How To Play Small Suited Connectors Preflop

I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for small suited connectors. They’re just so darn pretty. When I look at my pocket cards and see something like 5-4 suited, I get a little excited.

Part of the appeal of these hands is that they’re “real poker hands.” Small suited connectors can be a major leak in your game if you play them poorly and even when you play them right, they’ll only be a small winner for you in the long run. In fact, most people would tell you to trash these hands and that’s actually some pretty good advice. But if you know how to play them correctly, small suited connectors can be used to mix up your game and throw your opponents off balance. Here’s how you can play suited connectors profitably.

Cultivate A Tight Image
Tight players are feared at the poker table. Other players will take a tight player’s raise seriously because they know that the raise will usually mean a strong hand. No one expects a tight player to raise with a small suited connector preflop.

Raise Your Small Suited Connectors Preflop
People will limp with all kinds of speculative hands, but few people have the cojones to raise with them. If you’ve taken the time to develop a tight image, raising your small suited connector will disguise your hand.

Only Play Small Suited Connectors In Late Position
It’s hard to play any hand from early position, much less a weak one. If you get a small suited connector in early position, let it go. It’s not worth the risk. Late position, however, can give you the advantage you need to play these hands profitably.

When you raise from late position, you take control of the hand and you get to see how all the other players react to the flop before you act. You also have the advantage of playing a monster in position if your hand connects with the flop. For example, if you hold 5-4 suited and the flop comes A-2-3, your opponent is more likely to put you on Ace-King than he is to put you on a straight. That’s bad news for him if he has pocket threes. You can raise your opponent’s flop bet or let him check/raise you so you can get all your money in the pot.

Use Your Reads
When you play small suited connectors, you’ll miss the flop far more often than you hit it. That’s why you should wait until you get these hands in late position and you raise with them. You want to represent a big hand, put pressure on your opponents and watch how they play the hand. If you sense weakness, attack as if you raised preflop with a high pocket pair.

* * *

Remember that you can only use small suited connectors to bluff small pots or win big pots. Bluffing big pots can be disastrous. Playing small suited connectors is an advanced technique that shouldn’t be attempted by newbies. But once you get a feel for the game, small suited connectors can be a powerful addition to your list of playable poker hands.