But They Were Suited! Beginner Poker Tips for Playing Suited Hands
For some players, these are some of the most annoying words in poker. These are also likely the players that just lost a big pot to a suited hand.
Suited hands are two card of the same suit, such as As-Ks. When played wisely these hands can win you big pots, but you don’t want to start playing them without a game plan.
Today we'll take a look at playing suited hands and the best strategies for doing so. This article is geared to those of you just getting started in the game of poker and looking to open up your range a bit.
For the Monster Pots, Obv.
So when you compare K-10 suited to K-10 unsuited, you’d think that the suited hand would be significantly better, right?
Believe it or not, your suited hands are no more than 3% better than their unsuited counterparts. So you’re not getting any real statistical advantage by playing these hands.
Even A-K suited is only 67% to win against a random hand versus 65% for a non-suited A-K.
So if there’s no real statistical advantage to playing these hands, why play them?
For the monster pots, that’s why.
For starters, you want to stick with playing suited hands either in position or in multi-way pots where you can get in cheap. The key is to not invest a lot of money with these hands as they are mostly going to be drawing hands.
You’re going to also want to stay away from the lower end of the spectrum of these hands. Hands like 6-3 suited are really for those with more post-flop playing experience.
For now just stick with the higher end of the spectrum such as 9-7 suited and up. This gives you plenty of hands to experiment with.
You Flopped It
Let’s assume you picked up Ac-9c on the button and were able to see a cheap flop. The flop is all clubs and you have the immortal nuts.
Now's the time where you hone your slow-playing skills and hope that your opponent connected with the board or gets there.
If you have a player that is loose or is a bit of a calling station, you can bet enough to keep him in the pot but you don't want to lose him at this point.
Slow play the flop and turn and when he plays into you at the river, pounce.
This obviously will work best against aggressive players as they will perceive your slow play as weakness.
When You Flop A Draw Only
Let’s assume the same situation but just two clubs hit the board and you don’t pair your hand. At this point you have a couple of plays.
If your opponent checks to you, you can simply check for a free card. Your other option would be to either bet into him or raise him in the event he bets into you.
A bet or raise here will usually accomplish two things:
First, if he continues raising, then he likely has a hand and you should probably get out of the way.
If he simply calls your bet or raises, he may check to you on the turn and allow you the option to take a free card provided you missed your flush.
Flopping a Draw and Pairing Up
Catching a pair and a flush draw on the flop allows you to open up your betting a bit, especially if you flopped top pair.
In our earlier scenario, a flop of 6c-Ah-2c would be ideal for you as you have top pair with a fair kicker and the nut flush draw.
This is the type of hand that Gus Hansen would go to war with and there are times you will want to do the same.
Don’t be afraid to bet and raise here. You may take the pot on the flop or increase the size of the pot you’ll likely take on a later street.
Suited Connectors Offer Straight Possibilities
Suited connector hands such as 9-7, K-Q, 10-8 and others give you a chance to possibly pick up straight draws as well as flush draws.
For those of you that track outs and calculate percentages, make sure you don’t double count your outs.
When you flop a straight and flush draw your chances of making your hand are anywhere from 48-60% depending on your outs.
While it is going to be correct to call a reasonable bet or raise in this situation, be careful of multi-way pots and putting in too much money on these big draws.
Great Way to Open Up Your Range
As you’re learning the game, playing suited cards and suited connectors are a great way to open up your range.
While you’re still learning we recommend sticking with suited aces, kings, queens and suited connectors of 9-7 and higher.
As you get more comfortable and feel you can get away from tricky spots on the flop, you can expand this range to include all suited hands when appropriate.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to invest a lot of money when playing these hands and you don’t want to continue pumping money into them after the flop unless you have a reasonable draw.
By playing suited hands at the right time, you can win your share of monster pots and annoy your opponents by telling them “I just had to play them. They were suited!”