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Six Plus Hold'em Rules & Strategy

59,032 Views on 13/6/15

Six Plus Hold'em is the brand new variation of Hold'em game, played with a deck of 32 cards. The game originates from the Macau cash tables and is being propagated by two well known cash game pros, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey. Action-packed, fast and exciting, the game has a potential to enter the mainstream poker through the main gate.

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What’s Six Plus Hold'em all about?

Six Plus Hold'em rules and tips
Everyone has been hyped up about this new game that arrived to the Macau tables where Ivey and Dwan play, called Six Plus Hold’em. At the first glance, it looks like a very exciting and attractive game for new players! This just might be the new Chris Moneymaker in terms of attracting the fun players to play online, and the good thing is, if you know how to play Texas Hold’em well, you’ll have an easy transition to this new game mode.

It’s becoming a really popular game, and I predict that it will be added and instated as a permanent game on PokerStars in a few weeks, or even less, and the traffic will be huge. Let's get into it and learn the Six Plus Hold'em rules!

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The Rules of Six Plus Hold'em

So, what are the rules to this weird sounding variation of the Hold’em game? It’s still Hold’em, right? RIGHT. The only difference between 6 Plus and classic is that all the cards from deuce to five are taken out from the deck, leaving 36 cards instead of 52.

The Ace is still low, A6789 making the lowest straight or the wheel as you may know it, and it’s still high making TJQKA.

6 plus holdem
There are also some differences in hand strength, like 3-of-a-kind now beats a straight and a flush beats a full house (since it’s harder to make one because you only have 9 suited cards out of 36 with which you can make a 5-card flush from).

Although Six Plus Hold'em is for the most part played as the traditional Hold'em in terms of streets, the main difference comes on the river, at least in some variations of the game, when, instead of dealing a community card, every player is dealt one extra card. In the final round of betting, every player still in will have three hole cards and will need to combine two and two only of those with the four community cards to create the best possible five card hand. In other variations, it is played with a traditional river.

six plus holdem rules poker
Hand Rankings
  • Royal (straight) flush
  • Four of a kind (quads)
  • Flush
  • Full House
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight
  • Two pair
  • A pair
  • High card

Why is it good?

It’s good because having less cards in the deck makes it so that you get better hands more often, and for a recreational player that’s awesome because he’ll be getting a lot more action this way, and even though A6 represents the absolute minimum Ax type of hand, it can still be kind of hard to find a fold for a beginner.

It’s also simpler to play than Omaha, so that’s another reason why it could turn out to be very attractive for recreational players.

For us regs out there, it’s also a very good thing, because it’s more fun and more action-packed than Classic Hold’em; it’s like a breath of fresh air that you take from playing the classic format. Also, playing multiple formats of poker has been proven to yield high skill increases in all your other poker games, so learning how to play Six Plus Hold’em will most definitely make you a better player overall.

It’s also important to play it as much as you can at the onset. I remember playing Razz online and people would HU SnG me for 10$ and after a few hands they’d rage in chat saying something like “Why did I lose, I had 3 kings?”.

At the beginning, a lot of players will be attracted to the novelty factor, and some of them will even play not knowing the full set of poker rules, so that’s where you make the biggest profit. Like Hold’em was so loose in its online beginnings, where people would stack off with top pair no kicker on any flop back in '03, and people who were decent by that time’s standards made thousands, if not millions of dollars. It was the same with Omaha when people first started playing it, so the time to act is right now as you don't want to lose this opportunity.
You have the skills needed, now it’s time to make money!

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Adjustments and Six Plus Hold'em Strategy 

The first thing that you have to understand is that there are 36 cards instead of 52, so the chance that you'll make better hands on average is higher. This means that you’ll value TPGK less, but some other players might overvalue them and call you down even though it’s much easier in this game to make two pair+. I remember playing 5-card draw 9-plus when I was a kid and a straight or a full house were very frequent.

Also, there’s a bigger difference between the odds of hitting. Now, one out becomes one card out of 31 which is roughly 3% chance to hit it. So to hit a flush draw on the turn or on the river you have 5 cards (2 in your hand and 2 down, 5 left out of 9), so 5x3x2=30% chance to hit a flush. But remember that this beats a full house, so it’s the virtual nuts. 

The good thing is, although the percentage of hitting a flush is a bit smaller than in regular Hold’em, you’re almost never beat when you do make your hand, because you’re not afraid of sets or paired boards anymore.
Probability of flopping a set is increased to about 18%, which makes calling 3bet with pocket pairs a much more profitable proposition
Next up we have the straight draw, and this is going to be interesting. To hit an open-ender by the river you have 8(outs)x3(percent)x2(turn and  river)= 48% which is insane. Basically, if you know that your opponent doesn’t have trips or better, you can just keep on raising, because if you have any kind of fold equity, you’re going to profit in the long run; and when you do get called, it’s as close to a flip as it will ever be, provided you’re not drawing dead.

The modification in draw hitting percentage and flush strength make the game more action-packed and people will get it in a lot more often on flops, making it a very exciting variation to play.

Two pair is also easier to hit because we have 5 outs from 31 cards so it’s going to be 5x2x3%=30% to hit two pair until the river, which renders overpairs a bit less powerful.

Another thing that we need to talk about and everyone absolutely loves is the probability of flopping a set. Here, it’s about 2x3x3%=18% so calling 3bets with pocket pairs becomes more profitable proposition.

AT and AJ lose a lot of their power, but AK becomes much stronger. I’d never 3bet AQ though, because we’re never, ever getting called by a worse ace if we are up against a decent player.

More strategy and math considerations

Now that we know the basic rules of Six Plus Hold’em and that money will fly around way more often, I expect that all poker sites will integrate it pretty fast after it appears on the main one, and that it will be fairly easy to exploit opponents, especially at the beginning, if you integrate the knowledge from this article into your game.

Let’s start off by talking about all of the aspects of pre-flop game.

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Stacking off

Obviously, stacking off now Stacking off becomes a little bit tighter because we have less cards in the deck, ergo we will get AA or KK a lot more often.

If the chance to get AA pre-flop in regular Hold'em is 0.45 percent, let’s try to calculate that in Six Plus Hold’em:
  • The chance to get dealt one ace in one card is: 4 / 36 = 1 / 9 (one out of nine possible cards).
  • Now, the chance to get dealt the second ace is: 3 / 35 = 8.5%
  • To get the probability of catching aces, you have to multiply the two probabilities and get the percentage, so the probability that we get Aces is: (1/9)*(3/35)=3/9*35=3/315=1/105
Once every 105 hands you’ll get AA in Six Plus Hold’em, which is 0.95%, which, to tell you the truth, is insane! It’s more than the double of regular Hold’em, and that goes for KK QQ JJ TT and any pair!

Also, let’s see what the probability of getting AK is now:
  • Probability to hit an Ace: 4/36
  • Probability to hit a King after you’ve hit the Ace: 4/35
  • If we multiply these probabilities we will get the odds to get AK pre-flop, so the result is:
  • 4/36 * 4/35 * 2(because the order doesn’t matter) = 4*4/35*36 = 16/1260 *2 = 2.53%
So this means that the range of QQ+/AK now is 0.95+0.95+0.95+2.53= 5.38%. In Hold’em it’s 2.6%. This is going to invite more action into the game and make it a lot more 3bet oriented, because in Six Plus, 2.6% is very close to AA/KK/AKs.

Let’s see now what a combination percentage is:
  • 2/36*1/35=0.158%
To verify our calculations, we re-calculate pair and AK probabilities like this:
  • AK – 16 combos – 0.158%*16 = 2.53%
  • AA – 6 combos – 0.158%*6 = 0.95%
  • AKs  - 4 combos – 0.158%*4 = 0.63%
So we now have the solution to the combinations problem.

3-betting and stack-off ranges

The pressing matter here is that now, QQ+/AK is 5.38%, which is a huge 3-bet value range and is advisable in 6-max but in FR it’s a lot looser than it may seem. Also, a lot of players in the beginning will still stack off QQ/AK from virtually any position in 6-max games, so you’ll benefit from that by playing QQ a lot more like JJ/TT/99 and only 3bet AA/KK/AK.

Why do we still 3-bet AK? Isn’t this a good hand to flat now ? Yes and no.

Arguments for 3betting:

  • Let’s say you have AK
  • This means that from all of his combos of AA, 3 are taken out of the 6 because you hold the Ac.
  • Also, from his combinations of KK, 3 are taken out of the 6 because you hold the Kd.
  • Also, from his 16 combinations of AK, he is left with 9 out of 16 because you hold Ac and Kd.
  • This means that he’s 50% less likely to have AA, 50% less likely to have KK, and 43% less likely to be holding AK, so he’ll fold a lot more often pre-flop
  • Let’s say the UTG opens for 3x and you 3-bet from the button 9x. 
  • If UTG opens 10% of his range and continues only with KK+/AK, even if you fold every time to a 4-bet, you’re making a profit in the long run.
  • How? Well, 4.5% of that opening range is AA/KK/AK, but you’re holding blockers so it’s reduced to about 2.5%. That means 3 out of 4 times you win 4.5 blinds(bb/sb/open) and 1 time you lose 9 blinds. That’s good profit in the long run and cannot be overlooked.
  • If his opening range is bigger than 10%, you’re winning a lot more in the long run.
Arguments for flatting:
  • Keeping his weaker hands in.
If your opponent opens UTG and you only flat AK, he will not have the option of folding AQ, possibly AJ/KQ to a 3-bet and you can get value from him post-flop, when an ace or a king hits.
  • The element of surprise
Most players will discount AK out of your range when you’re not 3-betting it, and thus make mistakes post-flop. A lot of them might bet AQ for two streets on an ace-high board and check/call the river, and the same goes for KQ on a king-high board. That’s when you get 3 streets of value with your AK against hands that would have folded pre-flop to a 3-bet.
  • Not having a standard play, varying your game
Sometimes if you combine 3-betting AK for 50% and flatting it 50% you become much harder to read, thus your opponent will never know this frequency and it will be hard for him to adapt to your play style.
Most players will discount AK out of your range when you’re not 3-betting it, and thus make mistakes post-flop.
I’d actually be more inclined to 3-bet AKo and flat AKs (leaving my AK flatting range 25%), just because AKs has better playability post-flop from flopping a flush draw. The equity of getting it in pre-flop with AKs is not much higher than that of AKo so I consider flatting a lot more often with this type of hand.

Also, when using your HUD, watch out for the people who have a 2% 3-bet range, because they’re only 3-betting AA/KK, so it becomes super-profitable to call for set-mining purposes (because now you flop a set 18% of the time), and stacking off with only AA versus these players becomes the ultimate exploitive strategy. I’m even folding AK pre-flop because if we call the 3-bet and we hit a king, he’s most likely holding aces, and if we hit an ace, he’s most likely not paying us off with KK.


All in all this sixpluspoker will be a very interesting, action-filled game and I can’t wait for it to become an official format adopted by the major sites, because I really believe this is the new Hold’em and it will be a worthy breath of fresh air for all of us that have been playing the same game for years and years. I hope you found these Six Plus Hold'em rules easy to follow and useful as an introduction to the game.

To wrap it up, I leave you with the words of wisdom from a great man:

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Walt Disney

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