Non-suited connectors are an area that can often be overlooked in many player’s poker games. Sure, everyone loves to play suited connectors, or for that matter, anything suited. But, by sneaking in with connecting cards, you can many times catch other players off guard when they hit and take down some big pots.
For example, early on in SnG’s or large multi-table tournaments, I like to fool around with non-suited connectors. Make no mistake, I am not looking to pair anything up, I am simply looking to hit it big by flopping a straight.
The best times to play these types of hands, 9-T, 8-9, even 6-7 is early on at a table of limpers. You will have players limping in with any combination of over-cards and they do not expect your 6-7 to even be in play. Do not get in the habit of calling pre-flop raises with these hands, you will most times be throwing your money away. This is kind of like buying a lottery ticket; buying one won’t hurt much, but you don’t want to spend your whole paycheck on them! Same thing here. Get into some cheap pots to see if you can hit it big, but don’t dedicate too large a portion of your chip stack to this endeavor.
Once you are in the hand, reading the Flop texture is pretty simple: either you hit or you didn’t. Don’t fall into the trap of playing middle pair with an over card on the board (not unless you can check and stay in the hand) and don’t chase a draw without proper pot odds. This is a get in, see the flop, and get out type of play. That’s it. You have to be disciplined when playing these types of hands or they will get you into trouble.
If you do happen to hit, the check-call is probably going to be your best weapon. How you handle this is largely dependent on whether or not there is an over-card on the Turn or River. If you Flop a straight. Either make a minimum bet or simply call. If you come over the top, most players playing over cards in their hands will smell a rat and fold. If you call, they might draw a card on the Turn that will get them into trouble and seal their fate in the hand.
For example, if you flop a straight and everyone checks, you have not built the pot. However, if an over-card comes on the Turn you will likely get anyone who paired it up betting and betting big thinking they are now leading the hand. Straights for whatever reason are hard for some players to spot on the board. Flushes, easy to spot, straights just do not enter into player’s thinking quite as much.
Whatever you do, do not get carried away with connecting cards if there is a flush draw on the board. Remember, the most basic fact of internet poker: online players will play anything suited. If the board is suited, figure someone hit it and get away.
If you can stick to these basic guidelines, non-suited connectors can be a profitable little play to add to your poker arsenal.
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