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Poker Coaching with Jonathan Little: Playing Suited Connectors

  • Jonathan LittleJonathan Little
Poker Coaching with Jonathan Little: Playing Suited Connectors
  • Visit Poker Coaching and play a hand with @JonathanLittle while taking an interactive poker quiz.

In the $1,500 buy-in World Series of Poker Monster Stack event that is filled with amateur players, the blinds were 100/200 with a 25 ante. A 35-year-old guy in the hijack seat raised to 525 out of his 15,000 effective stack, and only I called from the big blind with {4-Clubs}{3-Clubs}.

While calling in this spot may seem a bit optimistic, given my excellent pot odds (about 3-to-1) I think seeing a flop is perfectly fine. If I got the vibe that my opponent was particularly weak, I think three-betting to 1,700 could also be a fine play. If I thought my opponent played at a world-class level, I would consider folding — but even then, calling is acceptable. When you are getting excellent pot odds, you do not have to win often at all to justify calling.

The flop came {A-Clubs}{J-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}, giving me a pair and a flush draw.

While leading is always an option with hands that have the potential to improve to the virtual nuts on the turn, I do not think leading in this spot has merit because it is too likely that my opponent has an ace, a jack or a decent draw that he will not fold, given that his preflop raising range should contain many high-card hands.

I checked and my opponent bet 700 into the 1,375 pot.

Poker Coaching with Jonathan Little: Playing Suited Connectors 101

I decided to check-raise to 1,700.

This is an interesting spot because if I call and my opponent has a marginal made hand, the turn will often check through and he will call any river bet. That means I will usually only be able to win the pot when I improve, and even then, the pot will not be too large.

If my opponent has a premium hand and he bets the turn, if I then raise the turn as a semi-bluff it will be unlikely to succeed because most people don't fold premium hands. For these reasons, I don't like calling, even though that play is certainly acceptable, again due to the excellent pot odds.

Since I am going to raise, I need to pick the raise size that I think will look the strongest to my opponent. While that decision always depends on your opponent's tendencies, I think a small raise in this spot "screams" strength. If I made a traditionally-sized check-raise to 2,000, I think my opponent will assume I am trying to get some fold equity, which may induce him to call with a wider range of made hands, despite his decreased pot odds.

My opponent surprised me by reraising to 5,000.

Poker Coaching with Jonathan Little: Playing Suited Connectors 102

What would you do in this situation? Would you fold, call, reraise to 8,300 or go all-in?

To find out what I did in this hand and why, click over to Poker Coaching.

To get free access to over 100 interactive poker hand quizzes just like this one for 7 days, with detailed analysis from me after every decision you make, you can visit Poker Coaching to find out more.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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