Your Sequential Friend: Suited Connectors

If suited aces (an ace and any other card of the same suit) are the main staple of our low limit strategy then suited connectors would have to be the second course.  There are a few reasons for this and some of them are not necessarily obvious, hence this article!

Reason #1: They hit more often

Of all the reasons to play suited connects this has to be the most obvious.  After all you can hit a strong hand more often with a suited connector (especially a middle suited connector like 8h 7h) than any other two card combination.  You have a flush draw, a straight draw, or made hands like full houses, three of a kind or two pair.

Here are some strong examples when you hold:

Seven of Diamonds Six of Diamonds
Hole Cards


Five of Spades Eight of Diamonds King of Clubs

(open ended straight draw, backdoor straight flush draw, and any Kx will pay you off fully if you make your hand)

Six of Hearts Jack of Hearts Seven of Spades

(bottom two pair, a strong but vulnerable hand.  You will get paid by any Jx hand as well as flush draws, it's important to play this hand strongly up front and then back off if you get resistance on the turn or river)

Three of Diamonds King of Clubs Ace of Diamonds

(flush draw only, but any Ax or better hand will pay you off if you make your hand)

Seven of Hearts Seven of Clubs Queen of Hearts

(trip 7's but any Q will pay you off with only two outs to improve)

Reason #2: When you hit a strong hand you'll often get action

As the above examples also show there are many cases where hitting your hand will not appear especially frightening to the board and you will get ample action from overpairs and hands that were stronger than your hand preflop, but that are now weaker. Contrast this to the action you'll get with a hand like AK offsuit when you flop an Ace or King.  Although weaker aces or kings will often call you down your hand is still vulnerable to random two pairs and the like.  If you get a lot of action on the flop or turn your top pair top kicker is often beat. This is where the saying "Win a small pot or lose a big one" comes in relation to top pair top kicker hands.

Reason #3: When they don't hit they are easy to fold

Unlike dangerous hands like KJ and QT that can tempt you to stick around all the way to the river if you hit top pair (which is almost always beat if you get any resistance) it is very easy to let go of a hand like 65 or 87 if you only hit one pair in the face of multiway action.  KJ is known as a trap hand and medium suited connectors are anti-trap hands.

Reason #4: The Freeroll!

The best possible scenario for a suited connector is the case when they hit their straight and have outs to the flush.  Here's an example:

You Hold:   And The Flop Is:
Four of Spades Five of Spades
Hole Cards
Three of Clubs Six of Spades Two of Hearts

(nut straight 23456 with outs to a flush)

If you get a lot of action from this hand on the turn you are of course the favorite.  No matter what anyone else has you make money with every bet that goes into the pot.  If one of the other players also has 45 then you are said to be freerolling on them.  That is to say that the worst scenario is you chop the pot and about 1 in 5 times you'll win the entire pot, so when you find yourself in this situation you MUST put every possible bet into the pot right now especially if you are heads up and there are unlimited raises!  Another 45 will often reraise you until all their chips are gone when you have a 20% chance to scoop the entire pot! 

Clearly it's even better if they don't have the straight as they are drawing to a crippled flush draw or full house (crippled because you have two of the flush cards so they are drawing to only 7 outs, and the best possible scenario for a full house (when they have a set) will only happen less than 25% of the time .