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Suits You, Sir

Getting a suited connector is a good way to get the (small) ball rolling, as Daniel Negreanu explains from his book, Power Hold ‘Em Strategy.

Small Ball: A term borrowed from baseball to describe a strategy that relies on seeing a lot of flops cheaply to either win a big pot by connecting with unusual hands or a small pot by outplaying weaker opponents without risking too many chips.

The small suited connectors are absolutely ideal for the small-ball approach. Since the goal with small ball is to make straights and flushes against top-pair hands, these hands give you straight potential and flush potential, plus two pair and trips.

Against particularly weak players, you could break them with 6-4 on a 4-4-10 flop if they have an overpair. The key to the success of small ball, and in particular these types of hands, is that your opponents won’t be able to put you on a hand, and will often overplay an overpair when they are virtually drawing dead. Think of it in terms of fishing. You are putting a little itty bitty worm on the end of a pole and looking for a big fish to bite. All you are risking is that worm, but the payoff could be enormous.

The other benefit to playing these types of hands is that they are generally easy to get away from. If you don’t hit the flop, you might decide to take one stab at it, but that’s about it.

Wait, there’s more! Once people start to figure out that you like to play the little cards, you can use that to your advantage in a different way.

Hand in Action

For example, let’s say that I called a tight player’s raise with the J-s, 10-s and the flop comes 5-h, 6-s 7-h.

If I have position on this player, I could win the pot in one of two ways:
1. He has a hand like A-K and I can steal it on the flop.
2. He bets an overpair on the flop and I call him in the hope that another straight card comes on the turn. If a 4 comes on the turn and I bet, it would be an extremely difficult call for a player with A-A to make, especially since he knows that I’m willing to call raises with a hand such as 6-8.

The real homerun, though, comes when you hit a hidden straight against an opponent who can’t get away from his hand. Say a hand goes something like this: A tight player raises in first position with K-K and I call with the 5-s, 7-s. The flop comes Q-s, 4-s, 8-d.

The tight player bets and I call with my flush draw and inside straight draw. If the turn card comes a 6, he won’t know what hit him. I might just get his whole stack. I’d certainly get him to put all of his chips in if he had Q-Q that much is for sure.
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