When Should I Play Suited Connectors?

Introduction to Suited Connectors

Two cards in sequential order of the same suited are suited connectors. They are appealing on the eye and have great value under the right circumstances. Many a professional’s have suited connectors as their favourite hand in Texas Holdem.

When Not To

Short stacks

This is not the time to play the 56 suited. You want big cards that fare well in pre flop confrontations. These types of hands will do poorly against hands the likely hand ranges you will face. Let’s look at 4d 5d. It is about 41% against an Ace King and 22% against a pair of 9s. Not scenarios that work well for the 4-5 suited. The same is true if your opponent has a short stack, you can’t play the suited connector for full value.

Out of Position

Suited Connectors are difficult to play effectively out of position. The fact is, you cannot control the betting or pot size how you wish as well when you first to act. If you flop a draw or a low pair, how do you proceed? It’s tricky isn’t it? It’s hard to get the full value when you do hit too so be careful playing these hands out of position.

Against The Best Players

Calibre of opponent is always a consideration at the table when you are entering a pot. Whilst suited connectors are a joy to win big pots with, sometimes you need to tighten up and play premium hands. If there is an amazing player at your table who can hand read well and difficult to extract value from then playing the suited connector to one of his raises might not be wise.

When You Can

Deep Stack Poker

They are great when stacks are deep and you can crack a big pair or top pair top kicker hand that your opponent is overplaying. This is where implied odds are brilliant. You can afford to call a 2.2bb raise if you know you can win 125 bbs.

suited connectors

In Position

Position is the best isn’t it? You can get away with playing hands you just wouldn’t if you were having to act first all hand. This is true for suited connectors too. I will happily call a raise on the button with 8s 9s against a tight player, knowing their range and able to get value or take it away later in the hand. This is why you can play suited connectors in position, because you have more opportunities to bluff or semi bluff later in the hand.

How to Play Suited Connectors

The key to playing suited connectors is to get in cheap and break your opponents. Play them multi-way and in position. Try to make your hand before investing lots of money or chips.

Deep Stack Poker 4 Reasons to Love it

Introduction to Deep Stack Poker

A cash game with 200 big blinds or more and a slow-paced tournament (1 hour or more blind intervals), where you start with 200 big blinds or more is generally considered deep stack poker. It is the opposite to the turbo paced tournaments available online and the short stack cash games around too.

1)Flexibility to Make Moves

Poker shouldn’t just be about learning how to play the short stack in a tournament. Deep stack poker affords players the opportunity to make advanced plays, big bluffs and try sophisticated lines in hands that short stack poker just doesn’t allow you to. If you try a check raise bluff with less than 15 big blinds, you’ve committed all your chips rendering the play useless.

deep stack poker
Photo by Steve Benedict

2)Implied Odds

With stacks deeper, you can take a few more risks before the flop and play hands you don’t get the opportunity to usually. This is why you see people calling raises with three six suited on high stakes poker against the fish at the table. They are risking a few big blinds to potentially win everything the live one has in front of them.

3)Improves You as a Player

By playing with larger stacks, you will find yourself in tricky, awkward and challenging scenarios that you won’t be accustomed to. Experience generally makes people better at things, by gaining experience in lots of different scenario, you will learn and improve as a result.

4)Increases Your Edge

If you are table selecting properly, you should be the best or second-best player at the table when you play. With deeper stacks, you are minimising the variance and luck element and thus your edge will increase. It is in your interest to maximise your edge whenever possible. Playing with more money behind you and your weaker opponents is always in your interest, assuming you are employing correct bankroll management of course.

Beginner Texas Holdem Question

What is a Deep Stack Poker Tournament?

A deep stack poker tournament is one where you start with more than 300 big blinds, slow blind levels and small increments. The major live tournaments are usually deep stacked and slow. Online is generally faster paced but there are deep stack tournaments available too.

Summary

Deep stack poker is arguably the best and purest form to play. It reduces the luck and variance elements of poker and increases the skill. It allows you to make moves you don’t get the chance to usually and play hands you may want to play but can’t with a shorter stack. If you have the time to play them, I highly recommend the deep stack tournaments available online.

Heads Up Poker is Awesome

Heads Up Poker

Poker at it’s purest, heads up poker is one on one duelling. It can be played in cash game or tournament format. This article will detail the reasons why they are awesome.

Tournament End Game

You want to win a MTT? Guess what, you will have to play heads up to do so. The difference between 1st and 2nd in any tournament is always substantial. The difference is often tens or hundred times the initial buy in. The most common mistake a runner up will make is not adjusting, letting the winner bully them into submission then taking a stand with too short a stack and losing. Heads up poker trains you for the end game of a tournament and increase your chances of winning them when you get to the final two.

Gaining Experience

Heads up poker will afford you the chance so play so many different scenarios both in and out of position. You will be playing hands and situations you are not accustomed to in normal tournaments or cash games with 6 or more people. How often are you playing K-4 suited to a raise and calling down with 2nd bottom pair? The experience you gain from playing heads up is invaluable and improve your technical skills and hand reading ability.

Less Variance

It stands to reason with less opponents and deeper stacks, chance or luck is less of an element. Of course, luck and variance exist but not to the same extent. If you are risk adverse but a great heads up player, heads up cash games may be ideal for you.

Table Selection

Never has table selection been more important when you’re facing just one person. You can be heavily rewarded for good table selection playing heads up cash games. There are many experts about but also lots of awful heads up players. By taking your time and carefully selecting the games you play, you can make a lot of money playing heads up.

Rewards the Aggressor

If you are a strong aggressive player, heads up poker is perfect. The truth is, heads up poker is often a battle of relentless aggression. The more aggressive players tend to win, provided it’s calculated and measured of course. This is rarely the case in full ring poker where you run into monsters all too often. However, heads up, there are so many nothing pots where an aggressive player can just pick them up consistently. Not only is this fun, it is great for your hourly rate and ROI.

heads up poker
Photo by Richard Lee

Beginner Texas Holdem Question

Who is Small Blind in Heads Up Poker?

The dealer button is always the small blind. They will act first before the flop and last afterwards.

Conclusion

Heads up poker can be rewarding for you if you enjoy playing post flop poker, gaining experience and are a shrewd game selector. If you are interested in learning more about heads up or want coaching in it, feel free to email us at info@texasholdemquestions.com for information.



Is The Over-Bet Underused in Poker?

The Over-Bet

Depending on the situation, an over bet is either an awful play or a genius one. There is not much in between, from a 3rd party perspective. This is because an over bet will force your opponent out of the pot (either lost value or a great bluff) or you’ve been called (lost far more than necessary or got extra value).The truth is, there are scenarios where an over bet is the most profitable bet to make and also the worst bet to make. Deciding when to pull off a successful over-bet takes experience, intuition and thorough of understanding your opponent.

The Bluff Over-Bet

In order to pull off success bluff, sometimes you have to bet a lot. With the right opponent (conservative) and deep stacks, an over bet bluff can be a great weapon to use. Whilst this same player may call 60-80% of the pot, they will often fold to an over- bet shove or 2x pot size bet. They know they are not getting a good price on their money and will look for a more sensible hand to invest in. The over bet bluff is usually best to try on the river when there are no more cards to come. 

You need a few things to be on your side for an over- bet bluff to be successful:

  • Opponent who has demonstrated ability to fold
  • Deep stacks
  • You’ve not shown down an over bet bluff already

The Value Over-Bet

This value bet is not utilised enough really. I am guilty myself and don’t use this move often enough. I think many people think they will waste value and prefer to get something than nothing so they will typically just put in a decent value bet. It’s a great move to pull off against fishy players who can’t fold a medium strength hand or advanced players who are prone to making a hero call or levelling themselves.

  • Fishy opponent who is likely to call an over bet just as much a standard
  • You have shown an over bet bluff
  • Competent player who can level themselves
  • Deep stacks
embarrassed by over-bet
Photo By Wallace Chuck
Don’t be embarrassed to try the over-bet

Caution

Like most poker moves, this is not one to be constantly used against the same players. In fact, against a decent player, you can probably only get away with 2-3 successful over bet bluffs or value over bets before they’ve clocked which you use it for. The trick is to master both. I recommend attempting both in the future when your instinct tells you it will work. Once you have dipped your toe in you will soon incorporating both bets into your game in the future.

I hope you found this article useful and consider the over-bet more in the future.

What is Small Ball Poker?

Introduction to Small Ball Poker

A poker strategy that has exploded in popularity in the last few years, small ball is an overarching poker mentality used successfully by professionals, yet often misunderstood and poorly used by novices. There are several components to playing small ball; hand selection, bet sizing, position and table image.

Hand Selection

Small ball poker dictates playing a lot of poker with a variety of hands. If you want to attack many unwanted pots, you need to widen your opening range. This varies player to player, but most professionals accept that suited connectors, suited aces and the paint cards have the most play-ability and equity to warrant including in opening raise ranges.

Bet Sizing

Small ball poker is what you expect, small bets. Professionals understand that a smaller, probing type bet accomplishes the same thing as a bigger bet and for less risk. This means many cheap bluffs. The underlying concept is that the player is consistent though. It’s no use sizing your bets differently based on hand strength, otherwise your opponents will correctly read your hand. It doesn’t take long to figure this out. Consistent bet sizing is critical to small ball poker. It means you can accomplish cheap bluffs but also extract value.

Poker
Photo by Keenan Constance @keenangrams

Position

As always, position is important. Small ball experts will play as many pots in position as they can. They understand there are an abundance of chips to be picked up in pots that people aren’t interested in contesting. As such, they will be opening an incredibly high amount of pots in position when it folds to them and also be calling raises in position if multi way and cheap. The reason being they can risk few chips to gain many. They understand the implied odds, that they can play the 3h 4h for a small raise when stack sizes are 100 bb + because they are risking 2.5 big blinds to bust a weak player who is prone to overplaying their pocket Aces on a 3s 3h Kd type flop.

Table Image

The beauty of small ball is the image you project to your opponents. By playing many pots you are giving the illusion you are a bit wild and almost certainly a bluffer. After all, you are playing many pots and often betting and winning without showdown. On close inspection though, the small ball expert is not betting crazily and big amounts. They are often 40-50% of the pot and carefully wagered, often heads up pots or when the time is right. In short, the table image a small ball player projects is perfect! An opponent may notice after hours of lost pots, take a stand and then bust out when they finally realise that the small baller is only playing big pots with monster hands.  

Warning

Small ball requires a player to be expert before and after the flop, experienced and attentive. Don’t try this style of poker if you are not confident playing many different scenarios. It’s also worth pointing out this is not the ideal strategy for most cash games and is mostly utilised in tournaments to build a stack without much risk.

This article has touched on just a few parts involved in small ball poker. If you are interested in knowing more or want mentoring in small ball, email us at info@texasholdemquestions.com.

Middle & Late Tournament Strategy

Tournament players can struggle with the middle and late stages of tournaments. These key areas separate the most profitable from the average. We identify several key areas to focus on and improve. These include psychological, theoretical, mathematic and strategic. We will coach you in these areas to help you make better decisions and more money in the long run.

  • Psychological – Are you nervous, scared, too aggressive? Are you thinking about the money, always think everyone is stealing and you’re re-raising too much?
  • Stealing blinds and survival strategy
  • Table image and reacting to it
  • Pot odds for calling all ins
  • How to combat the modern loose aggressive players
  • Adjusting post flop betting sizes
  • Adjusting pre flop opening raises
  • Finding optimum moments to steal blinds and antes
  • Bubble strategy
  • Which stacks to pick on?
  • Identify which players to target and play pots with
  • Moving all in at the right time

You can now sign up for as little as 1 hour of coaching to get a feel for how we work with you, to help you become the best player you can be.

Texas Holdem Questions

5 Must Read Poker Books

Like any interest or hobby, reading and gaining knowledge on the subject will increase your expertise in the field. The list of books below are just a few highly recommended for playing poker well.  There are some great gambling books and authors available and cheap prices if you look around.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer

Super System by Doyle Brunson

Amazing book, must read for any poker enthusiast. Timeless book that still helps players today both online and live. It may have been a different era but the principles behind most of what Dolly says still applies, particularly playing draws aggressively. 

Play poker like the pros by Phil Hellmuth Jr

Think what you like about Phil’s antics but he’s written a great book here. This book is mandatory for players looking to improve their tournament play. Phil’s won 15 WSOP bracelets so when he talks, one should listen…..unless he’s just whining on tv of course then just laugh.

Ace on the River: An Advanced Poker Guide by Barry Greenstein

Barry goes into depths where other authors don’t in this book. He’s helping the poker enthusiast become better in all aspects not just some game theory. I can’t recommend this book enough. The pictures are an added bonus too.

Every hand revealed by Gus Hansen

I love this book, experience the journey of Gus’ thoughts as he plays out the Aussie Millions. It’s amazing getting an insight into how this genius but apparent “madman” operates. Excellent read and could read this multiple times easily. This book is unlike any other and reveals hand to hand what it is like to play an expensive live tournament. 

Harrington on Holdem by Dan Harrington

Both Harrington books are amazing and necessary for any no limit holdem tournament player. Invaluable advice with theory and insight that will engrave on your mind innately and improve you. They discuss the famous M and educate the tournament player on how to play short stacks. 

I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in poker books.

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Texas Holdem Questions