*Poker thought experiment* Suited connectors pre-flop

I’m gonna lay out two similar hold’em scenarios and I want you folks to answer the questions that follow them. I will give my own answers, but I want to see some other peoples’ first.

(Scenario 1:) On a 9-handed table, you have suited connectors pre-flop. The blinds are fairly high but you have a sizeable stack to gamble with, and you’re in early position.

Q1) What is your action?

Q2) Is your action influenced by how high your suited connectors are?

(Scenario 2:) You have the same suited connectors pre-flop on a 9-handed board, and the blinds are still as high, but this time you’re in late position and you’re a little short-stacked.

Q1) Suppose someone raises before you, for about a third of your pot. What is your action?

Q2) Now suppose no one raises before you. What is your action?

Final question: Suppose you find yourself in either of these scenarios when the table is one player short of the pay-out cut-off. How, if at all, might this affect your action?

Fascinating question. I’m glad you posted. I think in Scenario 1 my action would absolutely depend on how high my suited connectors are. In Scenario 2 I think I would fold in Q1, probably play in Q2. But I’m never over-confident playing with connectors. I prefer pairs, suited or otherwise. Tell me, everyone else: am I so wrong?

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I would play in all 4 scenarios except S2 Q1, And S2 Q1 is based on face cards or better.
But agree with JC pairs preferred.

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Either scenarios I’m not interested. Suited connector’s just don’t get it for me on Replay tables enough to invest big chip amounts. I’m going to get beat regardless.


It depends for me on the exact position, the exact suited connectors, and the way the table has been playing, and if other stacks still to act are also deep. If we say it is a full table, and two players in front of me have folded, and so low jack, high jack, cutoff, button, and the blinds remain to act, and the table is playing moderately normally, then I’m usually raising with T9s and higher suited connectors 100% of the time, and employing a mixed strategy with other suited connectors:

  • raise 2/3 of the time with 65s
  • raise 1/2 of the time with 76s and 54s
  • raise 1/4 of the time with T8s and 98s

When not raising, I just muck the hand, and I’m always mucking hands like 87s, 43s and 32s (I say this, but in reality I’ll probably raise 87s some of the time too, just because I don’t always remember what my pre-flop ranges are supposed to be).

Depends how short stacked. If I have 50bb or more and limpers in front, I’m likely to limp behind. If I’m more shallow than that, I’ll mostly fold the smaller connectors, and mostly raise with the larger (JTs+). If there is a raise in front, it will generally be 3 bet or fold, especially as stacks get shorter, and so most of the smaller holdings will just be folds.

Hmmm, I was answering the earlier questions purely from a cash game perspective. In a really short stacked tournament situation, I’m often going allin with most of these hands with no raise in front of me. I like getting more aggressive as the bubble approaches since many other players will get tighter, and I’m generally not very interested in just finishing in the money, and generally prefer plays I think maximize my winnings overall by improving my odds of finishing as near as possible to the top.

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Questions one and two ought to be reversed. If my suited connectors are AK, then I make an opening raise. If they are lower than that, then I fold, unless I want to try to play KQ as a kind of bluff hand to win the blinds or knock down the pot on the flop.

As far as calling from the small blind with suited connectors, pretty much the same thing with Q1. If you are small stacked, and you shove and you get called, high card strength is optimal, because you want to start from ahead and make your opponents draw from behind to beat you, rather than the reverse. And if your opponent calls with a pair, with two over cards at least you have some chance. You don’t want to be shoving with something like 7/8 suited, because what is your opponents probable range? There cannot be many cards in his range that you are beating pre-flop.

S1. Q1:

7/8 or less fold in early position. A better suited hand I just call, (maybe fold to any raise??) unless J or better.

S1. Q2:


S2. Q1:


S2. Q2:


Final ?:

I do keep track of my position in tournies but, I play the cards and how people respond to raises. So, no changes.

I’ll have to remember this. Thanks. :wink:

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In early position, I like to open bigger suited connectors and fold the rest.

In late position, it depends. If several players have limped in, I often limp behind with all but the smallest ones, and sometimes those too, especially if the blinds are passive. Suited connectors are drawing hands, multi-way pots have a better chance of giving me good direct odds if i flop a good draw.

Near or on the bubble, I tend to dial up the aggro, but if short stacked, I don’t usually bother with most suited connectors. In that spot, I’ll be in push/fold mode and can’t really afford to speculate with hands that will mostly lose.


Primarily because virtually everyone limps into pots there are too many suckouts to bother with suited connectors unless they are Broadways.

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