Playing Small Suited Connectors in Fixed Limit Hold em

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Playing Small Suited Connectors in Fixed Limit Hold em

One hand type that may arise when you play Hold'em is the suited connector. A suited connector is a hand that contains two cards of the same suit that are consecutive, for example, 6h, 7h, or 4c, 5c. The value of these hands is that they have the best potential to make either a straight or a flush, hands that when made, will beat the high pairs that are likely to be doing the betting. Small suited connectors are suited connectors that have little value other than what is mentioned above, as opposed to say, Qs and Js, which not only can make a straight or a flush, but can also give you top pair.

Doyle Brunson popularized the play of small suited connectors in his now famous poker "bible" Super/System. This fondness for these type of hands has been bolstered by their being played effectively on the World Poker Tour and in the World Series of Poker. The problem is that these hands have been showed to be effective in No Limit poker, not Fixed Limit. The value of small suited connectors in Limit poker is in fact extremely minimal.

for this is that when you do hit your hand, you can win a rather large pot. If you are limping in with 7, 8 suited for a $3 blind and miss the flop 12 times, but on the 13th time win a $100 pot, this is a profitable hand for you to play. However in a Limit game, where the betting structure is fixed, it is highly unlikely you will win a pot anywhere near this size when you make this hand (assuming a similar blind). Additionally, if you miss the flop with your suited connectors, it is still possible to win the pot with aggressive play. In Limit poker, at least one player with any kind of hand will go to the showdown with you, and any kind of hand is enough to beat your small suited connectors if you miss.

So when should you play small suited connectors in Fixed Limit Hold'em? Rarely, if ever, because if you are going to play these hands, you should only play them in late position (when you are less likely to face a pre-flop raise that will force you to throw the hand away and waste a bet, or put in more money on a negative expectation wager). You need to consider if your opponents are loose, or tend to get married to a hand like a big pair or top pair. If either of these conditions are met, it's safer to take a shot with one of these hands. If not, they will probably cost you a considerable amount of money over the long run.

It's not a terrible idea to raise with one of these hands once in a very long while just to disguise your betting patterns. If you do this, your more observant opponents won't be able to put you on a big hand every time you bet, and will give you more action. If you end up taking one of these hands to the river and missing, you should definitely expose your hand (assuming there is no more action), to let your opponents know you are not afraid to get in there and gamble with less than premium hands. Once your opponents understand this, go back to playing mostly premium hands.

If you are not sure whether or not small suited connectors are worth playing, the answer is almost always no. Limit Hold'em is a game of big cards, and you should tailor your hand requirements to this fact.

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