Group 1: any two cards
Group 2: any two cards you found in your wallet (Blockbuster, Visa, library card)
Har har! Not really. But yes, the starting requirements are a lot looser and a lot more vague than in a full ring game. I don’t consult a chart – a lot of it is based on feel more than anything. At a more passive table, you can play or raise with any two high cards (A-J), any pocket pair, and any suited connectors. Suited gappers are playable as well, as are some hands like AT, A9, KT, K9 in late position. At a more aggressive table it depends how much you want to mix it up. I like to often let others drive and try to snake their chips away with implied value hands – little pairs, suited connectors and gappers. With other people raising and betting hard, those hands are potentially devastating.
I think I wrote something up recently, but for me it’s about like this:
Raise from any seat: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, AKs, AKo, AQs, AQo, AJs, AJo, ATs, KQs, KQo.
May raise or call from any seat: All pocket pairs 22 through 88, all suited connectors from 78s to Qjs, and all suited gappers from T8s to KJs. QJo.
Call or raise in late position only: Suited connectors 45s through 67s, suited gappers 46s through 79s, Ax suited, ATs, ATo, A9s, A9o, A8s, A8o, KTs, KTo, K9s, K9o, K8s, Q9s.
On the “may raise” hands, I generally would prefer to limp or (even better) call someone else’s raise with them, but I will raise at times for a change-up, or in late position to steal blinds, or I might min-raise to juice the pot if a lot of people are playing. That depends on position and table texture.
Small blind… a lot of people in 6max play any two in the small blind. I don’t like to. It’s a waste of money. You can complete with any of the above hands, and I add in some interesting (i.e. crappy) hands at times, such as any suited high card/low card combo like Kxs or Axs, some suited two gappers like J8 and T7. I am more likely to complete if there are fewer people playing. If everyone folded to me (somehow), I’ll complete with anything or even raise anything and try to outplay the big blind player. If 4 people limped in and you’re completing with J3o though, you’re pissing money away.
My range of hands played doesn’t change much from game to game, but I am more likely to raise at a passive table and more likely to limp or call a raise at an aggressive table. Passive tables give up a lot of small pots to the aggressor; aggressive/loose tables won’t reward you constantly like that but will pay off in a big way when you hit a monster on the flop. So my starting requirements are about the same, but I play them somewhat differently.
I also must stress that this is what’s working for me. It might not work for everybody. It’s a pretty loose set of hands, and at times I even add in some stuff that really looks garbagy like 24 suited. I don’t recommend this if you’re not used to 6max. I have found some of these weird hands useful, for table image and for the occasional busting someone out, but it’s not wise to think “OK, 34 suited is playable” and start playing it from any seat, all the time. If you’re just getting into 6max, I’d chop off some of the lower suited connectors and most of the gappers, and play a tighter, easier game for a while until you’re comfortable…