The Differences Between 6Max & Full Ring

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Today’s question comes from Saki G and they say, “I’m new to online poker and really confused between choosing a 6max or a full ring table. What are the pros and cons of each and what would you suggest for a beginner player?”

This is a great question, one of those questions that every single online player is going to have to answer for themselves at one point or another. For those of you that aren’t really fully aware of it, a full ring table seats either 9 or 10 players, and a 6max table seats at maximum 6, so usually somewhere between 3-6 players will be at that table at any given time.

As far as which one you want to play, it’s definitely going to be a personal decision and you’ll find out later on that your own strengths as a player, strategically speaking, will also help influence which way you decide to go.

As far as the cons and the pros of each, well, the pros of each is that if you’re playing full ring, the games are inherently usually a little bit tighter. More players means that oftentimes players are going to be a little bit on the tighter side of the spectrum, which can be a good thing or a bad thing for you, depends on how you look at it. Obviously in a 6max game, there are going to be fewer players.

When there are fewer players, it means that if there’s a fish in the game or maybe multiple fish in the game, it’s much easier to get that fish. Whereas if you’re playing in a full ring game, also there’s a lot more players contending for that same individual and that’s obviously going to create a little bit of a problem when it comes to who is going to get them first, especially if they’re only going to buy in for one bullet, definitely something that you want to keep in mind.

The other thing is when you’re playing 6max, 6max games inherently are a little bit looser and a little bit more aggressive. When you’re first starting out, maybe that’s not a good thing for you. Maybe you’re not really sure how to 3-bet yet, you’re not sure how to face 3-bets yet, you’re not sure how to face extra double and triple barrels—what does that mean, is that light, is that heavy, what do I do with it?

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So there are a bunch of things to keep in mind. Full-ring games tend to be a little bit more straightforward, a little bit less aggressive, and obviously that can be a nice transition getting used to playing online poker, versus jumping right into a place where you’re going to play looser, going to play more aggressive, and maybe you’re not prepared for that yet.

Which would I suggest for a beginner player? I’d usually suggest a beginner player start at full ring, simply because in full ring games you’re inherently going to play a little bit tighter, your opponents are going to play a little bit tighter as well, there’s going to be less aggression, which means you’re not going to have to face as many 3-bets or anything, which can be a lot more comfortable when you’re first getting started and getting your footing in Holdem cash games as a whole.

I would usually suggest playing full ring to get started until you get comfortable and then once you’re comfortable, then I would start trying to make the transition over to 6max games. Again, 6max games are more aggressive, players usually tend to be a little bit better but there’s a lot more upward mobility in 6max. 6max games you can play much, much higher up, you can play it into 600NL, 1,000NL, etc.

Does full ring training apply to 6max and/or vice versa?

Full ring games online, especially tend to die off, especially closer to like 200NL, 400NL, they kind of start really capping and fading off. Whereas 6max you’re going to get a much higher potential, which is really important if you’re thinking about making this a full-time profession, thinking about upward mobility and where does my game cap out versus where does my game maybe not cap out or not cap out so quickly, anyway.

Again, beginner players, I would suggest full ring. It’s a little bit easier, it’s easier to get started in terms of hand reading, because again, people play a little bit tighter, easier to get comfortable with it. Then you can just loosen up and extrapolate as you move into 6max.

I just think full ring is going to promote a lot of good fundamentals. It’s going to promote you to play a little bit tighter, which is the biggest transition going from being a new player to being someone who can win in this game – learning how to get rid of junk, learning when to make folds pre-flop, that sort of thing. I think if you play a little bit tighter in a full ring game, get used to it, eventually amp your game up till maybe being a LAG at full ring and then start transitioning over to 6max. I think that’s going to be a really comfortable path to walk.

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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