One of the trickiest poker hands to play correctly in Texas Holdem is undoubtedly suited connectors. Suited connectors fall midway between small pairs, typically played for their set value, and huge hands, typically played for their face value. This causes several challenging post-flop spots.
The ability of suite connectors to create straights and flushes, which are typically very strong hands, makes them exceptional. But, you’ll frequently find yourself in situations with a medium-strength poker hand and unsure what to do when confronted with aggression.
In this article, we will see some strategies you can use or avoid when playing with these hands.
What Is the Value of These Hands?
The fact that these hands look far better than they perform is perhaps the most crucial thing players should understand about the suited connectors strategy. It is simple enough to visualize all the numerous ways you could flop a monster hand and stack your opponent when holding a hand, like 5h6h or 8s9s.
When considering all flop combinations that could occur, the issue is that the number of genuinely advantageous flops is relatively low. Whether you have a second or third pair or a poor draw like a gutshot, you will see the flop far more frequently than when you have a made hand, and they are difficult hands to play.
Moreover, stealing all the chips from a skilled opponent on your ideal board may be challenging. Big hands with suited connectors frequently entail highly coordinated boards that are simpler to run from, unlike small pocket pairs, which can be incredibly concealed when you hit a set.
This is not to say that your general game plan doesn’t include suited connectors, but you must always keep these few points in mind.
Playing With Suited Connectors
Don’t 3-Bet Against a Calling Station
Against a poker player who doesn’t want to fold, you can probably guess why 3-bet bluffing with a suited connector is less successful. You lose a significant incentive to 3-bet the hand when there is a minimal probability that your opponent will fold.
In contrast to calling stations, 3-betting suited connectors are dangerous because of another, far less obvious reason.
These players will raise 3-bets with significantly more hands than you, hands that other players would fold. We’re talking about dominant hands in your 65s and 87s, like A6s, J8s, and K7s. This results in a nasty cooler once you hit trips and flush.
With 30BB or Less, Don’t Play in the Early or Mid-Position
With a stack of 30 big blinds (BB) or less and in an early or middle position, you should never play suited connectors (98s or lower). Because suited connectors’ worth depends on their ability to win a sizable pot and equity, it decreases as relative stack sizes increase. As you can probably assume, both possibilities are more challenging to achieve when you don’t have enough chips to win a big pot and risk going all in by your opponents before seeing all cards.
Remember that when your suited connector hits, it will probably miss five or more times, costing you a modest to a medium-sized pot. Your opponents can still force you out of the pot even if you flop a straight draw or flush draw by putting you all in and not providing you the correct price to draw. This problem is less common with deeper stacks because you have more chips to play with and more opportunities to see the turn and river.
Never Play Suited One Gapper From the Early or Middle Position
You can save a lot of money by following this rule. When you’ll need to play out of position on the flop, avoid limping or raising suited one gappers from early or mid position expecting to catch a big hand.
You’ll typically have to fold before the flop and have a lower chance of generating equity. The less you should play the suited connectors and the better position you’ll require, the wider the gap between them.
After the cutoff, you can still play these hands if you have a larger stack, but remember that your poker card value will decline if your opponents have small stacks.
There are three things to consider when deciding which hands are the best for 4-bet bluffs:
The blocking abilities of your hand are by far the most significant of these three. This is because the ranges involved in 4-bet situations are so small, and it makes a big difference if you can rule out a few powerful hands from your opponent’s range.
In fact, suited connectors have undesirable blocking effects. They don’t block any strong hands that will continue, only hands from your opponents’ 3-bet/folding range like A5s or A6s.
Although 4-bet pots have a low stock-to-pot ratio, suited connectors have fair implied odds and high playability.
In Short-Handed Games, Play Aggressively
You can play suited connectors aggressively in a short-handed game. This means that you need to raise whenever you can. If you use a continuation bet, you can maximize your hand’s potential after the flop. By showdown, suited connectors can occasionally create winning Texas poker hands.
However, play aggressive raise based on your opponent’s actions. For instance, it is wise to reassess the strength of your hand if an opponent is re-raising you. It is better to fold the hand without adding much to the pot if you are unsure it can result in a significant win.
Consider Position and Stack Size
The optimum time to play suited connectors in poker, like any other poker hand, is when you have the upper hand over your opponent or are acting last during each post-flop round. If you were dealt a late position, you might open with a raise holding 9s or 8s and win the blinds and antes. Additionally, you can create an instance where you could play from a position against a caller in the blinds.
When playing suited connectors, you should also be aware of stack sizes. If you or your opponent is short-stacked and you can only win a limited amount should you develop a strong hand, calling a raise isn’t worth it. If you’re short, you probably shouldn’t be calling large raises or pushing yourself with medium-suited connectors like 8c7c or 9h8h, especially in tournament play.
Suited connectors are strong Holdem hands that may help you win a lot of money, but you must be sure that you are entering the pot with them as you possess the stack size and position needed to use them defensively.
Playing strategically and taking advantage of your position and leverage during a poker game can help you make the right decision at the table. This approach can also prevent you from facing difficult post-flop situations where your opponents can pressure you to abandon your hand.