We’d all prefer to have big pocket pairs like aces, kings, queens or jacks when sitting in early position. Of course, the poker gods don’t always bless us with these gifts in EP, and you’re stuck with a lot of hands that may or may not have postflop value.
Suited connectors fall into this grey area because some of these hands put you to some difficult preflop decisions. Now obviously it’s not hard to know what to do with AK(s), but suited connectors like KQ, QJ and JT draw a murkier line, and your choice to play them is entirely situational. That said, let’s take a quick look at some various angles on the matter.
Focus on the Table Dynamic in Cash Games
It’s always smart to take into account the table dynamic when playing suited connectors from EP – no matter whether you’re playing poker tournaments or cash games. However, this gains significant importance in cash games because stack sizes are often a non-factor (assuming everybody is playing with full buy-ins). As for the table dynamic, if there’s been frequent 3betting from middle and late position, it’s difficult to justify playing KQ(s) or QJ(s) from early position. However, you have more of a reason to do so if players are mostly calling or folding to preflop raises.
Table Size is Always Important
When trying to decide whether to play your suited connectors from EP, are you in a 6max tournament? Are you on a shorthanded cash game table? Or are you on a 10-handed cash table? Depending on how you answer these questions, you’ll be able to decide whether it’s worth playing something like KQ. For instance, it’s rarely a good decision to play this hand in a 10-player cash game from EP; however, it can be a smart move in a shorthanded game since there are less players to raise/reraise you preflop.
Tournament Stack Sizes can dictate your Decision
When you’re down to 6bb in an MTT and sitting in early position with QJ or JT, you don’t have the luxury of folding and waiting for better opportunities. It’s time to shove with your SC because both of these hands are actually pretty solid in this situation. So while you should avoid playing QJ or JT with a healthy chip stack, they’re definitely playable in desperate tournament situations.
Above all, remember that your choice on whether to play SC with early position will depend on a number of factors. Most often you’ll be folding these hands, but look out for the times when it is advantageous to play them from EP.