WPT Global: Four Top Tips For Getting Value Out Of Suited Connectors
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Suited connectors can feel like an easy hand to play, but they can get new players in trouble.
Because suited connectors promise you a chance of hitting big hands (or draws to big hands) like straights and flushes, these hands can be a source of big wins. But they can also lead players astray, causing you to chase the wrong end of a draw or to overplay a weak pair.
We want to help you avoid these pitfalls, so the team at WPT Global has put together their top four tips for playing suited connectors. Read on to find out more.
1. Suited Connectors Are Drawing Hands
The strength of suited connectors is in their name. They are suited, giving you a chance to catch a flush, and they are connected, giving you a chance to chase a straight.
As a result, you will often be chasing draws with these hands. That's not to say you can't flop decent-made hands like two-pair (or with stronger-suited connectors, top-pair with a good kicker). However, a lot of the time your goal is to hit a good draw on the flop and get paid off when you hit on the turn or river.
This means you need to know the odds for the main draws inside out. Learn these for both the flop and the turn.
Your preflop strategy should also take into account the long odds you're chasing. So, with these hands, you want to play multiway pots with deep stacks while in position. At tighter tables or tables with shorter effective stacks, suited connectors become much harder to play.
Suited connectors is a term referring to any pair of hole cards that have the same suit and a difference in rank of exactly one. For example: 9♥10♥,Q♣K♣, A♦2♦, K♠A♠.
2. Avoid This Basic Error
A common error to fall into with suited connectors is entering a pot while thinking about straights and flushes, then getting caught up in pots with small pairs instead.
For example, if your 9♣10♣ hits a flop like 3♦10♦K♠ don't let that middle pair lure you in. The hand might have some value against the kind of player who would overplay Ax3x or 10x8x. But against most players, you've hit a bluff catcher. That's it.
Your aim in playing suited connectors was not to hit a weak pair. So, don't let small connections to the flop persuade you to over-commit.
3. When To Semi-Bluff
You have to bluff sometimes. If you never bluff, players will be able to read your hands far too easily.
Suited connectors will often provide opportunities to weave bluffs into your repertoire while still having some hedging in place, thanks to a strong draw that can allow you to win even if the bluff is called.
This is what is known as a semi-bluff.
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For example, the straightforward play with a draw like 4♣5♣ on a board of 3♠6♣A♦ would be to check and call your opponent's bet if the pot- or implied odds are high enough to do so.
The tricksy play is to semi-bluff, betting out, and that you have a hand like AxXx, 6x6x, or 3x3x.
Maybe you can get pocket pairs, weak aces, and strong sixes to fold. If these hands don't fold, they are precisely the hands that you will beat should the turn come 2x or 7x, giving you a straight.
This is how the semi-bluff works. Plus, in the process, you've disguised your draw by playing it the same way as a pure bluff and AxXx type hands (and by extension, your opponent now has to consider that you might have a draw when really you are pure bluffing or value betting).
4. Position, Position, Position
We've saved the most important tip for last. Because suited connectors can't rely on their brute value to win hands early on, it is much more important to play such hands with the advantage of position.
If you're in a late position, then you can see how many players have entered the pot before the flop and how aggressive the action is.
After the flop, late position gives you additional information on who is betting and who is checking, allowing you to pick the right spots to draw to a stronger hand, get away from weaker hands, and semi-bluff.
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