How to play

  1. How to Play 
  2. Poker strategy 
  3. Betting 
  4. The flop 
  5. Poker Connectors 

Suited Poker: Learn to play Suited Connectors on the Flop

 Suited connectors are cards that hold much potential in No-Limit Texas Hold'em cash games and tournaments. They can make flushes and straights, with the latter often disguised if you entered the pot with a raise. However, you will rarely flop a flush or straight and are often left with a draw or a weak pair, making suited connectors vulnerable, too. Keep reading to discover how to pay suited connectors on the flop.

What Are Suited Connectors?

The term suited connectors are given to any unpaired starting hand where both hole cards are the same suit and are precisely one card away from each other in terms of value. For example, jack-ten of spades is a suited connector, as is nine-eight of hearts and five-four of clubs. Any hand from three-deuce to ace-king can be classified as a suited connector.

One-gapped suited connectors are similar, except your hole cards are two pips away. Queen-ten, jack-nine, and eight-six are examples of one-gapped suited connectors. We will leave these starting hands for a future tutorial article.

How To Play When You Flop a Flush or Straight

Improving to a flush or straight on the flop is the dream scenario when you play suited connectors, which is why players play them in the first place. However, the chances of this happening are thin at best. You will flop a flush or better only 0.94% of the time when you start with suited connectors and a straight with five-four through jack-ten only 1.29% of the time.

The biggest problem with flopping a flush is that an opponent could outdraw you with a higher flush. Going to the flop with 8s-7s and the first three community cards falling As-6s-3s seems perfect, but there is a significant chance of being outdrawn if multiple opponents contest the pot.

You can easily make a continuation bet if you raised preflop in this example. Your opponents probably will not think you have a flop but another strong hand, such as a pair of aces or a set and are betting to scare off flush draw chasers.

Regardless of how you reached the flop, playing flopped flushes aggressively is a good idea. You not only want to build a larger pot but also charge your opponents for chasing a higher flush. In addition, your opponent may have flopped a set, and you want to charge them for chasing a full house.

It is a similar story when you flop a straight with suited connectors. Reaching the 7s-6c-5d flop with 9s-8s sees you make a nine-high straight. It will be difficult for your opponent to put you on that exact hand. Again, against most opponents, playing aggressively should be your default strategy. Build the pot with your strong, made hand, and hope to get value from someone with an overpair, two-pair, or a set.

How To Play When You Flop a Flush or Straight Draw

Flopping a flush or straight is rare, but you will often reach the flop and have a flush or straight draw. How you play a flush draw on the flop depends on your opponent type, the preflop betting action, and how coordinated the board is.

For example, having 9d-8d on an Ad-Ks-7d flop is totally different from having 9d-8d on a Qc-7d-4d. Why? Because your opponents have more likely hit the first flop than the second one.

Many top-tier poker players are advocated for playing their flush draws fast. People tend to check-call a lot when drawing to a flush, so by betting, raising, and check-raising, your opponents automatically do not assume you are on a draw if another flush card lands on the turn. Of course, missing your draw after being aggressive can be costly, but that potential cost is balanced by the times your opponent folds or when you hit your cards, have built the pot and receive a healthy pay-off.

Straight draws are similar to flush draws on the flop. Again, most players will check-call and give up on the river if they miss their draw. Playing straight draws aggressively gives you more options in the hand if you do miss. You can represent a strong made hand if you have raised or check-raised, and your opponent will have a hard time calling you without having the goods themselves.

How to Play When You Flop One or Two Pair

Flopping two pair with suited connectors will mean there is a straight draw out there. You raise with Ts-9s, and the flop falls Tc-9d-4h. You have two pair, but there could be Qh-Jh or 8h-7h in your opponent's hands. Also, hands like pocket four, nines, or tens are all possible holdings depending on the player type and the preflop action.

If you are the aggressor in the hand, you should always bet your two-pair hands. Getting tricky and slow-playing them could result in your opponent checking back; thus, you lose value from what is a strong holding.

Be wary of flopping two pair on monotone boards or hand flush draws out there in addition to the straight draw. These can result in potentially heavy losses, mainly if you are up against more than one opponent.

Improving to one pair on the flop can often be dangerous, especially if your suited connectors are towards the lower end of the scale. You will only make top pair with 7s-6s approximately 3% of the time. Around 25% of the time, you will make second or third pair, plus you'll have a weak kicker to consider.

This is where hand-reading ability or remembering your opponents' tendencies come into their own. It is also when the turn or river can completely flip a hand on its head. Proceed with caution, even with a hand such as Kd-Qd on a Kc-9d-3s flop, if you face any resistance or shows of aggression.

How to Play When You Miss the Flop

You will miss or whiff the flop more often than not, potentially leaving you with a weak unpaired hand. If you were the preflop aggressor, you could also make a continuation bet as a bluff and then reevaluate if you reach the turn. It is also perfectly fine to check-fold if you were not the preflop aggressor unless you feel a check-raise bluff will work out for you. Most of the time, however, you should give up if you miss the flop if you have a hand, such as 4s-3s or another lowly suited connector.