Suited connectors

Suited connectors

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Dear Dr Tom

I know that it is usually correct to call before the flop with any small pair, if stacks are deep enough, in the hope of flopping a set, but what about other implied odds hands like 5-6 suited? Should I play them like small pairs or take advantage of my deception and 3-bet

Matt, London

Dear Matt,

Three-bet your baby connectors if you like, though you need opponent to fold a fair bit of the time pre-flop. If he calls, you will probably have only a single chance of getting out of it with a continuation bet, since if he thinks he can beat A-K on the flop he may well raise to justify his pre-flop call. So if there's a low chance of a pre-flop fold then you’re looking pretty sketchy when three-betting here.

Should you even call? Pocket pairs are the jewel in your crown of implied odds: connectors look pretty but are worthless. Successful hold’em is ultimately is a fit or fold game, with floats and three-barrelling and other post-flop skirmishing being strictly led by circumstances and not a serious contributor to your pre-flop starting values.

Baby pockets either completely hit or completely miss the flop, making it easy to make the right decision deep-stacked. Suited connectors often get involved in some kind of messy draw and almost never get a clean hit, so you’re playing the remaining streets by the seat of your pants and injecting plenty of variance in your results.

If you’re set on conquering the poker world then add these connectors to your 3-bet range – you’ll need a few fancy tricks up your sleeve when the TV cameras are rolling and you’re looking for that sponsorship deal. If you want a quiet life, just call – as long as a raise behind you seems unlikely. Don't forget you’re allowed to fold these cards too, especially if opponents are starting to suspect, rightly or wrongly, that you’re playing with air.


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy, suited connectors