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Poker Strategy: How to find the best spots to play suited connectors? (part I)

Author: Pokeradmin

Publish: 2023-02-24 15:22:16

How to find the best spots to play suited connectors? (part I)

Most poker players have a certain positive feeling towards suited connectors. These hole cards are suited in colour and are consecutive. For example 54s, 89s, etc. They can make strong hands and play for big pots. Also, they look kind of cool. So there is an overestimated expectation towards them, while in reality, you have to be very selective about how to play them.

The issue is that they seem easy to play and can make great hands that might play for stacks. However, in reality, sometimes they are tricky, or even a mistake to play them. In this article, we’ll focus mainly on low, suited connectors.

When (not) to play them

You need to understand what makes them profitable, and then you can decide whether to play them or not. Unfortunately, most of the time, you don’t connect with the board. Also, these cards are not high enough to win at showdown (even when it’s checked through). These two means there are more instances when you need to fold or bluff them. Then, of course, when you make a pair, it’s a bit easier to evaluate your hand. However, all in all, they are tough spots and difficult decisions to make. Or a lot of auto folds. That is not what I’d call a tempting hand category to choose.

So let’s see the other part of the equation. We must make up for all the hardship when we hit our hands. This leads to an obvious conclusion; you have to win the most possible with your flush or straight against the top part of your opponent’s range (which will include overflushes, redraws with sets to full houses, etc.). Since you’ll have more draws on the flop than made hands, you’ll need a high stack-to-pot ratio to make it profitable to draw.

It means suited connectors work better as the stacks get deeper. 40bb deep, there is not much merit in playing them, while 200bb deep, they outperform stronger preflop hands such as off-suit broadways thanks to the nut-making ability.

Now that we established this stack depth „rule”, let’s focus on the standard cash game scenarios with 100bb. There will be occasions when it’s plus EV to play suited connectors, and there will be others when it’s not. But, again, this has much to do with range interaction and equity realization.

When you open the action (even if you’ll play the hand in position postflop), your suited connectors perform much worse against a calling range (which might include SC-s). Therefore, it’s highly recommended to open them just in a minimal amount for board coverage. Unless you are on the button or with at least one player in the blinds is bleeding money.

If you are on the defender side, the situation is very similar. Even though you could play in position, fold equity and the right blocker to make better hands or hands with reasonable equity to fold is more important than board coverage. Remember, in position it’s not recommended to have any flatting range. (The only exception is the button position and some very profitable cases involving a recreational player). The same is also true for the SB position. As a caller on the BB, you’ll be able to call profitable any SC, as you’ll have the correct pot odds and equity realization necessary. Moreover, sometimes you’ll need to defend them by 3-betting at a low frequency.

Always keep in mind how the ranges interact with the board. That’s one of the reasons why some suited connectors are played when others are left out. For example, as the caller, 54s is more likely to make nutted hands that your opponent cannot have. In contrast, 98s might be outperformed by AK-s on a board like QJT when you don’t have any of the nuts, and your opponent does.


So, in this first part, we listed the main reasons for playing suited connectors preflop. They seem easy to play, but there are pitfalls to them. We need to turn the odds in our favour. Hence, we try to avoid situations when SC-s don’t perform well. It would be best if you folded almost always when stacks are shallow or in case they don’t realize their equity well. Exceptions can be made, mainly if recreationals are involved in the hand, or we are on the BB, getting better pot odds to continue. Range interaction is key, as always. Next time you’re dealt a suited connector, think ahead and decide wisely about playing your hand or folding on time.

We’ll continue with the postflop decisions in the following article.

Until that, good luck at the tables!

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