Facing a Raise in the Big Blind – 6-Max

Playing the correct hands in position is key in No-Limit Hold’em, and this is especially true in the big blind. The Tip Top Fox examines big blind hand ranges for a 6-max NLHE game

Knowing what hand ranges you should be playing in specific positions in a 6-max No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) game in advance is a great way to improve your poker game. This is especially true when playing out of the big blind, as this is the position players lose the most money from in an NLHE game. These charts highlight the big blind hand ranges we recommend you should either raise or call from the Big Blind on a 6-max No-Limit Hold’em table when all players have 50 big blinds or more.

A ‘three-bet’ or ‘3-bet’ is another name for a reraise after a player has opened. This stems back to Limit Hold’em where the first re-raise is the third bet made. In general, 3-bet size should be three times the size of the initial open raise. This goes for all positions apart from the blinds. Players in the blinds should 3-bet larger – 4 times or more of the initial open – as they are ‘Out of Position’ (OOP).

Bear in mind these charts assume you have no information on any of your opponents. In a real poker game you have to adjust your ranges to your opponent’s tendencies and the specific situation to be most profitable.

Versus Under-the-Gun and Hijack

The Big Blind is a unique position on the table as you have already contributed to the pot, and facing a single raise, can close the action pre-flop and see a flop. Post-flop however you are OOP (and thus weak) against all positions except the Small Blind. Facing a 3BB open raise you can call 2BB to win a potential 6.5BB, giving you 2.3/1 pot odds with a 31% equity requirement to continue.

Facing an UTG or Hijack raise when seated in the Big Blind you should call a range of hands that realize their equity well and should 3-bet using a polarised strategy.

Versus Cutoff and Button

When facing a late position raise you should call a large range and expand on the polarised 3-betting strategy. You can 3-bet bluff a wider range of hands and should consider the tendencies of the opening player (and their associated range) when deciding to 3-bet or call.

Versus Small Blind

When facing a raise from the Small Blind you must consider the bet size and the tendencies of the player carefully. If the Small Blind raises 4BB you have roughly 1.7/1 pot odds with a 37% equity requirement to call. You are ‘in position’ and have already contributed to the pot so should call a wide range. Again, you should use a polarised 3-bet strategy, 3-betting the top and bottom of your range for balance.

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