Full Ring vs 6max Training

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I see this question a lot on the forums, and I even get this question from time to time, so I wanted to publicize my answer.  The question of course is:

 

Does XYZ apply to full ring or 6max?

 

This question bothers the hell out of me for a number of reasons.  But to really answer it, we have to understand what a good poker book or video really does.  Good poker training material teaches a framework.  It teaches you how to think about poker, what to look for, and how to create profitable lines.  A good book or video doesn’t say “if you have XX hand you should always do this” or “against XX opponent you should always check-raise your draws”  Statements like that are rarely valuable, and even if they are valuable today there is no guarantee they will be valuable in 6 months.  Poker is constantly evolving, so static strategies won’t be best in the longrun.

The best training material gives you the tools to understand poker and create profitable lines.  You need to understand what goes into line creation, and to do that you can ask yourself certain questions such as:

    • Who is my opponent?  What kind of player type is he?
    • What kind of range does he have right now?
    • If I make XX play, how does his range change?
    • Am I value betting or bluffing?  Will it be +EV?
    • What are my other options?  Are they more profitable?

Those kinds of questions really get you thinking about the best line and are the building blocks of line creation.  The best material doesn’t teach you exactly which hands to open-raise from each position preflop, which hands to always 3bet or 4bet, which boards to never CB, and exactly which hands to pot control v value bet.  The best material teaches you what goes into opening a hand per position, what goes into making profitable 3bets and 4bets, how ranges hit boards and thus when to CB them, and how to classify your hand strength and figure out if a value bet is really valuable!

So back to the original question of “Does XYZ apply to full ring or 6max?”  The thing you have to remember is that good poker material is good poker material.  The framework is solid, it teaches the concepts in a graspable way, and strategic aspects are mathematically valid.  So why does it matter if a book has full ring in the title or if a video has 6max in the title?  At the end of the day all you should care about is improving your poker knowledge and building a more profitable framework.  That being said, there are some noticeable differences between full ring and 6max:

    • The number of players dealt in and thus between yourself and the button
    • O-Ranges and C-Ranges
    • Aggression frequencies
    • Opponent reactions to certain lines

But all of these things are variables that get processed within a good framework.  A good framework considers opponent ranges, and considers the logical mistakes your opponents make (whether they be aggressive or calling station mistakes).  A static strategy that says “always open KJs from middle position” can work on some full ring tables and some 6max tables, but could be disastrous if either table had many aggro 3bettors left to act.  This is why static strategies suck.  They don’t take into account the many variables that need to be considered (who’s left to act, how would those players react if I raised, do I have a plan if I face a 3bet, if I get callers can I bluff CB well, etc.).  A good dynamic strategy will work in either full ring or 6max games simply because the strategy is a framework that analyzes the factors in the game/opponents to create profitable opening ranges, 3bet ranges, CB ranges, and VB/bluff ranges.

So to answer the question…the answer is “if it’s good strategy it will apply to either full ring or 6max”.  Certain lines will need to be adjusted for different ranges of course.  For instance, certain hand examples in my book Dynamic Full Ring Poker used full ring range estimations.  These ranges might not carry over exactly to 6max, but the concepts (what goes into making a profitable play) are the same between FR and 6max.  In fact, some of the range estimations in my book might not be the same in today’s full ring games, but the concepts are timeless and are what you really want when looking for solid training material!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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