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Learning to Play Loose

Most intermediate poker players love playing tight and aggressive. Playing a strong starting hands is the easy, quick, black and white way to play poker. Tight and aggressive can be played both pre or post flop. However, the best players vary their game, playing a range of hands to increase their winnings. Advanced players play the cards rather than the situation.

Reading the Grey Areas
The best poker players can play a speculative hand such as suited connectors to win as well as a more concrete, black and white winning hand that anybody can play to win. Playing a speculative hand is the difference between good and great.

Suited connectors are favored over other speculative hands because of their ability to draw to both straights and flushes. Suited connectors are often well disguised, and they can end by making big hands such as two pair or trips out of a trap laid for your opponent.

Suited Connectors Easy to Play
The nice thing about suited connectors is that they are also relatively easy to play, because they are drawing hands most of the time. All you need to play them is understanding the odds and figuring out when to draw. And since it’s a drawing hand, suited connectors are best played in the late position so that you can watch what your opponents do first. This gives you a better read on the pot count, identifies the aggressive, impatient players and reveals other factors to help you along to the win.

When to Play is as Important as How to Play
Skilled poker players know the odds for drawing a flush are 4-1. This should tell you that should you flop a flush or a straight draw, you are in good shape. Especially if you have two or more competitors who are likely to call and someone bets at the pot. The only decision for you is whether to play your suited connectors pre flop. Playing in the late position should allow you to see who is limping into the hand before you decide to play yours.

The idea is to have three to four limpers. Fewer than 3 is not good because it cuts down on the number of possible callers and hurts the pot. This is why you want to play in the late position on the button or the cut off. These are the ideal places for suited connectors.

When the Odds Are Against You
It is possible but not advisable to play suited connectors in the early position because the odds are against you. The odds are 8-1 to flop a flush or a straight draw. In other words, it means that most of the time, you will not flop a draw, so you need to make sure that there are many players in the pot before you do. This is why we want to stress that playing suited connectors in the late position is best and safest when playing behind many limpers.

After the Flop, Then What?
The easiest way to play after the flop is a simple call or fold strategy. If the cards fall in such a way to allow you to draw a straight or flush, do it. Some things to consider however, include heavy betting, drawing to the lower end of a straight, or drawing other weaker hands. Take stock of the situation, determine your best option before showing your cards, so to speak. Remember the KISS rule-keep it simple and straightforward.

Semi bluffing is another ploy used by the tight-aggressive player. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Semi-bluffers often pick up pots when the odds are not in their favor by scaring off the initial betters. Semi-bluffers can usually get past a caller or two since callers show the weakness of their hand by calling instead of raising. However, this article is not focused on bluffing. There are plenty of articles elsewhere on this site that delve deeper into the subject

Suited Connector Endgame
Played correctly, suited connectors will make you a lot of money. All you need to do is to scope out the situations and read when to enter the pot, when to draw and when to fold, just like Kenny Rogers says in the song. Pay attention and you will be able to expand your game, able to handle all comers in any situation.