Suited Connectors

Here i s an actual hand that I saw, between Daniel Negreanu and a two-time world champion, J ohnny Chan, a t t he Taj Mahal in Atlantic City in the $7,500 buy-in championship event in

1999. With the blinds at $400-$800 and more than $12,000 in front of him, Johnny opened the pot for $2,600 with A-K. Daniel called the $2,600 with * -1, and the flop came down — - -(Daniel flopped trip sevens!) Johnny bet out small ( $2,000) on the flop, a nd Daniel raised small ( $3,000). After s tudying things for a while, Johnny moved all-in and Daniel quickly said, "I call." Daniel wound up busting Johnny out on this hand; and Johnny, shocked, said to me a few minutes later when I approached to offer s ympathy, ' ' Can you believe t his kid?" Here is a case where Daniel invested $2,600 to win more than $12,000 if he hit. The suited connectors worked like a charm.

The downside of playing like t his, o f c ourse, i s t hat y ou wiil put yourself in a l ot of untenable s ituations. What are you going to do when the flop comes down 2-3-8 and you have V - V ? You have flopped top pair, which i s f airly powerful, b ut what happens when your opponent has J -J i n the hole? Answer: you may lose a lot of chips! In fact, if you're not careful, you can lose al your chips i n this situation.

You can thus expect t o have some s evere chip swings when you play poker like this. When I watched Daniel use this approach in the world championship event in 2001, his chips were up to $450,000 (and the chip lead) and then down to $70,000 and then up to $700,000 (and the chip l ead again!) and then down to $170,000! Up and down, up and down, so it went with Daniel at t his WSOP. He is a great NLH player, but these kinds of swings just can't be good.

Let's return to the example above for a moment. Why was Johnny shocked by Daniel's play in this example hand? Because Daniel risked almost 20 percent of his own chips before t he flop with This was j ust too high a percentage of his chips to risk with this hand. If you want to play this way, try not to risk more than 7 percent of your chips before the flop with these suited connector hands.

Playing the suited connectors r equires an excellent read of your opponents, so that you don't get yourself into trouble when you hit some of these hands halfway. Before you try this approach, make sure that you're reading your opponents almost perfectly. I would never recommend this theory to any novice or intermediate-level player!

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