Suited connectors have the potential to be strong poker hands and can win you pots. However, they require careful play. Unfortunately, there are many things that poker players need to correct when playing suited connectors. Here are five of the most common:
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Playing Them Too Loosely or Aggressively
Whether in live or online poker, many players misjudge their hand’s value and play these hands too loosely, often making calls or raises with hands with very low odds of winning. It’s especially true in the late position where players may be tempted to call bets from the blinds hoping for a big draw or to complete their straight or flush.
The fact is that suited connectors rarely hit a strong hand and often rely on drawing out for an even weaker one. Cautiously playing these hands is the best way to go, and that means only entering the pot when the odds are clearly in your favor.
Conversely, some players will overvalue suited connectors and become too aggressive. It’s often due to the misconception that these hands are powerful and can easily dominate regular pocket pairs or random overcards. However, playing aggressively in this situation can be costly and leave you vulnerable to stronger hands.
Misreading Pot Odds
Many players fail to correctly calculate the pot odds when they hit their connected cards on the flop. They often become caught up in the excitement of hitting a draw, misjudging how much money they must put in the pot for their chance at a big payoff.
When playing suited connectors, always consider your pot odds before committing chips. If the odds don’t justify your call or raise, folding and waiting for another hand is usually best. Remember that you are looking for marginal profits with these hands, so don’t become too caught up in the potential reward.
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Failing to Protect Your Hand
Players often don’t take the necessary steps to protect this hand at the poker table. It can involve betting large amounts on draws that may not be worth the risk or check-raising too often in an attempt to make a bigger pot.
At the same time, you should recognize when your hand may not be strong enough to warrant these plays. That’s when to fold or check for a free card.
3-Betting Against Calling Stations
Many players must avoid 3-betting against calling stations with their suited connectors. It may seem like a great play, but it can be very costly. Calling stations rarely fold pre-flop and will often continue to call your bets even if they are behind on the flop. That means you will be investing more chips in a hand with low odds of winning, which can be disastrous.
It is usually best to avoid 3-betting against calling stations. Instead, rely on your post-flop play to extract value from your hand. Doing so will allow you to control the pot size and limit your losses if you miss the flop.
4-Betting When You Don’t Have To
Some players need to avoid applying fancy poker strategies with their suited connectors. A good example of this is 4-betting without a strong made hand. They usually do this because they’re trying to scare off late-position opponents raising pre-flop. However, this can be a costly mistake as these raises often come from a strong pocket pair.
If you decide to 4-bet, you should already have a strong hand, such as two-pair or better. Otherwise, calling and waiting for the flop to see if your connected cards can create something better would be wiser. Doing so will allow you to get away from the hand if the flop does not hit and avoid a costly 4-bet bluff.
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Chasing When It’s Unprofitable
Suited connectors can be very enticing when you make a strong draw on the flop and your opponents seem to have weak hands. However, it is essential to remember that chasing draws with these hands is often unprofitable in the long run. Chasing a draw without strong pot odds can quickly drain your bankroll and leave you with nothing to show.
Calling 3-Bets Against Short Stacks
Some players make the mistake of calling 3-bets with suited connectors against short stacks. It’s a dangerous move, as your odds of hitting a strong hand are slim. On top of that, you run the risk of getting all-in pre-flop when they shove their remaining chips in.
The best way to avoid this trap is to focus on playing your hands against larger stacks, where you have more room to maneuver and can better assess the situation. Doing this will also help limit your losses and make it easier for you to maximize your profits from suited connectors.
You must also be mindful of your opponents when playing suited connectors. If someone has already made a strong bet or raise, it is usually best to lay down your hand, even if you have a powerful draw. Overcalling in this situation can lead to massive losses and quickly put you out of the tournament.
Remember that suited connectors are only suitable for play (pun intended) when you can catch them cheaply. If someone has already committed a large portion of their chips, it’s usually best to lay down your hand and wait for another opportunity.
Make Your Play Suited for These Hands
Suited connectors can be powerful hands in the right poker game situations. However, as with all poker hands, it is vital to understand the risks involved and know when to walk away from them. By being aware of these common mistakes, you will know when to avoid them, when to play them, and how to play them more profitably.