Should you Raise with Small Suited Connectors in Early Position in Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'em?
© 2017 by M. Mitch Freeland
You can win a monster pot by playing small suited connectors in early position. But, a smart player should play straight up poker in small stakes most of the time. There is no need to get tricky or play non premium hands out of position. Most of your competition in the small stakes live ring games ($1-$2), are weak and recreational players, therefore any edge you have, even a small edge, will be magnified in profits. However, it is never I good idea to play a completely ridged and predictable game. Therefore, occasionally, you will need to mix up your play to keep your more observant opponents off balance.
Small suited connectors are typically not good hands to raise with in early position when your are the first to enter the pot, but when you have been playing a tight, disciplined game, it makes a great play when you raise and get a few callers. Your opponents are likely to put you on high cards or high pairs, and when the flop comes low, you could be sitting on a nicely disguised hand of two pair, straight or straight draw.
Here is a hand I played a while back. The game was $1-$2. I bought in for the max ($100). After about an hour of play my stack was $144. I was in first position and brought it in for $8. I had 5♠ 4♠. I had four callers. After the rake, the pot was $36. The flop came J♣ 5♥ 4♦. I couldn't ask for much better than that. It was unlikely that any of my four opponents would put me on two small pair. The big blind checked. I bet $20, and got two callers and then the button moved all-in for $90. The big blind mucked. What were his possible holdings? A straight draw seemed to be the more probable hand with an all-in raise. But, could he also have two pair? A set of 5s or 4s was possible but not very probable since I had a 5 and 4. Could he have top pair with a good kicker. This was also very likely. Anyway, I still believed I had the best hand. With two players behind me still to act, I did not what to raise them out, so I called. It didn't matter because the other two folded immediately. An 8♠ came on the turn then a 7♠ on the river. My opponent didn't turn his cards over quickly, so I knew he did not have a straight. I turned my hand over and took the pot. He showed a jack then mucked his hand.
From time-to-time, and especially when you are aware that your opponents are more observant and you are not getting any callers when you raise with your premium hands, it is a good time to mix up your play and raise with small suited connectors in early position. Now when you do get action and then make a nice hand, your hand will be completely camouflaged. When, on the other hand, high cards come and you bet the flop, your opponents are more likely to put you on high cards since you raised in early position.
Who do you know who needs to improve their Poker game? Know anybody who dreams of making GOOD money playng No-Limit Texas Hold'em? Steer them to www.MitchFreeland.com and his breakthrough book, "The Small Stakes Poker Hustle." Also, get your FREE book, "Mini Goals Huge Results."