cutoff or Button. You can just let it go against the earlier positions.

The exception is when you’re playing a very soft live cash game and the player in the Big Blind is not aggressive. In this scenario, you can exploitatively call from the Small Blind. Just make sure you’re selective when it comes to calling from the Small Blind — you should still make the fold if the raise size is very large or the Big Blind is a decent player who may squeeze you out of the pot.

From the Button: The Button is a special position because you are guaranteed to be the last player to act postflop. This fact increases your ability to realize equity. With this in mind, you are highly encouraged to have a calling range against the other positions. Sixes are the perfect kind of hand to call from the Button because it plays poorly against 4-bets and is too strong to fold.

From the Rest: From the other positions, Pocket Sixes are not strong enough to cold-call or 3-bet because the “GTO” open-raising ranges are too strong. Of course, if you are up against a loose player, then cold-calling or 3-betting are probably your best options.

Again, just be selective with when you do this. If the players behind won’t punish you for cold-calling, you can call. Or, if the original raiser is someone you want to target, you can 3-bet.

Against a 3-Bet

When faced with a 3-bet, both your position and your opponent’s position are important.

When you are out-of-position especially, you should mix between calling and folding with Pocket Sixes. That being said, if you believe your opponent will not realize if you always do one or the other, and would also not adjust his strategy, then go ahead and choose the option that seems better against that player.

If the player is very tight and the 3-bet size isn’t massive, for example, I’d lean towards always calling with Sixes. This is because you can stack the player when you flop a set against his strong range.

Against a 4-Bet

When facing a 4-bet, you should sometimes call and sometimes fold with Pocket Sixes depending on which positions are involved in the action.

If you’re in position versus the 4-bettor, calling becomes a lot more attractive. If you’re in a wide range vs wide range spot (such as Small Blind vs Button), calling or even 5-betting all-in (with 100bb stacks) can be reasonable. Keep in mind that the 5-bet all-in option is only going to be good against players who 4-bet bluff at a decent frequency.

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3 Tips for Pocket Sixes as the Preflop Raiser

Tip #1: If you have an underpair to the flop, check back (in single-raised pots)

Example: You raise on the Button with the Big Blind calls, and the flop is three overcards.

It’s an intuitive action, but it’s correct in most situations. You have showdown value, so checking behind will be a good option regardless of the board texture.

There are some exceptions of course, but in general, this is a good rule to follow.

Tip #2: Always c-bet if you’ve 3-bet from the Small Blind and the flop has two broadway cards

Example: The Button raises and you 3-bet from the Small Blind with . The flop comes .

The Small Blind 3-bettor will have a massive range advantage on any flop with two broadway cards. You need to capitalize on this advantage by c-betting hyper aggressively for a small size (25-40% of the pot).

You are essentially turning your sixes into a two out semi-bluff. You also benefit greatly from equity denial when your opponent folds. Just think how nice it is to get them to fold a missed hand like , which still have 6 outs to outdraw you.

Tip #3: Always fast-play when you flop a set

No matter how dry or wet the board is, your flopped set wants to get your opponent’s entire stack. Start building the pot right away to put yourself in the best position to win as much as possible. There is absolutely no reason to check! Start juicing that pot!

3 Tips for Pocket Sixes in 3-Bet Pots as the Preflop Caller

Tip #1: If you have a middling pair and a backdoor flush draw, call even if the bet is large

Imagine a board such as after you’ve called a 3-bet with from the Button against the Small Blind. Your opponent should bet very large here, like 75% of the pot.

Even though this may seem daunting (putting in 13-15 big blinds into a pot of around 20 big blinds with a weak-looking hand), you should call. Your pair might be good, and you can pick up more outs (a gutshot straight draw) on any 3 or 4. Plus, any spade gives you a flush draw to go with your “set draw”, making it a worthwhile bluff-catch on the flop.

Tip #2: In Position, you should almost always check back without a set (exception in tip #3)

Example: You raise on the Button with and call a 3-bet from the Small Blind. The flop comes with 1 or 2 high cards and your opponent checks.

Oftentimes, your Pocket Sixes will not get the desired flop (i.e. one that contains a six). What you will get, though, is a lot of flops like , , .

When they check, you need to remember that even though they have a weaker range (don’t have many nutted hands), they will have plenty of hands that can check and call multiple streets.

Pocket Sixes don’t play well by trying to bluff the opponent off of those hands. It doesn’t have enough equity to rely on once it gets called and the fold equity is not enough to make it better than checking. Make sure to always check back and try to steer the hand to showdown (or bink a 6).

Tip #3: In Position, you should always bet when the board is low 

Example: You raise on the Button with and call a 3-bet from the Small Blind. The flop comes 9-high or lower.

Sometimes you get a good board for your range. Low boards (9xx and lower) don’t give many advantages for the Small Blind’s 3-bet range. 

In other words, they will have missed these flops the majority of the time. This forces them to play a lot more passively, checking with a good chunk of their overpairs to protect the overcard type of hands. 

That being said, that checking range, no matter how well-built it is, is vulnerable to small stabs. You have a very profitable stab with your Pocket Sixes here every single time. Don’t miss it!

The stab becomes even more profitable if your opponent doesn’t know they are supposed to sometimes check with overpairs on these flops. So, if you’re playing low stakes live or online, this is an absolute money printing stab.

Final Thoughts

You’re en route to crushing it with Pocket Sixes with this 5-minute guide. You have everything you need to start these hands better than most of your opponents. Make sure to be consistent and keep gobbling up that expected value in every single situation.

Let me know which hand you want me to do a quick guide on next in the comment section down below!

Here’s a related article you will like: How to Play Middle Pocket Pairs After Calling a 3-Bet (6 Tips)

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: Poker players like you are improving their skills every day in the Upswing Lab training course and community. Don’t get left in the dust. Learn more now!


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About the Author
Dan B.

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games. I'm available for quick strategy questions and hourly coaching -- reach out to me at [email protected].

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