Suited Connectors

Suited Connectors 0001

You often hear people say that suited connectors are their favorite hands, but why? What is so profitable about these hands, or more importantly, how do you play these hands in a profitable way?

One reason why suited connectors can be an important weapon in your poker arsenal is because most poker players nowadays know the top 10 starting hands preflop off by heart. As a result, players have to start mixing up their game a little to avoid becoming too predictable.

The definition of a suited connector is that it consists of 2 cards of the same suit that are in sequence, for example {5-Hearts}{6-Hearts} or {{10-Spades}{j-Spades}. It seems a good idea to arrange these suited connectors into 3 different groups:

The low suited connectors: 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, 5-6,6-7

Medium suited connectors: 7-8, 8-9, 9-10

High suited connectors: 10-J, J-Q, Q-K, K-A

Lets start with the low suited connectors. I think I can give you some easy advice on these ones; just don't play them! The reason you want to start playing suited connectors is to bring some variation to your hand selection, but if you start playing low, medium and high suited connectors, you are adding a little too much variation to your starting hands, which will result in a very loose playing style. Once you add a couple of medium and high suited connectors to your starting hand selection, you will have enough variation in your game in order to profit from it, so you might as well want to forget about the low hands.

Of course you're going to playing low suited connectors in situations where you are in the big blind and no player raised or when you're in the small blind and get 4 or 5 callers you can easily limp in. But always be aware when you actually hit a nice hand, like for example a flush, because you could already be drawing dead to a higher flush, and lets not forget about all the A-High/K-High flush draws out there to which your hand is also very vulnerable.

The medium suited connectors are hands that you will want to include in your starting hand selection. These hands are best played while having a tight table image, as the players paying attention at the table will quickly put you on high cards. As a result you can mislead your opponents by playing medium suited connectors.

But also while playing the medium suited connectors there are a couple of things to watch out for. First of all: don't raise(!) if you're not willing to make a big bet and continue betting on the flop. If you raise with these hands you want it to look like your playing high cards. If you're not willing to make a strong raise with these hands you should probably not play them at all.

So always be aware of your table image before playing these hands. A raise with a medium suited connector is supposed to mix up your tight-aggressive playing strategy. If you don't have a tight-aggressive image at your table, then your raise will only have little influence on the game as it will be seen as a raise by a player who raises just as much as any other player at the table. Therefore, if you can't create the impression that you're playing a monster hand, you might just want to call the hand preflop, or maybe even better, just fold it.

The high suited connector cards are often overrated. Some players often assume that a hand like {k-Hearts}{q-Hearts} will automatically hit top pair with an upper-down and a flush draw. You should never forget that suited cards only add 2,5% to your chances of winning the hand.

The strength of suited connectors lies in the fact that they are very flexible hands to play. You wont often flop the absolute nuts, but every now and then you will hit an acceptable hand or flop a nice draw, sometimes even a little of both. They are semi-strong hands, which means you always have to be careful when evaluating the strength of your hand compared to your opponents hand. I'm sure every player has been in a situation where they hit a pair of jacks while holding Q-J, and then got outkickered by A-J.

In late position you will be able to play your high suited connectors more often than your low ones, as you have the advantage of position and have more information than your opponents. Your opponent raised, and thereby gave you information about the kind of hand he is holding. However, your call gives your opponent very little information about the possible cards in your hand. If you know, for example, that your opponent likes to raise medium pocket pairs in middle position, you can call him and raise his C-Bet on the flop if you hit.

You can play good hands in a bad position and you can play bad hands in a good position, but what you can't do is play bad or semi-strong hands in bad position and expect to make profit in the long run.

Another thing you should bear in mind when playing high suited connectors is that if you hit a flush draw with a hand like {k-Hearts}{q-Hearts} with an ace on the board, you often can't count your kings and queens towards your possible outs anymore. So when trying to calculate if you have the correct pot odds to call a bet, instead of having 15 outs on the flop (3 K's, 3 Q's and 9 flush cards) you will only have the 9 flush cards. Often in these situations your opponents will raise so much that it is no longer profitable to stay in the hand, so just much it. However, if you catch your opponent making a mistake and betting too little, thereby giving you the correct odds to call his bet, then you should definitely go along.

Many Hold'em players are often looking for an excuse to play a hand, and if they then happen to find some cards that are suited and connected, this is reason enough to get involved in the pot. So watch out not to get caught up in a spiral where you start playing more and more hands. Suited connectors do have the potential to win big pots, but at the end of the day they are still just two unpaired cards that, more often than not, tend to be low or middle cards.

What do you think?

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