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How to Play Six-Five Suited In Cash Games

I always feel excitement when I’m dealt Six-Five suited.

It cracks Pocket Aces over 22% of the time (more than any other starting hand) and it makes disguised flushes, straights, and two pairs relatively frequently.

But despite all of these positives, there are some things you should know before getting too carried away with Six-Five suited. It’s very easy to play this hand too often (and in the wrong spots).

That’s why, in this article, I am going to cover:

  • How to play Six-Five suited in common preflop situations
  • 3 tips for playing Six-Five suited when you miss the flop
  • 3 tips for playing Six-Five suited when you hit the flop

Keep in my that my advice is specifically for cash games with no antes and 100 big blind starting stacks. That said, many of the general concepts and mechanics carry over to different stack sizes and game types (such as tournaments) as well.

Let’s dive in.

How to Play Six-Five Suited Preflop

It’s absolutely crucial to consider position when deciding how to play this suited connector before the flop.

Here’s a look at the positions that will be referenced in this section:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened Pots

Six-Five suited is strong enough to profitably open-raise from any position in a 6-max game. But from the first 3 positions in a 9-handed game, you should fold Six-Five suited.

You should never open-limp with it, or with any hand for that matter. If you’re in late position and some players have already limped in front of you, both limping behind and raising are reasonable options (see: this article about playing vs limpers).

Against a Raise

When facing a raise with Six-Five suited, your best course of action depends on your position and the position of the raiser.

This part is pretty simple and easy to remember: if you’re in any position other than the Button or the Big Blind, you should simply fold Six-Five suited versus a raise. While the hand has potential, you should avoid playing it in unfavorable conditions. You’ll do more harm than good by playing this hand from the Cutoff or Small Blind against a raise.

When you’re on the Button, Six-Five suited is a great 3-bet bluffing hand, especially against the later positions. You can also call with it sometimes, especially against the Lojack. Watch the video below (featuring the upcoming Lucid GTO Trainer) to learn more about playing this hand from the Button against a raise.

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(If you want to be one of the first poker players to improve your game with the Lucid GTO Trainer, join the waiting list here.)

When playing from the Big Blind, you should always continue with Six-Five suited. You are closing the action and you are entering the pot with a significant discount. That being said, the way you should continue with it — either by calling or by 3-betting — depends once again on the position of the preflop raiser.

  • Against the Lojack through Cutoff, you should be splitting between calling and 3-betting evenly.
  • Against the Button, you should mostly be 3-betting.

All of this being said, you don’t need to match these frequencies perfectly to have a great strategy. This point is especially important outside very high-level poker games such as 500NL+ online.

Against a 3-Bet

While Six-Five suited is weak in terms of absolute value (i.e. it’s just six-high), it is a good hand to call with against 3-bets. It retains its equity well and does not interact with the 3-bettors high-card heavy range.

With this in mind, my advice here is to always call against a 3-bet after you’ve open-raised.

Against a 4-Bet

The same principle applies here. The hand is a juggernaut at equity retention against the top of your opponent’s 4-bet range. Thus, with a little bit of wiggle room in terms of stack-to-pot ratio (SPR), this hand is a profitable call.

For all of these tips, I want you to keep in mind that I am talking about playing against somewhat well-designed strategies. If you’re playing against a 70-year-old who was half-asleep the entire session and then he 3-bets or 4-bets you, then there’s a high likelihood that you don’t have enough equity to defend!

3 Tips For Playing Six-Five Suited When You Miss the Flop 

These tips are for when you play Six-Five suited and don’t flop a pair or better.

Tip #1: Check-raise often with open-ended straight draws after defending your Big Blind

Example: You defend your Big Blind with versus a Cutoff raise. The flop is . You check and your opponent bets.

Here’s how the Lucid GTO Trainer suggests playing all combinations of Six-Five suited on that flop:

six five suited strategy on J-4-3 (lots of raising, some calling)

The backdoor flush draw combo is an especially favorable bluff. Interestingly, the combo draw version (clubs) doesn’t check-raise as often. Speculate as to why that is in the comments!

A key part of a good Big Blind strategy is to check-raise with both your strongest hands and your best semi-bluffs. If you only check-raise with strong hands, then your strategy will become transparent and you’ll start losing value against savvy opponents.

Open-ended straight draws make great check-raise bluffs because they often improve to the best hand by the river. Plus, it benefits a lot from fold equity since it’s just six-high.

Tip #2: C-bet more often when you have a backdoor draw

Example: You raise preflop with and the Big Blind calls. The flop is and your opponent checks.

This is a great spot to c-bet with backdoor straight draws because so many cards will either give you a straight draw, flush draw, or a pair that you can continue bluffing on.

Front door draws (like open-enders) are great. But what can you bluff with once they hit on the turn? That is where the backdoor draws come in to make sure that your opponents are kept on their toes.

Tip #3: In 3-bet pots, you should c-bet on double broadway flops even if you have completely whiffed

The 3-bettor has a huge range advantage on all flops that contain two Broadway cards.

You will have so many strong value hands on these boards that even a hand such on is a must bluff. Here’s another screenshot from the Lucid GTO Trainer showing that Six-Five suited is a pure c-bet in this situation:

six-five suited on Q-t-2

Missing a c-bet bluff in this situation is a fundamental mistake. You would need to be up against a total calling station to justify not bluffing.

3 Tips For Playing Six-Five Suited When You Hit the Flop

How should you proceed with your 65s when you flop a pair or better? That’s what I’ll cover in the following 3 tips.

Tip #1: In single-raised pots as the preflop raiser, you should tend to check back with weak pairs (except on disconnected flops)

Weak pairs like those with a or perform best in small pots.

The more connected the flop is, the more you should check back for pot control. For example, on , you should mostly check with in position versus a Big Blind caller (strategy from Lucid GTO pictured below).

65 on 762dd mostly checks

On the flip side, the more disconnected the flop is, the more you want to bet to protect your vulnerable equity. For example, on a flop, you should mostly c-bet with in position versus a Big Blind caller (strategy from Lucid GTO pictured below).

65s on j62 mostly bets

I call it vulnerable equity because, with a lowly pair of fives or sixes, it’s very easy to be outdrawn when you check-back. And since you’re going to deny a lot of equity by betting on these disconnected flops (i.e. they will fold lots of hands that missed), you’re better off betting most of the time.

Tip #2: Never slow-play your trips or two-pair

Getting paid when you have strong hands is the most fundamental goal of a winning poker strategy.

This rings true especially when you are in-position because, if you check, there is no one behind that can do the betting for you. You need to take advantage of your opportunity to increase the size of the pot on the current street.

Juxtapose this to playing out-of-position, where you can still check-raise and obtain an exponential increase in the size of the pot right from the flop. 

Fast-playing hands as strong as trips and two pair will have an exponential effect on the final size of the pot which will be instrumental to your expected value (EV) with such strong hands.

Tip #3: When out of position as the preflop aggressor, play passively with your top pair

Low boards such as or (rainbow or two-tone) are better for the in-position caller. This is especially true when playing blind versus blind.

The Big Blind will have more two pairs and straights because of having hands such as 52-suited, 42-suited, and 86-offsuit in their range. Those hands won’t be in your raising range as the preflop aggressor.

The same play is correct when playing against the Cutoff or Button after you’ve raised from an earlier position, but for different reasons. In these scenarios, the cold-caller has a more merged range which leads to more nutted combinations relative to his overall range. Your range, on the other hand, will have more high card misses.

So, start with a check to control the size of the pot and protect your overall range, then re-evaluate as the hand progresses.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully these actionable tips will help you win more than your opponents with 65-suited!

If you want to learn how to play another starting hand, scroll down to related articles and pick from one of the dozens of similar articles like this one.

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: World-class pro Doug Polk has created a new poker crash course called The Postflop Playbook, which costs just $7 and takes less than 2 hours to complete.

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