Table of Contents
Suited connectors, particularly 87s (suited 8 and 7), hold a special place in the hearts of many poker enthusiasts. However, playing this hand effectively requires avoiding common pitfalls that players often stumble into.
This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with strategies to master the art of playing suited connector 87s, ensuring that you make informed decisions both before and after the flop.
1. Pre-Flop Strategies for 87s
Positional awareness takes center stage when it comes to playing 87s before the flop, making it imperative to understand how to navigate its complexities.
• Unopened Pot
Ranked within the top 20% of all starting hands, it boasts considerable strength. On a 6-handed table, regardless of your position, you can confidently open-raise with it to capitalize on its potential. However, at a nine-handed table, exercise caution in the early positions. Although an open-raise is possible, it might not yield optimal results, and flat-calling should be avoided as it diminishes your expected value.
• Against Raises
Playing against raises requires keen attention to position. When facing a raise from late positions, you can employ 87s more liberally. This holds true when you are in a later position yourself. However, against raises from early positions, restraint is advised, and 87s are best folded. Playing 87s flat-calling is unwise, as it encourages opponents to call profitably and diminishes your edge.
2. Defending the Big Blind
When positioned in the Big Blind and faced with a raise, your decision-making differs significantly due to your advantageous end-of-action position.
• Against Different Positions
Against Late Positions: In these situations, your range can include calls and occasional 3-bets.
Against Hijack (HJ) and Cutoff (CO): Mix calling and 3-betting based on the scenario.
Against the Button: 3-betting is a sound strategy due to the wide range of the button’s opening hands.
Against the small blind: Employ a mix of calls and 3-bets.
Considering the relatively low frequency of 3-betting in most live games and lower-stakes online games, adjusting your strategy to exploit opponents is often unnecessary.
3. Confronting 3-Bets and 4-Bets
Navigating 3-bets and 4-bets with 87s involves adapting to the context and opponents’ tendencies.
• Facing 3-Bets
Against 3-bets, apply a blend of calls and folds when positioned unfavorably. In favorable positions, increase your calling frequency. In some cases, folding is appropriate when facing 3-bets from earlier positions due to their likely strong range. Remember, these strategies assume you’re up against aggressive 3-bettors striving for balance.
• Facing 4-Bets
Surprisingly, when facing 4-bets, calling with 87s can be advantageous. Its equity against 4-bet ranges, lack of reverse implied odds, and potential playability on the flop make it a strong choice. This advice applies to skilled bluffers capable of 4-betting.
4. Flourishing on Missed and Hit Flops
Maximizing your post-flop play with 87s is vital for sustained success.
• Missed Flops
Implement continuation bets when holding drawing hands like 87s on suitable flops. Balancing your range and applying pressure through these draws can lead to a mixed range of bluffs and strong hands.
• Hit Flops
Adapting to favorable flop scenarios, such as those where your 3-betting range prevails, is essential. Utilize the playability of 87s to maximize value from your strong hands while avoiding the pitfalls of slow play.
By mastering these strategies, you can harness the potential of suited connector 87s and transform it from a favored yet potentially problematic hand into a potent weapon in your poker arsenal.