Poker Games Strategy Ep.1: Suited Connectors from the Blinds
This is the first episode of a video series about online poker strategy. The video of the poker table is recorded while I am playing poker online at one of my favorite poker sites, Poker Stars, and I add the narration afterwards. During this episode, I’m discussing how to take advantage of an interesting poker hand, called suited connectors, out of position and specifically from the blinds. I’m up against 3 other players attacking them from the small blind, although I consider none of them more competent than me. I suppose you will agree with me in the conclusion of the video.
So, let’s examine my opponents in this hand. Big blind is a very tight player with a VPIP of 13, which means they only play 13% of their hands! Their stack is one third of the maximum buy-in and unless he is a pro short-stacker, I have nothing to worry about them. The Cut-off looks like a fish playing more than half of their hands and attacking on all streets! For most people this player is considered a maniac and value hands go up tremendously against such a player. Finally at the Button there’s a passive player, whose aggression factor is almost zero! The only player that has a full stack in front of him is the cutoff.
After the first two players from the early and middle positions fold, cutoff open raises for the standard bet size: 4 times the big blind. Button calls and with two mediocre to bad players already in the pot, I am not afraid to cold call out of position holding suited connectors, an action that might provide attractive odds for the Big Blind to come along with his medium hands given they are extremely tight.
The flop is an excellent flop for my hand. I have an open-ended straight draw, a flush draw and a straight flush draw along with middle pair! One option would be to check and raise when one of the three opponents bets. Assuming I check, Big Blind checks and Cutoff bets. No matter the reaction of the Button, my check-raise would certainly chase the Big Blind out and I very much would like him into the pot at this point, giving me better odds for my multi-draw. Thus I choose to lead bet for 80% of the pot, willing to get calls from all possible draws or pairs.
Big Blind calls, adding almost 14 big blinds more in the pot and preflop-raiser min-raises! That almost always means a strong hand. Button gives up and action is back at me. Calling out of position is not an option, since my pot equity will obviously be reduced on turn, unless I hit one of my draws, which would surely make the cutoff slow down or even quit the hand. But how much is exactly my pot equity given the villain holds top pair?
66%. I need to get all my money into the pot right now! Folding is also not an option, therefore I raise all-in, hoping to get a call from cutoff. I already consider big blind’s money as dead money and even if cutoff holds a monster (set or made straight), I still have plenty of outs to make a better hand.
Cutoff calls and the turn is an Ace, giving him two pair! Let’s go back and say I called instead of shoving. My pot equity would now have been decreased to 36% and I could barely call a full-pot bet by cut-off. In case he overbet, I should fold giving up such a good hand!
River completes my straight draw and I take down a nice pot. While I won more than 100 big blinds in this hand, the actual expected value of the hand is about 40 big blinds ($10) and it’s the most EV one could extract in this situation.