Publish: 2023-03-07 13:47:51
In the previous article, we discussed factors that help us decide whether to play low, suited connectors and when to avoid them preflop. Now, we'll focus on the postflop plays. Considering our whole range, what's the best way to play them, and what are some differences between certain hands?
Remember that ranges will primarily affect how we should construct our strategy. But, then, there are exploitative reasons to play a certain way. Although, we'll focus on the theoretically optimal approach this time more.
There will be cases when you c-bet your entire range with a small sizing. Obviously, there is little decision to make. However, it would help to consider which suited connectors to include in your betting range when a simplified c-betting strategy doesn't work. In most cases, you'll increase the sizing and need to lower the betting frequency. Naturally, more EQ will mean higher frequency in most cases.
Consider the following spot; BTN opens 2,5bb, and BB calls. The flop comes: Q76
The strongest draws bets most often, such as 98 which virtually always bets. Compare that hand to a 54. A hand that has way fewer outs, moreover, some of the outs with reversed implied odds.
So it's safe to state that more EQ will mean a higher incentive to bet. If you have a combo draw with no showdown value, that will be your first candidate to bet. Then comes hands drawing to the nuts, followed by hand with extra EQ in the form of a backdoor flush draw, for example. Then with the lowest value, hands with very few outs to improve, such as gutshots (and off-suited hands). Hands that also contain a pair+draw are good candidates to be in our checking range, at least some percentage of the time.
*If your opponent doesn't react aggressively enough to your c-bets (as in most cases in lower stakes nowadays), you might get away with c-betting this hand category with higher frequency.
BTN strategy on the flop
To keep things simple, you can follow the same principle as the BB in the same situation. If you have SD value, you can add those hands to the calling part of your range more often. In the case of suited connectors, this will mean mostly one-pair typed hands. In this instance 87 would be a good candidate. Also, if you have less EQ compared to other similar hands, choose the latter. For example, a T9 will work much better than any other T9o hand, with no backdoor possibilities.
BB defending strategy on the flop
*The same exploitative reasoning can be applied. If your opponent over-c-bets the spot and (or) folds a lot to a check-raise, you can increase your raising frequency to the extremities of raising most of these draws.
On the turn, we'll follow the same principle (more equity, higher frequency bets). However, we'll include another notion into our consideration. How much our hand blocks our opponents' folding/calling range? The most auto folds you block in your Villain's range, the worst candidate your hand is to continue bluffing since he'll have more hands to continue proportionally in his range.
Also, remember that there is such a great variety of turn cards that it's almost impossible to list all the cases. So instead, we'll focus on some basic considerations.
On clean turn cards, we usually want to size up and bet big with a polarized range. In this case, suited connectors with the best drawing equity will bet the most often. So, for example, let's say that strong combo draws, pair+draws always bet, flush draws, and open-ended straight draws bet only half of the time and gutshots only 1/3 of the time (preferably with blockers to draw completing rivers, in this case, off-suit connectors such as T 9 .
On a draw completing turn runout, you usually want to size down. Especially on a flush card because now equities are less likely to change again. Again the less EQ you have, the less you want to bet. So a gutshot is now worth basically nothing with terrible blocker characteristics. The opposite is true if you've completed your draw. In most cases, you want to continue to build the pot, especially in position. You might consider a low flush or a low straight to check back sometimes to cover that part of the game tree (only against good and active opponents).
On draw completing turn cards, you can start to fold out those suited connectors which cannot "redraw" your opponent's strongest holdings. So on a turn 8 , you can comfortably fold 65s for instance but still call 76s or 98s. The same true on a 2 ; you can fold all your one-pair hands, open enders, and gutshots. And only call with flushes, two pairs, and pair+flush draws.
We'll consider how blockers add to the equation on the river since this street is which blockers matter the most.
Let's see the simplest scenario; the turn is a brick where we overbet, and the river also brings a clean card.
In this case, in our example, suited connectors will fall into one of these three categories: two-pairs+, mid-pair with a missed draw and missed draw. Again, the first category is an obvious value bet, while the latter two are not the most outstanding candidates. For example, you might have a limited SD value with a pair, especially in position. With a missed draw, you block your opponent's similar hands, hence their most obvious auto folds. So the conclusion is pretty straightforward; you'll mostly give up your suited connectors if you block Villain's folds. Still, in some cases, you must consider bluffing these hands, mainly for lack of bluffs and due to the zero showdown EQ they provide.
What if the river card completes draws? Well, if you got there, it's a clear value bet again. However, if you missed it, the same problem occurs. You want to avoid blocking the same type of hands that your opponent folds. Moreover, you'll need an excellent blocker to the nuts. In the case of flush completing, that won't be easy with a suited connector, but in straight completing runouts, you might consider bluffing a good candidate.
As the defender, the formula is simple. If you get there, you'll call as you are at the top of your range. If not, well you have a low, high-card, pretty worthless. The donk betting strategy would be worth a whole new topic. Due to its complexity, I'd only advise implementing such a strategy for exploitative reasons.
As you can see, suited connectors have great potential in some cases. We discussed three main reasons to choose an aggressive play with them postflop. Namely, a lot of equity, blocking characteristics and exploitative reasons. We examined a BTN vs BB situation in single-raised pots. Because of the variety of situations, flops, turns and river cards, we tried to focus on basic principles. In each situation, you must reconsider how ranges interact and evaluate your suited connector accordingly.
Hopefully, this article gives you a good hint on how to play your suited connectors next time.
Good luck at the tables!