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Playing Suited Connectors - Poker Strategy

Strategy for Playing Suited Connectors 6 Max

Short-handed poker has been on the rise in the last few years with many rooms offering 6-handed max tables, 4-handed max, and heads-up. The reason for this is simply that players enjoy the frequent action, the fact that more money can be made in a shorter amount of time, and that the value of cards go up as the amount of players go down since there are less cards in play.

However enjoyable short-handed tables may be they present many problems for players. Often times, players will have a hard time adjusting playing at a short table by not widening their hand range enough which stems from being used to playing much tighter at 9 handed tables. These players generally lose money from waiting for premium hands while their stack is being chewed up by the blinds.

Other players will over compensate playing any two face cards, any ace-x combination, suited connectors; any hand regardless of their opponents or flop texture. These players may make money briefly, but long term they are headed down hill, as more money is lost when they lose a hand and are not compensated for the times that they win. A common hand that gives players issues regardless of how many players are at the table is suited connectors, or in other words, two cards in sequence of the same suit. These types of hands are always attractive to play because of the straight, flush, and straight flush possibilities. However, many times player will not know how to properly treat suited connectors to be sure they are getting the most value with the least risk.

How to Play Suited Connectors

Regardless of how big the table is, there are several factors that a player must take into consideration before deciding to play suited connectors.

Position - Position is going to play the biggest factor when playing suited connectors. By playing suited connectors in early position, players will run the risk of being raised by a player in late position. This of course puts the original raiser in a bind, as many suited connectors are not even a coin flip against many pocket pairs. For example, 8h-7h is about a coin flip against 6-6 and a favorite against 2-2 to 5-5, but that is only about half or less of the range. Anything 8-8 or higher and the player with 8-7 is dominated.

Suited connectors are going to be best played in late position where a player can make a raise with an "ok" hand in attempts to steal the blinds. However, if a player is in late position and there was a raise in front of them, then the GAP concept should be in effect which leaves most suited connectors insufficient and not able to make the call.

# of Players in the Hand - While also in late position, suited connectors can also be played if a few people have entered the pot in front of you making the odds ok to call and limp in. Most times often than not, calling or limping in is not a good play, but with suited connectors a player can limp in after a few others to disguise their hand and make a lot of money should they hit a two pair, flush or straight. Suited connectors play much better with several people in the pot because if a player squarely hits the flop they are sure to make money from one of their opponents.

Flop Texture - One of the hardest things for players to do is let go of a hand when they catch a piece of it on the flop. This is why suited connectors are so dangerous. If a player is holding on to 10-9 and the flop brings A-K-10, there is a very good chance that a pair of 10's is no good here. Now of course that will not always be the case but often will be. Suited connectors are the types of hands to try to play as cheaply as possible so that a player can let them go without a second thought should they miss the flop or are obviously beaten. That way a player does not feel committed to his or her hand and makes the mistake of going further into the hand.

Playing Suited Connectors - Situational at Best

To be quite honest, the difference between playing suited connectors on say a 9 handed table is very slim in comparison to a 6 handed table. For example, if a player were to be against 8 unknowns going to the flop 8-7 suited is only about 13% to win. At a 6 handed with 5 unknowns going to the flop only increases about 5% to becoming 18% to win. So, overall it is very important to keep in mind that playing suited connectors is completely situational but should be done if a player can do so cheaply, in position, and with plenty of players already in the pot. That way the decisions are easy to make, the most money can be made, and above all, players can make the least mistakes possible with what could be considered the most attractive hand to play in poker.