The Blog plays 6+ Hold'em (after lessons from Lex)
When Lex Veldhuis shared his thoughts on 6+ a few days ago, it came with a disclaimer:
"I want to say that I am by no means an expert, nor am I an authority on this game in any way. These are simply my initial takeaways from the game of 6+."
I think the PokerStars Blog needs to provide its own disclaimer for what you're about to read:
I am by no means an expert in 6+. In fact, I'd go as far as to say I'm terrible at all forms of poker. We're just a collection of writers looking to learn.
With that being said, it was about time one of us sat down for a game of 6+. I started off on the Play Money streets (with a bankroll of 10,000) before moving onto the Real Money games.
Here are the highlights.
We're playing 50 ante Play Money starting with a 5,000 stack, and we pick up pocket aces early on. This game is easy! Right?
Wrong. After we put in a healthy raise pre-flop and pick up three callers, a nine-ten-jack flop hits the felt. The other players go crazy, and we make what could be a tight fold. It's an instant lesson in hand strengths in this game, and the power and aggression with which people might play their straight draws and made-straights.
MORE ABOUT 6+:
INTRODUCTION | LEX'S GUIDE | SIX WAYS POKER CHANGED | SIX-WAY 6+ SICKNESS
Undeterred, we pick up K♦K♣ a few hands later. The amount of premium hands you'll be dealt in 6+ might take some getting used to!
We open the pot to 150 (three-times the ante, a size we'll later discover is way too small in this game). Another player calls, followed by a three-bet squeeze to 950. With pocket kings we're not looking to fold here, right?
We shove for 4,450 and three players call! They'll continue to play a side-pot while we await our fate. Luckily, the flop comes 7♠8♥K♠ giving us top set, followed by the 7♥ on the turn, improving us to a full house. The river is the A♦, and when all the cards are flipped we see we were up against T♦T♥ and Q♠J♥ (one player folded on the flop).
The pot ships our way, and in one orbit we've almost quadrupled up.
A little later we've dropped down to around 14,000 (playing too many hands!) and pick up pocket aces for the second time this session. A pre-flop raising war sees our A♠A♥ all-in against A♦8♠ and 7♠K♦. The board runs out 6♥T♦J♠J♣T♠ and once again we take down a huge pot, moving up to around 40,000.
At this point a couple of thoughts start running through my head, starting with:
"I'm a genius! I'm the Stu Unger of 6+!"
"Don't get carried away. I have run pretty darn well so far..."
And ending with:
"You're playing Play Money, you idiot. Don't take anything too seriously here. You suck."
We certainly suck when it comes to hand selection. A little while later we decide to see a flop with A♠8♥, and end up flopping a double gutshot on 9♣J♦7♦. At this point we remembered what Lex had said about gutshots:
"What becomes the new semi-bluff? Well, the answer is your gutshots. Gutshots are like the open-enders and flush draws of NLHE. They're very powerful."
With that in mind, when a player bets we put in a significant raise knowing that any six or ten gives us a straight. Three players call, and the turn is the T♠, giving us a straight. We continue to bet and get called in two spots.
The river is the 6♣ and we now have a seven-card straight (not that that matters). All the money goes in and two players call, showing 9♦7♥ (two pair) and T♥J♣ (two pair).
With that we've spun our 5,000 up to 68,000.
It's time to put some real money on the line.
We're in for $3 (of our own money, before you ask) at $0.2c ante. That should be plenty, right? Surely this game won't play as crazy as Play Money?
Hmmmm. One thing we've picked up is that big pots are inevitable in this game. It's pretty hard to find a "tight aggressive" strategy, and you'll definitely find yourself all-in more than you're used to.
Early on we're dealt Q♣T♥ and call a $0.6c open to see a 7♣8♣J♣ flop. This gives us a gutshot and the queen-high flush draw. A player continues for $0.22 and --not really sure what we're doing-- we make the call and hit the gin card on the turn: 9♠. The same player bets again, and now we shove for the remainder of our $3 stack. Call.
The river is the K♦ and the other player shows 9♥9♦ for a turned set. Unfortunately for him that same nine had completed our gutshot. This reminded me of what Lex had said, both in terms of bluffing with straight blockers, and in terms of sharing outs with your opponents.
"Let's say you have pocket nines on a 10-8-7 flop. You can do really crazy stuff in 6+ because people will always be afraid of 6-9 or J-9.
"That being said, you have to remember that in 6+ you're going to have the same hand as your opponent more often, and you're going to be sharing outs more often. Knowing how powerful gutshots are, if you have a gutshot to the second nut straight, the same outs you want could give someone else the nut straight, and that's something you're going to see frequently. Having strong straight draws is definitely important."
We're off to a good start, and things get even better when we turn the nut straight with A♣T♦ on a K♦J♥7♦Q♣ board. All the money goes in and luckily for us our opponent has T♥9♥ for the low end of the straight. The river's another queen, and we take down another one.
We then pick up J♥T♣, and remember what Lex had said about that hand.
"Let's take a hand like jack-ten.
In 6+, ace-king vs jack-ten is close to a coin flip. Let's say the flop has an ace; you now have a reasonable chance of making a runner-runner straight. There's almost no random flop for jack-ten; you'd have to look at paired boards or boards that have both a six and a seven on them.
Other than that you'll likely flop a straight draw, and because there are fewer cards in the deck, gutshots are much easier to hit. Hands like jack-ten, jack-nine, queen-ten, queen-nine, they're right in the middle of the deck and they're incredibly powerful as they can make so many different straights."
So, we three-bet it up to $0.22c and get one caller. The flop comes 7♦Q♣A♥ giving us a gutshot (Lex was right!). We c-bet for $0.19c and are called, leading to the 8♥ on the turn. We pick up another gutshot, with a nine or king now giving us a straight. We continue betting for $0.43 and are called once again.
The river? K♦.
We've now lucked our way into the nuts, and our opponent has roughly the pot behind. We shove, they call.
Unfortunately they show T♥J♠ for the exact same hand. Chop. Perhaps they'd read Lex's blog post, too?
In one of the last hands we play, we pick up T♣8♣ and call a raise to see the perfect flop: 9♣J♣7♦. Not only have we flopped the nut straight, we also have an open-ended straight flush draw. Unfortunately when we bet the flop everyone folds.
Quitting while we're ahead, that wraps up the session.
Did we have fun? Definitely.
Did we play well? Almost certainly not.
Will we play again? Absolutely.
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