Suited Connectors in SNGs

Suited connectors are usually highly playable hands in deep stacked cash games. As a matter of fact, suited connectors, together with small pocket pairs and suited one-gappers are some of the best implied odds starting hands. How do these implied-odds hands retain their value in SNGs though?

The answer to that is in short-stacked cash games. Since SNGs seldom give players the possibility to enjoy the advantages of a large stack, suited connectors will have the same value in them as in short-stacked cash games: not nearly as playable as in a deep stacked cash game.

The value in suited connectors is in the possibility of making either a flush or a straight. Such hands don’t come about nearly as often as one would like to, which means that you’ll have to invest a serious amount of chips into them, before you do make a good hand and get an opponent all-in to recover all your losses and to make some profit too.

In short stacked situations, you may not last long enough to make a hand and to trap an opponent on it.

Should you then just muck your suited connectors every time you pick them up in a SNG? No, not quite. Playing such hands in SNGs is actually rather easy once you learn no to overvalue them. The scenario you need to avoid is the following: you pick up some suited connectors and you call a preflop raise to take them to the flop. The flop gives you a weak gutshot straight, and you keep calling. Of course, the turn misses you and so does the river.

Suited connectors carry the most value in the early stages of a SNG. That’s because your stack size compared to the size of the blinds will be relatively big. As the blinds escalate, your suited connectors gradually lose value. Make sure that you only get involved on hands in which you have position (very important) and which give you the possibility to go to a multi-way flop without paying too much for it – even in the early stages of the SNG.

Once you’ve seen the flop, you’ll be faced with two choices: you miss the flop completely or you hit a draw which offers you reasonable odds. If you miss the flop, the decision is easy: just muck it right there. If you hit a draw which offers you good enough odds, take them. This is an excellent illustration of how a well thought-out preflop move makes your choices simpler past the flop.

Again: make sure you only limp to the flop from late position and that means the button or the cut-off. Limping from early position will not only make you look bad, it will cost you money too.

Once you reach the mid-blind levels, your suited connectors become much trickier to play. They lose so much value over this stage that in order to simplify things for yourself, you may want to give up on them altogether. If you’re still tempted to take your chances, make sure you do it from the button and only after several limpers.

Once you reach the high blinds stage, your suited connectors gain some value again, this time as blinds stealers. As the blinds reach uncomfortably high levels, players will react in two basic ways: they’ll tighten up or they’ll loosen up. You should take full advantage of those who tighten up to protect their stacks for whatever reason.

Suited connectors may not be strong starting hands in high blinds situations, but they are good steal hands because steal hands don’t have to be strong. Stealing is done on weaker starting hands. If you have a strong hand, you do not steal with it, you play if for value.

Suited connectors offer another way for you to win the pot if your plan A (which is to make your opponent fold) misfires.


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