6-handed or 6-max NLH Tournament Strategy
by K. Swope of Predictem.com
Like any type of tournament strategy or theory, it is necessary to change your style of play versus entering a cash table. Six handed or six max No Limit Holdem tournaments require a player to open up and play more aggressive than typically seen in a cash game or full table tournament. This by no means implies you should play more hands or see more flops. To play aggressive in six handed games the hands that you do choose to play must be played with power.
At any stage in the game your objective will be to win pots without the need for a showdown, or the need to show your hand to defeat your opponents cards. By playing the hands you choose more aggressively you will be in a position to outplay your opposition after the flop no matter what cards may fall.
Since there will be fewer cards dealt from the deck and more dead cards that will remain unseen through out any hand, it is very unlikely that any player who remains in the hand will not normally hold very strong starting cards. Your calling range for these players will usually consist of any suited Q, any suited K, and any Ace. Knowing that your opponents will be playing in this manner allows you the chance to control the actions they make before and after the flop while at the same time dictating the final result of the hand.
Also, it is not important to wait for good position in order to make an aggressive move. The reason behind this theory is that your pre-flop raises will only draw one or two other players of the five seated increasing your chances of bluffing or semi-bluffing to steal the pot.
Since many pots will be small, watch for opponents that simply call all your raises and bets without making moves of their own. These players are drawing and most times are not even drawing to a good hand but perhaps a weak flush or a gut-shot straight.
When you find yourself against such players it is necessary to overbet the pot at times to discourage such players from trying to make their weak hands by staying on small bets to see another card. Overbetting is when you bet more chips then the entire pot is worth; for example betting 300 chips into a 100 chip pot. By overbetting the pot you take away the equity that player is trying to build if by some lucky chance they make their hand on the river and then raise big or move all-in.
Also, do not be afraid to gamble at times when you are drawing to the strongest hand. For instance, if you are holding QT suited in hearts and the flop comes Kh, Jh, 8x you would be drawing to an open end large straight and a very strong flush. At times like these it is wise to bet large amounts or move all-in if there is action in front of you or you suspect a player will call your all-in. A hand like this gives you 16 outs to make the best hand with only 42 cards left in the deck so your odds of winning this hand are 2.7 to 1. Although you are risking your stack on a draw it is possible you will win the pot with your bet and not have to be concerned with drawing out to win.