Small suited connectors

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In the May 25 issue, we warned against small suited connectors such as 6d-5(“Playing the ‘wrong’ suited connectors”). Submitted by GamingToday reader Robin Diffner – he was rewarded with a copy of the Hold’em Algorithm booklet –it was selected as one of the notorious “Dirty Dozen” mistakes to avoid if you want to be a winner. There are good reasons for folding such a hand. But there are always exceptions to every rule. Let’s examine that thesis.

To Prove the Point

In a low-limit game, I was on the button holding 6d-5d, contemplating folding when it was my turn to declare. But six opponents called the blind without any raises. For the price of one small bet (assuming the blind would not raise), I could get to see the flop, and see over 70% of my final hand. With so many opponents staying in, the implied pot odds likely would be huge, offering a favorable positive expectation.

So, if I got lucky and hit the flop, I could win a big pot. (Since I was losing a bit, a big win would be wonderful! Then I could go home a winner.)

Incredible! The flop (8d, 4d, 7c) gave me the nut straight and four-to-a-straight-flush. Wow! An early-position player came out betting and was raised by a middle-position player. To build the pot, I slow-played, waiting for the bets to double on the turn before raising.

Five players saw the turn. It paired the board with a 4§. I was concerned that someone might make a full house, having put my opponents on overpairs; but I believed I was in the lead. Again, the early-position bet and was raised by the middle-position player. One caller, and then it was my turn to declare. This time I re-raised and was called by all three opponents. The pot was huge!

Based on the betting, I assumed I was up against two-pair, possibly trips. Thinking about my hand, the best I could wish for would be the 7¨, putting a possible full house on the board against my nut straight flush. But the river was the K¨. I had a flush – but a player with two diamonds in the hole with one higher than my 6¨ would make my hand second-best.

When everyone checked to me on the river, I believed I still had the best hand. I made the big bet and was called by one opponent. The other was all-in. VICTORY!

I never got to see my opponents’ hands; it didn’t matter. The pot was a monster and put me well ahead for the evening!

Remember three things: (1) With small suited connectors, pay to see the flop only if it’s a multi-way pot with no raises. (2) Even small suited connectors have many ways to connect. (3) You could get lucky.

Otherwise, as Robin Diffner warned, small suited connectors are best folded before the flop.

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Comments? George “The Engineer” Epstein can be contacted at [email protected]

About the Author

George Epstein

A retired engineer, George Epstein is the author of “The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!” and “Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision.” He teaches poker courses and conducts a unique Poker Lab at the Claude Pepper Senior Center under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks and at West Los Angeles College.

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