Suited Connectors and Suited Gappers

How do you play suited connectors and suited gappers?

Ok, I am having fun with this, but will try to be more concise. Suited connectors and gappers are better when stacks are deeper because there is more room to maneuver and to get paid when your draw hits (though you need to be wary of bigger flushes/straights). Personally, I love these hands but they require more caution and sometimes you just have to give up.

Generally, in a full ring game I would not open these hands until later positions (although sometimes I give in to temptation), but in a 6-max game I might open them from anywhere depending on how often people are flatting/3-betting. The reasoning behind this is that they play much better from in position. You need to be able to run bluffs with draws, get value when you hit, and try to show down weak pairs, which are all much easier to do in position.

Another key consideration, DO NOT just call raises with them (despite what a certain player may have done in a certain 380 million chip pot linked on this forum). They play much better when you have the initiative in the hand because you are going to need to semi-bluff with flush draws and open-enders, which is easier when you are the last bettor. Of course, they can also be great to check-raise semi-bluff with as well, but generally don’t just blindly think “I have 76s, call the raise” because it will likely be a losing strategy in the long run that puts you tough spots of having to make creative bluffs, paying to try to hit draws, and getting sticky with medium pairs, which can all be very costly.

It is advisable against better opponents to use them as a 3-bet rather than just calling because your opponent has a wider range than just the AA/KK some people might raise, it enables your range to hit most board textures, and your hand will be disguised postflop.

So, let’s say I raise pre and miss the flop completely (76s, flop comes J82 rainbow). I will almost always c-bet against one opponent because I have no showdown value. Against multiple opponents I will often just check-fold. If I c-bet and get called, I will often just give up if I don’t improve on the turn. If I flop something like a gutshot plus backdoor flush draw (7s6s on T3s4 rainbow board), I might c-bet with the plan of betting again if I pick up equity on the turn (8 or 9 give me a double gutshot or another spade gives me a flush draw) and giving up otherwise.

If I flop a pair (76s on a J73 board), I will try to get to showdown cheaply and not bet for value unless I improve. I might c-bet to try to get other hands with equity to fold (e.g., KQ), but generally I don’t want to play a huge pot and just hope that I am ahead by the river.

If I flop a flush draw or open-ended straight draw I will probably play it as if I had top pair on the flop by c-betting. I would then want to polarize on many turn cards whether I hit my draw or not by betting around full pot. Once you are called again, you have another chance to hit your draw, and you can decide to bluff shove the river if you miss. But that depends on a number of factors: board texture, opponent, stack size, timing tells, etc.

If you bet on the flop or turn with a flush draw or open-ender and your opponent raises, I’d say it becomes a straight up math problem to see if you are getting a good enough price to hit your draw on the next card. Most players on Replay are not doing this as a bluff, but they do often min-raise because they don’t want to scare you off, which can give you a great price to try to outdraw them.

If you raise preflop and flop something like two-pair, trips, a straight, or a flush, just bet. I typically make my c-bets the same size, but you can err on the larger side if possible. On the turn and river, polarize these hands to get as much value as possible (so that you take the same line you would with a semi-bluff) unless it’s a terrible card for your hand (e.g., counterfeiting your two-pair). You want to do this to maximize value and also because your hand is usually quite vulnerable. If you flop a flush with 76s, your opponent can easily be holding a bigger card of that suit if a 4th hits the board and if they don’t they will get scared and fold when the 4th hits. If you hold 76s and the flop is 772, your opponent would likely continue with bigger pocket pairs (88+) which can turn into full-houses if you let them see free/cheap cards by trying to get tricky. You want to extract maximum value when you are almost certainly ahead and not give them a reasonable price to try to improve.

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