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Suited Connectors In No-Limit Hold’em Revisited

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A few months back I wrote an article about playing suited connectors titled “How Suited Connectors Are Costing You Money.” The basic premise of the article was that a lot of people play suited connectors in the wrong situations and with the wrong expectations. If you’re limping in and calling raises preflop, you’re picking the wrong situations. You should be opening the pot and playing in position. And if you’re playing suited connectors with the sole goal of making a hand and winning a big pot, you have the wrong expectations. For suited connectors to show a profit, you can’t just lie back and wait for a hand. You have to attack and steal pots with them. If you play suited connectors in the wrong situations and with the wrong expectations, you’re costing yourself money.

But suited connectors aren’t all bad. Indeed, they can be quite nice no-limit hands if you play them well. Shortly after the original article was published, one of my readers alerted me to the discussion of a hand posted on the forums at InternetTexasHoldem.com and asked me for my thoughts.

Here’s a summary of the hand in question.

It’s a full ring online $0.50-$1 game played with $100 effective stacks. A player opens from three off the button for $3.50. The next player calls. The cutoff folds, and the action is to me on the button with 8 :club: 6 :club: .

I’ve played with the open raiser before, so I know that his range to open from this seat is approximately any pair fives or better, A-T or better, A-8 suited or better, K-J or better, or Q-J.

I call the $3.50, and the blinds fold. So the pot is about $10.50 on the flop, there’s $96.50 behind, and the flop comes:

A :club: 9 :club: 7 :diamond:

Everyone checks to me on the button, and I bet $8 into the $10.50 pot. The preflop raiser checkraises to $25, and the middle player folds. What now?

Here are my thoughts about the hand.

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6 Responses to “Suited Connectors In No-Limit Hold’em Revisited”

@ Wed Oct 15, 2008 04:03:45 PM


How would you have played this flop if you had 3-bet pre? Would you open-shove it in a percentage of the time? I’m assuming you’d never check. Whats your plan if you bet the flop, get a call, and the turn bricks?

Ed Miller
@ Thu Oct 16, 2008 01:24:51 PM

If I 3-bet (to about $15) and get called, the pot will be about $35 and there will be about $85 left. Shoving is probably the best play in a vacuum with this big draw.

With AK I’d probably like to bet $30 or so to try to extract a call from JJ and similar.

With total air I’d prefer to bet $15 or $20 or so.

If my opponent is clueless, I’d just go ahead and bet my vacuum amounts.

If my opponent is sharper, I have to balance these bet sizes to come up with a uniform size that doesn’t betray my hand. On a flop like this I’d often bet around $20-$25 with most hands. That allows me to bluff out stuff like KJ when I missed, it charges draws at least something (and might encourage them to check-shove against my good hands). And it sets me up to fire another barrel if need be.

If I get called and brick the turn, I shove. They’ll show up with an A a good % of the time and I’ll have to hit a 1/3 shot. But sometimes I’ll fold bigger flush draws and stuff like JJ. Overall I think it’s a good shove.

@ Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:03:30 AM


Thank you. I can tell you can tell what I was thinking. (multi-leveling thinking, obviously :) ). Thinking in terms of how I would play my range has been taking a lot of focus from me lately.

Often times when I 3-bet AK in this spot I will just take a half-pot bet on a flop to 2/3s bet on a flop like this. Do you think that’s a bit too small in a vacuum? My thought is that the hands that I want to get value from (hands like JJ, as you mentioned) are unlikely to call a big bet. In fact, I really only feel like my hand has two streets of value when I flop TPTK with AK in a 3-bet pot.

I was definitely thinking I would play it to shove the turn as well.

While we are on the topic, say you still have the same SC hand, how would you play it if you flopped merely a flush draw? Do you still shove in a vacuum?

alan graves
@ Mon Oct 20, 2008 03:38:17 AM

What sort of situations would you say putting your stack in with top pair in full ring is profitable.

Theres the typical flopping tptk vs a maniac situation of course, but most of the time it seems like youre best case scenario is 60% equity and half the time youre crushed.

Of course flat calling 15% of your stack is always dumb if youre not willing to commit it.

This is why I like pot limit holdem way better, none of this dealing with all in semibluff shove pokerstove equity calculations, you can actually read hands and play multiple streets of poker


[...] Suited Connectors In No-Limit Hold’em Revisited [...]

@ Wed Oct 21, 2009 04:43:16 PM

Thank you, friends, for your sharing your ideas

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