Play speculative hands with value bets

Suited connectors don’t have any sort of showdown value unless you have A-K and you are quite certain that your opponent is bluffing. The very idea of reaching the showdown with ace high is demoralizing, but on some rare occasions it is possible to win even with such cards. Suited connectors are not supposed to be played for their intrinsic value, but for their potential of evolving into something unbeatable.

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There is no point in hoping to make a straight flush because the odds of something like that to happen are remote. The good news is that all you need is a straight or flush to prevail on most occasions and suited connectors keep you entitled to hope for such an outcome. These starting hands can be played from all positions but it is always preferable to be dealt suited connectors from the cutoff or button.

From these two positions, you can play them aggressively pre-flop which has a two-pronged effect. On one hand you might steal the blinds right there or at least eliminate some of the limpers who chose to call just to see the board. On the other, by disguising your suited connectors with a pre-flop raise, you make it much more difficult for opponents to put you on a straight or flush draw on the flop.

Flopping the flush or straight is the best case scenario and the right thing to do is to act in the same manner you did pre-flop. You don’t want to scare other players away, but at the same time you need to make it hard for them to put you on this monster hand. A continuation bet will have a good chance of receiving a call and not even a raise should be ruled out, as players will try to test the strength of your hand. With a smartly sized the value bet on the turn you can get the opponent pot committed on the river.

As stated above, this is the best case scenario and it is called so for a reason, as most suited connectors completely miss the flop. If this happens, you should back off and hope for the next opportunity instead of investing more in a pot that is obviously going nowhere. Another situation worth analyzing is that when these speculative hands have the potential of improving to a flush or straight, on a favorable board.

Drawing for gutshot straights is not profitable on the long run but if you have an open ended one it is worth firing another bullet. Assuming you raised pre-flop, a bet or a raise are in order, but if you chose to simply call the blinds, you could stick to this passive approach. A block bet is also a good idea if you fear your opponent might raise and if you’re confident in your ability to bluff, don’t hesitate to throw a float bet. The bottom line is that suited connectors don’t reach their full potential often and when they do you need to extract maximum value, which is done through value bets.