How To Play Suited Connectors
Overplaying suited connectors is one of the biggest mistakes that many players make early on in their poker career. In fact, it’s an issue so common that even professional players sometimes fall victim to the temptation of just “seeing a flop” with them.
It’s likely this issue comes from our tendency to remember the big pots we’ve won with the ever pretty 8♠ 7♠ or 6♥ 5♥ , while forgetting the many pots where we’ve had to give up and fold before even seeing all five cards.
Let’s dive in and look at a couple of rules that will tighten up your game and help you avoid getting into precarious situations with these tempting hands.
Don’t Play Suited Connectors in Early/Middle Position With 30bb or Less
This first rule is something you should immediately apply to your game.
Never play suited connectors (98s or lower) from Middle Position or worse when you have 30 big blinds or less in your stack. As relative stack sizes get lower, the value of suited connectors goes down, because their value relies on being able to win a massive pot and realize all their equity. As you can probably figure out, both results are harder to come by when you don’t have the chips necessary to win a big pot, and when you’re more likely to be put all in by your opponents before seeing all five cards.
Remember, for every time your suited connector hits there will likely be five or more times where it doesn’t, and you lose a small to medium sized pot. Even in situations where you flop a straight draw or flush draw, your opponents can still push you out of the pot by putting you all in and not giving you the right price to draw. This issue is less prevalent with deeper stacks because you have more chips to leverage and will see the turn/river more frequently.
Don’t Play Suited One Gappers From Early/Middle Position Ever
This rule will save you a lot of money. Never limp or raise suited one gappers like 9♠ 7♠ or 8♥ 6♥ from early or middle position hoping to catch a great hand, when you’re going to have to play out of position most often on the flop.
Most of the time you’ll have to fold the flop, and your hand will be less likely to realize equity than a hand like 98s or 87s. The bigger the gap between the suited connectors, the less you should play them and the better position you’ll need.
From the Cutoff onward you can still play these hands if you have a deeper stack, but remember that if your opponents have short stacks your hands value also decreases, since we’re always talking about relative stack size. You can have 1,000 big blinds, but if your opponent only has 20bb the same rules apply when it comes to these hands.
Suited connectors can be very powerful hands and can win you a lot of money, but you have to make sure that when you enter the pot with them it’s because you have the stack size necessary to win a big pot, and the position necessary to leverage them offensively.
This will help you avoid difficult situations postflop where your opponents can push you off your draw and allow you to win more chips when you’ve actually got the position and leverage to do so.
Hopefully this article has helped your tournament poker game. If you’re wondering what to study next, check out this article where we talk about 3 fundamental concepts you have to study first when it comes to tournament poker.