The beauty of poker lies in the fact that no two games are the same. Something’s always changing, whether it’s your opponents, your position at the table, or the hand you get. The best poker players are the ones that are adaptable, capable of switching gears and thinking on the fly in any scenario.
Becoming good enough to change your strategy on the fly takes time. If you aim to improve at poker, we recommend learning how to adapt your strategy depending on your hand. While some are straightforward, like AA with its sheer strength, other poker hands like suited connectors are much more complicated.
In this poker guide, we’ll provide an overview of suited connectors, why they’re tricky hands for many players, and the general strategy you should have with them.
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What are suited connectors?
Suited connectors are the premier drawing hands of Texas Holdem. They are when your two hole cards share the same suit and are consecutive. Examples of suited connectors include AKs, 98s, KQs, and more.
Suited connectors are often the most difficult hands to play since they’re so draw-focused. While some of the best ones, like AK, have some value with ace-high, the rest are exclusively played to make a straight or flush.
Since they don’t have the guaranteed value of pocket pairs, it’s very tricky deciding what to do with suited connectors since there’s always the chance you miss the flop and are stuck with a terrible hand.
Position is key
As with all things in poker, your position at the table matters a lot. Acting last gives you a huge advantage over the other players since you can react to your opponent’s actions. This gives you more freedom, allowing you to bluff better or value bet more effectively.
For example, if you’re acting last and every player checks to you on the flop, it could signal that they don’t have confidence in their hands and want to see the turn without paying. Using this informational advantage, you can take a big bet to try and take down the pot.
Here’s another example detailing the strength of position when trying to play suited connectors. A tight player raises before you, indicating they have a strong hand since it’s unlikely they’re bluffing as a tight player. With suited connectors and one more loose-passive player acting after you, you debate whether to call, re-raise, or fold.
The best move here would be calling. A re-raise is gutsy and could get you in a tough spot since suited connectors don’t have a lot of upfront value. Folding also seems unappealing since you could justify calling if your suited connectors aren’t egregiously weak.
A call means it’s very likely for the loose-passive player behind you to call too, giving you an easy shot at seeing the flop and deciding how to play your suited connectors from there.
Understand pot and implied odds
Pot and implied odds form the core of poker strategy with drawing hands. Pot odds are simple poker math that you can use to calculate if calling a bet is worth it. By considering the pot you stand to win, the odds of hitting your draw, and the size of the bet you must call, you can always make the theoretical “best” decision.
However, pot odds are often incomplete. Implied odds consider another factor pot odds don’t: The capacity of the pot to grow in future rounds. It’s only natural for the pot to get bigger if players are actively betting, and this can mean it’s worth it to call a bet because you stand a chance of winning a huge pot later on.
While pot odds are 100% reliable math, implied odds are more of a “feeling” you get, affected by factors like your opponents’ playstyle, the number of people in the pot, and stack sizes. Over time, you’ll learn how to spot good implied odds, and there are also numerous guides out there that teach you what to look out for.
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Don’t be afraid to get aggressive pre-flop
While suited connectors aren’t the best hands pre-flop, you can still play aggressively with them. This is because the pre-flop is the most crucial round in the game, setting the foundation for all other ones. Aggression helps you take control of the pot, reducing the number of players in the pot so it’s easier to win.
The biggest reason aggression is good with suited connectors is that it can put you in a position to win even without hitting a draw, which is fantastic since the odds of getting a draw aren’t the best. You can get everyone else to fold pre-flop or semi-bluff on later rounds to continue your pre-flop aggression.
Sometimes, it’s best to fold
After everything we’ve talked about, it’s essential to remember not to overvalue suited connectors. You can give up on them, whether on a missed flop or facing a huge pre-flop bet. Don’t fall into the trap of chasing draws with suited connectors, but remember their potential.
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Try playing suited connectors online!
We highly recommend online poker if you want more experience playing suited connectors and other specific kinds of hands. It’s much more streamlined and faster-paced than live, so you’ll play more suited connectors in less time. You can also use poker tracking software and avail of promotional offers and other bonuses.