Trouble with a Suited Connector
This is a hand I played in the early to mid stages of North Sea Race a 50k tournament. I have 76 of hearts. I’m not sure if I played this hand right but I wanted to see if anyone would want to talk about it. Preflop, I only have 35-40BB but I believe this is deep enough to play suited connectors. Before you get mad at me for limping, I am not a common lazy limper, I only limped because there was already another limper in the pot which made it likely for this to be a multiway pot in which my hand thrives on, raising would only get rid of the field and I don’t want that. I want to stack someone and beat them with a flush or straight. So anyway, I limp along and I flop an open ended straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. When this player bets 300, I expect he has a strong hand, but that is ok in my opinoin because if I hit my flush or straight I probably will take all of his chips. The question is should I have raised? I think the answer is no because he is not going to fold the majority of his range and it gets me more stack commited when I have zero showdown value. When I miss my flush and straight draw I will lose more chips if I raise. To my dismay, someone else raises. I think all-in or call are basically the same, but maybe in hindsight I should have just called? I think the odds are too good for me to pass up. I did the odds in a poker calculator and my odds are 32.56% I’ve heard people talk about tournament life here and I think that doesn’t mean much to me. I play these tournaments 5-10 times a week and I have over 100 buy-ins so I am just trying to maximize value and trying to build a big stack in the beginning of the tournament so I can push to the final table. Any thoughts?

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I’m a bit more picky about what I choose to play or fold. 67 suited would be a fold for me. About the lowest I will go for suited connectors is TJ and I would only play that if the flops had been hitting my hole cards until that point. Yeah, if I was going to play those cards I would have bumped it up since I would want others to fold to increase my chances of a bluff if needed.

I guess it’s all about your particular play style.

I agree, although I think if you should play this though a raise might not be as strong because a raise decreases the stack to pot ratio, you bring up a good point that I cant really bluff if I limp but I’m sacrificing that for a better implied odds if I get a straight or flush but you bring up good points playing 76 suited with less than 40BB is questionable.

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Myself, I think 35 to 40 big blinds is a little too short stacked to play 76 suited from most positions, but this is not most positions, it is the button, and the table does seem quite passive. I think I might be inclined to raise pre flop some of the time, but will call like you did some of the time, also.

On the flop, I’m pretty sure I would have just jammed after the UTG player made a pot sized bet. You ended up jamming anyway after the betting came around again, which I think was still correct, but you got less fold equity that way. With a straight flush like that against two opponents, I don’t think folding is really on the table. Also, betting is preferable to calling, as you add some fold equity to your already very good equity.

You ended up losing the hand… oh well, that’s poker.

Oops… my comments above were based on thinking you had the full straight flush draw. I somehow failed to notice that the flush was back door only.

I think this makes all of the options on the flop a little closer. I think folding is not wrong, as you are sandwiched between the lead better and another player. Calling, like you did, becomes something I would more seriously consider, but it also leaves you at risk of getting re-raised (which of course happened), so I’d still I think mostly fold or jam after the initial pot sized flop bet, but would probably make all 3 plays some fraction of the time.

I don’t feel you made any mistakes that drastically reduced your EV, but suspect that the call is slightly lower EV than folding or jamming. Here, if you are close to the bubble, I’d probably almost always jam.

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I agree, fold equity is always better but lets think about what the guy who bet pot might have.
Most sets
Two pair
Top pair usually a good kicker
A draw (rarely)
A bluff (rarely)
Looking at this range I’m not sure how many hands he has that he bets pot and then folds to a raise. While some more sophisticated players may fold top pair weak kicker or bluff with draws or no draw more often, I dont think the fold equity is good here but it still is something. Calling I think would definitely be the best play if I closed the action, but unfortunately I didn’t which may make raising a better choice, but the person who has yet to act is probably only raising AK or better if that. Some players will even call with two pair. His raising range is much smaller than his calling range and folding range. I didn’t think about a significant chance of him raising because of it, but perhaps my read is wrong. Say he called instead of raising and we went to the turn. If it was a blank should I shove if checked too? Or am I better off saving my chips because they wont fold enough when I jam? I normally would jam in this spot but against two opponents I’m not sure if they will fold enough to make it a proper play instead of checking and hoping to hit. But I wonder what you think about this.

Theres also the idea of folding on the flop, but that kind of stinks cause my hand has a lot of equity.

Yes, how likely the players are to fold to an immediate jam makes a big difference in the equation. If you think fold equity was very low against almost all of the villain’s range, then my suggestion to jam doesn’t add very much EV. But notice that, if the fold rate is not zero, it is probably adding to your overall EV, as there are not many hands that you are directly ahead of. Also note that you are not just trying to get the initial raiser to fold, but both players, and either folding increases your equity share of the pot.

I guess that does imply a commitment mind set… assuming there is no re-raise on the flop, your call allows you to fold on the turn if you don’t improve, and face another big bet.

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Oh, also, I wouldn’t normally assign such a strong range to a single bet on the flop, even though it was pot sized. Now, I don’t know the villain, and your range assumption may have been correct, but I’d normally assume a substantially wider range when seeing the initial bet on the flop.

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This is an interesting hand and analysis. However, you set out right away to defend your limp, and I think this is the real inflection point of the hand (making the flop action kind of irrelevant).

While limping behind with 76s seems ok and is definitely ok with deeper stacks (although not necessarily optimal), you are setting yourself up for difficult decisions later on. First of all, the blinds could raise/shove and you have to fold. But you say that your hand “thrives” in a a multiway pot, which is only partially true. You are very rarely going to flop a straight or a flush, but you are often going to flop a draw or middle pair. The raw equity of suited connectors is pretty bad, so you want to have the initiative when you play them if possible. You don’t want to be faced with the exact situation that occurs. You have lots of equity but your opponent has made a strong bet and you are behind against their entire range (except maybe 64/43 of diamonds). Now you have too much equity to fold and you have to gamble from behind. Honestly, I believe folding 76s preflop is probably best since too many players here are calling stations to profitably raise with such short stacks, but if I were in your exact spot I would probably limp it anyway. With ~35 bbs you want to play hands with top pair value (Ax, broadways, pocket pairs) because stack-to-pot ratios are going to be low.

As played, I think shoving is probably better than calling against the first bet, although I went back and forth on this. With a call you get to keep the pot small and get decent odds (though not actually good enough unless another player calls). Against a range of reasonable top pair+ you have about 33% equity (which is break-even), but you are only paying to see one card and there are players to act behind you. I think shoving is better because it can cause draws to fold (and you have good equity against flush draws) and maybe even get top pair to fold. Calling minimizes risk, but you are passively putting 14% of your stack in the middle knowing you are behind (and with players left to act).

Oddly enough, facing the raise I would be more inclined to call (while hating the situation of course). You only need to call 1000 more to win 3200 (so you need 24% to break even), and you have 6+ outs. ICM might say something different, and folding can be ok just because you don’t want to go out of the tournament by getting your stack in while definitely behind. I don’t think shoving gives you any real fold equity given the bet and raise. Maybe the actual pot odds are ok to shove but now you are definitely putting your tournament life on the line, though at least you are paying to see both remaining cards. Basically, none of your options seem good and it could have been prevented by taking a raise or fold line preflop.


Yeah, after calling the first flop raise and getting re-raised, the situation has become miserable, and nothing seems any good. It is funny how you can sometimes find yourself in these spots where it feels like you are trying to find the path that loses the least money, LOL.


I reiterate…putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it not a pig. If you want to keep your chips and maybe even grow your bank, bet on premium hands and trash the rest. You might not get to play as often, but you will find that, with patience, you will improve your game and avoid ulcers in the process.

All these decisions are so tough, all of you guys make good points about it I’m not sure what my biggest mistake was, but I definitely now might consider folding pre next time or shoving on the flop. I think shoving on the flop is good and maybe slightly better than a call, because I might get folds from both of them about 20-35% of the time. I think if I get folds from both at least 25% of the time my shove is more +EV than a call but I dont know the exact calculations maybe it is even less. Thank you for all your feedback, I just have one question how deep would you guys have to be to play a suited connector in this position and would you raise or call with it facing an early position limper?

If I was in your shoes with a 67suited on BB I would call and, if it made it around to me again without anyone raising then great, see the flop. There is no way I would invest in that hand unless it flopped a straight or flush. I don’t usually don’t have much luck chasing flushes or straights so I would keep the investment cheap as possible.

I’m not convinced you made any major mistakes. You’ll lose hands when you play poker, even if you play perfectly. Perhaps your play was not perfect… but I don’t see anything huge to complain about.


Fine up until the x/r and call on the flop. Plenty deep enough to take a flop with this hand and you will have absolute position postflop. You do not want to raise here and then get re-raised. You 100% want to see a flop in position with stacks deep enough to make it worthwhile.

When you call the pot sized bet and get x/r by the BB, alarms should be going off in your head. When the original bettor flat calls the raise with you left behind to act, you are done. Pull the rip cord and get yourself out of the hand. Without the direct flush draw, you must fold here. Not every open ended draw is the same thing.

FWIW no, it is not a raise on the flop in position facing a full pot bet.

If I have the chance, I’ll run this through Simple 3-way (hold the jokes please).

I am curious to see what the solver says. You say it is not a raise, but is it really a call? It doesn’t seem like there are direct odds to call, especially if some outs aren’t clean. I am not strongly advocating raising/shoving, it seems pretty questionable/awkward at this depth. But I don’t think calling is very good and folding doesn’t seem good either. Against just the player with AK of spades, hero has 37% equity and is paying to see just one card. It seems like hero needs more callers to make it worthwhile. If villain only bets pot with top pair+ (excluding KK) then hero has ~32% and if we include some reasonable flush draws then hero is down to ~30%. I wouldn’t be happy with those odds even if the implied odds were great, which they aren’t (straight draw on a flush draw board). I am also not really advocating folding because how can you limp behind 76s just to fold to one bet with an open-ender?

My thinking would probably be more like “is this the right spot?”. Maybe that’s bad poker, but if you are getting marginal odds to call, why even continue? I don’t believe that the remaining opponents can fold top pair, so that gives implied odds, but no fold equity for raising. I’d rather keep my stack healthy to get involved when I believe I might have the best hand.

Maybe that is total nonsense, but there are let’s say “postflop edge disparities” on Replay that make it seem foolish to gamble even if you are a slight favorite when you could easily find a less high variance spot.

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Had a few minutes so I looked up preflop ranges. This is from Monker Solver at 40BB, on the BTN facing a 2.3x raise from EP (close enough). If 7/6s is a 50% flat and 50% fold vs the min raise, its safe to make it a full frequency call vs the limp. Shift around the raising and calling ranges as you want.

I am going off some guidelines that seem to hold pretty solid across multiple boards, positions and stack depths. In the most general terms you wouldn’t want to raise IP vs a polarized bet. You also don’t care on the flop if BB comes along. In fact, it helps in this case. I don’t think we need to care about balancing - open limp and multiway pot seems to call for a pretty straightforward response.

I’ll try to get to it later if possible. I don’t think its crucial to get this one hand exactly right so much as it is to get the principles correct. IP does a ton of calling, especially vs the polarized bet sizes.

Also, in tournament play you normally require more than the raw equity to risk your stack. Build in a 5% margin here and you’re under water to a made hand and another draw (most likely scenario)

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I think it is great for the players less confident in their game to see how three pretty strong players can have different opinions about the right line here. Poker is hard. We all make mistakes. And we can’t even agree what constitutes a mistake a pretty sizeable fraction of the time. :grin: