Sometimes in poker, it can be easy to miss some of the factors you should be considering when playing suited connectors. I'm talking about things like stack sizes, your opponents playing style, etc. Failing to consider these factors can lead to a costly mistake.
Today, we'll look at five hints that will help you improve you winnings, and reduce your loss when playing them.
Before we get started, let's make sure we're all on the same page. A suited connector is a hand with two consecutive cards, both of the same suit:
[7c][8c] , [3h][4h] , [9s][Ts], [5d][6d]
Also, suited hands with a one denomination gap are called suited gappers, or one hole suited connectors. Hands like this:
[5d][7d] , [8s][Ts]
Tip 1: Three Betting & Stack Sizes
When you're facing an open raise with a suited connetor hand, you really want to limit your three betting frequency when the original raiser isn't deep stacked. A good rule of thumb is look for your opponent to have at least 60+ big blinds in their stack. Any less than that, you should really only be calling.
But, when your opponent has a deep stack of more than 60 big blinds, you should add these types of hand to your three betting range for a few reasons.
1. Your fold equity goes way up, and lots of better hands will be folding preflop.
2. Your hand plays well on the flop, and will find lots of profitable bluffing situations on later streets.
3. You will win some massive pots when you make two pair or better so you have decent implied odds.
I can't stress this enough. Don't make this same play against shorter stacks. Just don't do it. The stack to pot ratio of their chips goes you far less room to make these plays after the flop, and you've lost your implied odds.
Tip 2: Three Betting vs Calling Stations
Three betting these hands against people who call a lot is a recipe for disaster. Remember the three reasons why three betting these hands is effective? Well, you can kiss the first one goodbye against a calling station.
Additionally, these types of loose players will be calling your three bets with hands that not only beat you, but often will be dominating you. Calling station type players are more likely to be calling your three bet with hands like [Ax][6x], [Jx][9x]etc. By avoiding these situations you're also not going to run into the sick coolers where you both flop trips but you've got kicker issues.
Tip 3: Four Betting
If you're at the point where you're four betting a suited connector, you're really just turning your hand into a bluff. I'm not saying it's a terrible play, but there are things to consider before pulling the trigger:
1. Do you have blockers?
2. Post flop playability
3. Implied odds
Probably the biggest of these factors is going to be if you have any blockers. Most opponents will have a very tight four bet callling range. Most of the time, you're going to have the opposite blocking effect. Your hand now blocks most of the hands your opponent would be folding, and rarely will you be blocking any of their stronger hands where they can continue.
Yes, suited connectors still have good post flop playability and decent implied odds, but those aren't enough to make four betting a profitable play in the long run.
Tip 4: Overcalling
I know that suited connectors are really tempting hands to play. However, unless you're in the big blind, it's going to be a losing play and should be avoided. Let's look at why:
We're playing 8 handed, where everyone has about 100 big blinds. Middle position opens for 2.5 ($5), one more caller, and we're in the cutoff with [5c][6c]
Seems like an easy call, right? After all, we're in position and have a very playable hand.
First, we have to consider how often we will run into a squeeze play (usually about 10-12% of the time) and when we have to fold to the squeeze we lose all of our equity. Also, when we look at our opponents ranges, we're not going to generally have the proper equity left to continue with the hand unless we're in the blig blind.
That said, making an over call can be reasonable if the players in the hand are weaker and less likley to squeeze.
Tip 5: Getting 3 Bet By Short Stacks
While you can profitable call three bets with suited connectors against deep stacks, the exact opposite is true when facing an opponed with less than 50 big blinds. Here come the implied odds again....
Let's say opponent is 100 big blinds deep. If you're calling his three bet, you're probably calling 6ish big blinds. You can still win about 15 times what you're investing in the call.
When your opponent is 50 big blinds deep, you're going to be calling the same size three bet, but now you can only win 7.5x your investment.
And finally, you have very little fold equity against a short stacked three bet, so you don't really have the option to turn your hand into a four bet bluff.
Suited connectors are fun to play, and can be played profitably. Just avoid the 5 mistakes I've outlined above, and you will see your return on them go way up.
Remember, just because a hand looks great, doesn't mean it plays great.