Eight-seven suited is a starting poker hand that experienced players love to be dealt, but why? Whether you’re playing online poker or live, it’s a strong, versatile hand that enables you to pile the pressure on your opponents and ride the draw to fantastic potential wins. To get better acquainted with this winning poker hand, guided by some top tips, read on!
Suited Connector 101
As a starting poker hand, eight-seven suited falls into the category of suited connectors. These are hole cards that are in the same suit and follow one after the other, from three-two all the way through to ace-king. Suited poker connectors can draw to form both flushes and straights in combination with the community cards. Suited poker hands further apart in sequence, known as suited gappers (for example, eight-six,) can also do this, but connectors have the highest drawing potential. As a result, connectors give you the flexibility to make plays that wouldn’t make sense if you were holding premium pocket pairs. Connectors also open up the possibility of semi-bluffing for additional chances to win. (If you do find yourself holding suited gappers – especially if the gap is large – you’ll need to know how to play top pair weak kicker.)
In cash games, large stacks increase the value of suited connectors because of the larger implied odds. Also, connectors can create monsters that are hard to spot until they hit. This accounts for Doyle Brunson’s famous “poker paradox” whereby “big hands,” such as pocket aces and pocket kings, statistically tend to win small pots, while “small hands,” such as eight-seven suited, tend to win bigger pots.
Eight-seven suited is ranked as one of the top 20 percent of desirable starting hands. With it, you can flop a strong draw or combination hand. This is when your hand has the potential to draw to form more than one winning hand. Say, you’re playing Texas Hold’em with eight-seven spades in your hand. The flop comes five-spades, six-hearts, queen-spades. With two community cards in the same suit, you have a flush draw and an open-ended straight draw (that is, a straight draw with four outs at both ends.)
Another strong combination flop would be five, six, eight, giving you an open-ended straight draw as well as a top pair and the potential to improve to trips. Even though you don’t have a made hand, you’re a favorite to have the strongest hand at this stage of the game.
With flops like these, you can make aggressive plays and potentially win large pots. That said, you also need to have good fold discipline when the flop doesn’t go your way.
How To Play Cash Games With Eight-Seven Suited
There are three main scenarios to plan for if you want to incorporate eight-seven suited into your poker cash game strategy. These are how to act before the flop, when you hit the flop, and when you miss the flop.
In a six-max game, eight-seven suited has such great postflop potential that you can raise from any position when it folds to you. Avoid limping at all costs. You don’t want to invite opponents into a multi-way pot that lowers your expected value.
When you’re facing a raise, position becomes important. If you’re in hijack position or earlier, it’s generally correct to fold. If you’re in the cutoff, the baseline is to fold unless you have specific reasons to target the preflop raiser. If you do, you should either three-bet or call, bearing in mind that aggressive players behind you may try to squeeze you out.
On the button, you can fold, call, or three-bet, depending on the raiser’s player type and position. If you’re not sure, fold. In the small blind, you should fold to avoid being first to act postflop. In the big blind, you’re closing the action at a low cost, so it’s always correct to call or three-bet.
You Hit the Flop
If you were the preflop aggressor and you connect with the flop, it’s generally correct to continue (call or raise.) Obviously, it’s situation-dependent, but there are some tips you can take with you. Say the flop gives you middle or third pair (for example, with ten-spades, eight-clubs, four-diamonds.) This situation calls for a passive approach so that you can reach showdown as cheaply as possible, hopefully improving to two-pair or a set. It’s also correct to be passive when you’re out of position with a top pair on an unpaired board (for example, eight-six-four unpaired.) Your top pair is vulnerable, so you don’t want to inflate the pot.
By contrast, if the flop gives you trips or two-pair, you want to bet and build the pot early. Don’t slow-play your hand, or you might lose value on later streets.
You Miss the Flop
If you don’t connect with the flop, but you have a gut shot straight, open-ended straight, or flush draw, simply put pressure on your opponent. Play a semi-bluff and hope that you hit on the turn or river. Be sure to balance your range by mixing in some bluffs. The risk is that even underpairs will beat you if you miss, but in the long term, the math is on your side.
Get Your Poker Hand in at BetMGM
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