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What Are “Suited Connectors” In Poker? | How to Play Poker

What are “Suited Connectors” In Poker? Suited Connectors are a type of starting poker hand that you can receive in Texas hold’em poker. The “Suited Connector” refers to the two down pocket cards that you first receive. Suited Connectors have the same suit and are consecutive in nature, something like 7♦6♦, Q♥J♥, or 5♠4♠. It’s basically when the two cards are the same suit and only one number away from each other. Essentially Suited Connectors are drawing type of poker hands, so in essence they need to improve in order to win the pot. These type of poker hands are typically better than average because they have the higher potential to turn into pot winning straights and flushes when combined with the board.

Success at the poker tables requires playing a select range of poker hands, including Suited Connectors. When you first start playing poker, you probably feel like you’re willing to throw away a little bit of money just to stay in the game. It makes sense, after all – you sat down to play, not to watch everyone else have all the fun. As you get more skilled, though, you’ll start noticing something peculiar – most of the really good players fold more often than they actually play.

When you’re playing in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, it’s usually a very good idea to start paying attention to what you are dealt and whether those cards are actually worth your time. There are some really good hands that you can start with, and that are usually safe – the so-called preferred pairs are always good, and most other pocket pairs are generally worth your time. You might even find yourself going big with a King and a Queen, and that’s fine.

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It’s not, however, what you’re going to end up doing when you get more confident. As a note, it’s a very good idea to fold until you have a solid starting hand. It’s even better when you don’t really understand what you’re doing in Texas Hold’em Poker, as it gives you a better edge when you start to get deeper into the game. It avoids the possibility of getting nickel and dimed away and it helps you to better understand the difference between what can be played and what should be played. 

At some point, though, you’re going to swing back around the other way. Waiting around for those preferred starters is smart, but they really don’t come around that often. If you are playing in a Texas Hold’em poker tournament, then, you’re eventually going to see your stack diminished just by simple attrition if nothing else. Those antes and those blinds get more expensive as time goes on, and you’ll eventually lose just by inaction.

Waiting around for great starters also makes you a target. The rest of the table will quickly figure out that you only play when you have something really good, so they’ll limit your ability to win chips accordingly. Great poker players will happily fold to you every time you go in, knowing that you’re eventually going to get forced into a place that you don’t want to play in and then they’ll swoop in and clean you out. 

If you’re looking for a way to get into the action a little more reliably, it’s time to start looking at a new type of poker starting hand. A good place to begin is with a pair of two cards that are in consecutive order – the suited connectors. An Ace of Spades and a King of Spaces are a suited connector that you’d probably naturally play, but even playing a Nine and Ten of Hearts can open up some very interesting possibilities once you understand how to use the cards. 

Playing Suited Connectors: Remember to Stay Cautious

Suited connectors make for a starting poker hand, but that doesn’t mean that you can use them in every situation. Like the vast majority of hands, what you can and cannot do is eventually going to come down to how many chips you have in front of you and what position you’re in when you bet. As with every other situation, you’re also going to need to know the same information for your opponents before you play.

So, when do you use the suited connectors? If we’re going to look for an ideal time, it’s when you’re last in the betting order. This not only allows you to figure out how everybody else is betting before you make a move, but it actually gives you a chance to gain control away from players who might have better cards than you. 

Going in with your connectors is also beneficial because it can help you to hide the fact that you’re not holding anything that’s all that powerful. If you raise in that last position, many players are going to make the assumption that you’ve got something worth betting on and will respond to you accordingly. 

This is a nice move, because it accomplishes two things at once. It throws players off who are trying to read you, and it allows you to get tricky when the betting starts after the flop. Your opponents think you’re building on a pair, but you’re really building on a straight. You can fool them into thinking that you’ve missed your hand instead of sitting exactly where you’d like to be. 

Another very nice thing about this type of hand is that it does allow you a little more leeway than starting with something big. You’ve got a much better shot of getting to play around with others instead of following a stricter strategy, and you’re in a perfect place to make a big play. You’ve just got to learn how to use the cards if you want to maximize your advantage.

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Another thing you’re going to want to remember on the position front is that you’re playing with cards that don’t have a lot of inherent value. You’ve got suited connectors so you are working on either building a straight draw or you’re working building a flush, but you’re not actually holding anything in your hand from the word go. Being in a back position gives you much more freedom to decide what to do in order to maximize your gains and minimize your losses. 

The other big thing at which you’re going to look at is how many chips that both you and the other players have. Stack size matters a lot here, as it’s going to determine the types of risks that you’re willing to take. You don’t want to make big raises when there’s not a lot of money to be made, and you certainly don’t want to push yourself into a showdown that you can’t win if your opponent doesn’t need to be as worried about the transaction. 

If there’s a thing that you’re going to need to remember with this type of hand, it’s an opportunity cost. You want to get the best opportunities for the smallest costs, so only go big when your potential for winning actually outstrips your potential for getting pushed out of poker tournaments on a bad call. 

Suited Connectors: How to Play: When to Bluff, When to Fold

Let’s assume that you have a suited connector in your hand and you’ve made it through the initial round of betting. We need to take a second to think about the kind of logic that you would have had to use to get here – you must have been able to get in fairly cheaply, and you must be in a spot that makes you feel safe. This is good, but now you’re going to have to learn how to deal with the flop.

The nightmare of every player with suited connectors is totally missing the flop. This means that the first cards came out, and there’s nothing – you don’t have a pair, you’re not working on that straight, and there’s not even another suited card out there for a flush. This is a rough place to be in, but it’s really not the end of the world.

The good news is that you probably got here because you were in a good poker position. Now you can look at your opponent and figure out their next move. If they are the one that’s working on a continuation bet, it’s entirely within the realm of reason for you to fold and get back in next time. The same holds true if you were the one betting – it’s okay to let this flop go if it’s going to break you.

Of course, it’s also totally fine to bluff if you think you can get away with it.

For most, it’s going to come down to what that flop looked like. You might be really close to a straight, for example, with connectors out that are just a spot or two away in either direction. There could be something if you stay in to see the next card, so this isn’t really even bluffing – it’s a semi-bluff, at best. It’s not always the smart move, but it’s often a reasonable move. 

You still have more freedom to impact the game here than you might realize. If you are just checking around against an insecure player, you’ve given yourself the ability to see a card for free and hopefully to build something better. If you bet, you might actually convince the table that you’ve got something good and they’ll fold and give you the pot for no reason. Every move that you make has an impact, so judge that against the risk of what you’re doing. 

Let’s also stop to remember that every move you make builds a story for other players. If you manage to get something good even though you had garbage in your hand, other players are absolutely going to take notice of that fact. They’re going to realize that you were betting even though you had nothing, and that you were more than willing to take risks.

This is going to mark you as a risk-friendly player, and more people are going to follow you into hands thinking that you have nothing. If you haven’t already guessed, that assumption is one that’s going to help you to make an awful lot of money in the long term. 

Suited Connectors: The Importance of Starting Hands

It doesn’t really matter where you play or with whom you are playing – if you are willing to start using those suited connectors as a regular part of your repertoire, other players are going to discard their image of you as someone who only plays the preferred pairs. You’ll get to be part of an entirely different type of game, one that’s going to allow you to win big more often and will ultimately become a lot more fun. 

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The truth is that learning how to play with suited connectors means graduating to playing a new type of poker. You’re still going to win playing conservatively against those who barely know poker strategy, but adopting these new strategies is going to let you sit at the big tables. Once you incorporate these starters – and new tactics like check-raising or semi-bluffing – you’re going to realize that there’s a lot more to poker than your early days of play might have suggested. 

There’s a risk here to be sure, and you should never forget that. Sometimes taking a risk is worth it just so you can elevate your game. Every chip you lose is a learning experience, so don’t be afraid to cash in a few to get a better poker education. In time, you’re going to make that money back. See you at the WSOP!

♠ pokerjournal.org

Suited Connectors – FAQs

Q: What are suited connectors in poker?

A: A suited connector is something like 7s6s, Th9h, or 5d4d. It’s when two cards are the same suit and only one number away from each other.

Q: Should you play suited connectors in poker?

A: I would only recommend playing suited connectors if you can see a cheap flop or if you can open raise from late position with them. For the latter, if you don’t get the folds you want, you still have potential.

Q: What are the odds of hitting a flush with 2 suited cards?

A: The likelihood of hitting a flush with two suited cards is 15:1 or 6.4%. Those aren’t good odds, but you also have to factor in the implied odds, which is how much you will win if you will win if you hit that flush.

Q: How much better are suited cards in poker?

A: They are about 2.5%-4% stronger, which doesn’t seem like much, but once again, you have to figure in the implied odds based on your opponents’ playing styles and their stacks.

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