Everyone loves to play suited cards, especially suited connectors and especially online. This is a point that needs to be driven over and over and over: “It’s better to play suited cards early, suited cards away late.” Time and time again I hear this repeated over and over and over, if you listen to any good poker player, they will also repeat this again.
Why is suited better than unsuited? First, let me give you a little background why so many players think that suited cards are better. Imagine what happens if you are playing someone who has a pocket pair of something like 8, 6, 5, and A, and the board has a flush draw and straight draw. You are holding 45 in the hole and the board has two possibilities: you hit the flush and your opponent hits the top pair and has a better hand then you. With suited cards, you know that you are usually going to see 5rown out, particularly on the flop, and with highly unsuited cards, you usually can’t bet out of the blind and more likely end up folding.
Call me old fashioned (You can if you want, but I’m not that old), but I actually prefer playing suited cards early on in a NL game. The strength of high pocket pairs is that it is more likely that you can hit the flush on the flop than you are holding just Ace and Ace. Suited cards reduce the potency of AA, KK, QQ, JJ, and even TT. JJ, as well as being strong all by itself, is often a liability in online No Limit Holdem games.
All that said, how do you actually play suited cards after the flop? How can you play them and keep your stack healthy enough to support taking the blinds?
How many times, and how long until you get a hand like 33, 33, AK, or AQ out of the blinds? What happens if another player or two raises you all in? You are risking a large amount of chips to see an Ace or King. Even if you hit your flush/straight, you will be beaten by hands like QQ, AK, and AQ. The risk-reward ratio just does not favor high risk plays. Therefore, I find that suited cards improve your chances of making more money when you are ahead, but NOT when you are behind.
Watch around and play from the blinds. Wait for a good hand and play it to the river. (I like to give small bets to see if I should call an all in unless I am already in the hand. Then I fold until I get a good hand.) There will be other hands that you can see in late position that can beat you so if you don’t plan on getting bluffed, then you can sit around and wait for a better spot.
If you are in early position and NOT planning to call, then you can call small bets if you want to see the flop or you can call, but I like to mix it up a little bit. If I have QQ and the table is limping in (a lot of people limp in) I might call a small bet to see the flop. Same thing when I have AK.
Why is suited a good hand to play? A lot of players come into set to see the flop and hit nothing, and then go into a thinking Bad think session asking “What if he has pocket Q’s?” When they miss the flop, they go into instant decision mode and either get desperate and play way too tight, thus giving their chips away to someone else, or worse, they get frustrated and angry because they “were card dead” all night, and play even tighter than they are used to.
The problem with limping in and seeing lots of flops is that you can get in too many hands. You are draining your stack for every hand you draw, especially if you miss the flop. I watch a lot of no limit games and there is usually 1 or 2 garbage hands per round. In low limit games, there is no problem getting in lots of hands because the pot odds just go up with every hand. In high limit games, you might get sucked out on every hand if you play too conservatively.
When you miss, most players at most tables will think you had big hands (raise, re-raise, and so on) and you will end up getting raised or worse, called by someone with some kind of a big hand. Then your story becomes that you played like a wimp and got your chips stolen. If that is the case, just come over the top of someone with a big hand and you can teach them a lesson about playing with a pokerrepublik.