Everybody loves a suited connector like 8-7 or J-T but can you play them profitably? Find out with PokerPlayer’s tricky quiz…
Q1. Quick on the draw
Players 9 Blinds $0.25/$0.50 Your stack $50 Your hand 8♣-7♣
You call a raise from the big blind against a loose opener on the button. The flop is 4♣-5♣-K♥. You check and your opponent bets $2.50 into the $4 pot. What should you do?
c) Check-raise to $8
d) Check-raise all-in
Q2. Push the button?
Players 8 Blinds 200/400 Your stack 14,000 Your hand T♦-9♦
You are playing in a $22 online tournament and raise to 1,000 from mid-position. A tight player three-bets on the button to 3,000. What should you do?
c) Four-bet to 6,000
d) Four-bet all-in
Q3. Straight story
Players 6 Blinds $0.25/$0.50 Your stack $70 Your hand 7♥-6♥
You raise to $1.50 preflop in a six-max online cash game and get three-bet to $5. Both of you are deep so you call. The flop is 4♥-5♠-A♦. Your opponent c-bets $7. What should you do?
c) Raise to $21
d) Raise all-in
Q4. Thinking straight
Players 6 Blinds $0.25/$50 Your stack $70 Your hand 7♥-6♥
It’s the same hand as before. You elected to just call and hit a straight on the 3♣ turn. Your opponent now bets $15. What should you do?
b) Raise to $30
c) Raise to $40
d) Move all-in
Q5. Miss misery
Players 9 Blinds £1/£2 Your stack £300 Your hand 9♠-8♠
You raise to £6 preflop and get two callers. You flop a flush draw on a 2♠-7♠-K♥ flop, c-bet and are called. You bet again on the T♣ turn and miss all your draws on the 2♣ river. Your opponent checks. What should you do?
a) Check back
b) Bet half pot
c) Bet full pot
d) Overbet shove all-in
1 c) Check-raise to $8. The power of suited connectors is they can flop very powerful draws to crack big hands. When you hit one of these draws it is important to play them aggressively to give yourself another chance of winning the pot if you miss. In this case, you have a flush draw and gutshot so you are in decent shape even if your opponent has a strong hand such as A-K.
2 a) Fold. It has become a poker myth that suited connectors always crack big pairs. In reality, a hand like T-9 suited has only 23% equity against A-A. When a tight player three-bets you can accurately assume he will have a strong hand, usually a big pair. In this situation, you don’t have enough chips relative to the blinds to call.
3 b) Call. Sometimes it’s correct to take a passive line and this is one of those spots. You have a good straight draw but there is little point raising because of the Ace. If your opponent does not have an Ace he is likely to check-fold the turn to a bet so by calling we are giving ourselves an easy and cheap opportunity to bluff the turn.
4 c) Raise to $40. You’ve turned the nuts so your only consideration is how to get all the money in. As your opponent has bet twice in a three-bet pot it is likely he has a strong hand and isn’t prepared to fold so you should raise and try to get all-in right now. Calling is a decent option but the downside is if a card like a Six or Seven comes on the river it might scare off your action as a straight would now be much more likely.
5 a) Check back. It’s important to know when to give up your bluffs. This river card doesn’t change the board at all and any bet is likely to be called. This is especially true in live poker where players don’t travel all the way to the casino to fold a lot!
0-2 Suited but booted
Best throw away those connectors
3 Suit and tie
You’re making slow progress but you’ve got a long way to go
4-5 Suit you sir!
Excellent – you’re playing suited connectors like a pro – are you durrrr?