Learn How And When To Play Your Connecting Cards
While it is important not to play weak hands, any poker player will know that you cannot simply wait around for a premium starting hand before deciding to play. If you do decide to play this way you will soon realise that your chip stack is diminishing quickly, this is particularly true with tournament play where the blind bets are ever-increasing.
Playing connecting cards is another way to get into the action outside of bluffing and stealing. Connecting cards are two cards that are next to each other in rank, i.e. 4-5, 8-9. These are often played in the hope of forming a straight or, if the connecting cards are suited, then a flush is also a possibility.
Playing suited cards can be very profitable for the experienced poker player, the term "experienced" is used as experience tells you when to play them and more likely, when to fold.
Timing is critical when playing suited connectors. While the pay off can be large, the odds of you making a straight or flush are not in your favour. it is important therefore to get into the betting as cheaply as possible by entering the betting from a late position when nobody has raised or you are in the blind betting.
Once you have made it to the flop cheaply you really have to be clear on where you stand when the flop has been dealt. You have either made your straight on the flop or at least made an open-ended straight draw. In an ideal world you will be on a flush also, giving you another possible nine outs.
If you are not in this position then need to consider folding before committing more chips to the pot.
Of course there will be occasions when you do not make a straight or flush but are presented with two pairs or three of a kind. At this point you will need to determine what your opponents may be holding and play a little by instinct.
The real problem when playing connecting cards comes when you hit just some of the flop. Lets say for example that you have been dealt a starting hand of 7-8 and the flop shows K-8-2. You may be persuaded to continue playing with the pair of eights which leaves you susceptible to players that may now have a pair of Kings.
The other problem is when you hit the bottom end of a straight, for example you have your 7-8 and flop shows 9-10-J. In this instance you have a straight but another player may by holding Q-K, it would be easy to think that you have a winning hand and bet strongly, only to lose.
Providing you are aware of the danger of playing connecting cards and know to play them correctly letting them go should they not hit, then you can be on for winning a very profitable pot as many players with big pairs will often not suspect somebody else of playing lower cards hoping to hit a straight or flush.
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