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Losing w/ suited connectors + small/mid pocket pairs

    • DannyHorsley
      DannyHorsley
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.12.2014 Posts: 147
      Hi all,

      So I have been on a nice little winning streak lately and I thought I'd take a break from playing poker today to study a little and go over my stats. I ran a few filters through PT4 and noticed that I have been losing money playing suited connectors and small pocket pairs. This loss is only small, though it is still a loss and therefore a leak.

      Suited Connectors
      I am currently in profit with these hands playing from MP, EP and SB. I am in a loss playing from BTN, CO and BB. Not much of a trend here but perhaps I am overplaying them in LP??

      My understanding of suited connectors is that they are great when you are able to see a cheap flop, as they allow you to potentially draw a lot of money out of your opponents when you do hit your straights/flushes (they have good implied odds).
      They are best played in position, as it is often difficult to play draws OOP. I therefore like to open in late position with suited connectors or occasionally in mid position against tighter players, as I am not extremely bothered if I get called as I still have some good equity.
      I do sometimes like to defend blinds with suited connectors, though I feel that this may be a big leak in my game, as I am almost always OOP unless facing a SB open raise.
      I also think another leak of mine is failing to give up OTF when facing a large raise. I am aware of pot odds and implied odds and feel that I apply these well, however I will often continue with a hand such as 89s when the flop comes 4 9 J only to lose at showdown to AJ.

      Small/Mid Pocket Pairs
      I am currently in profit with these hands playing from BTN, CO and MP. I am making a loss from EP, BB and SB. I nice little trend there, suggesting that I should be folding more of these hands from EP and from the blinds.

      My understanding of these type of hands or 'set mining', is that are very much "way ahead or way behind" kind of hands. If I remember correctly, you have something like a 12% chance of hitting a set and if you do, you are often not only way ahead of your opponent, but also have great implied odds as sets are often a lot more disguised in the hand, meaning you can get a lot more value out of them.
      I usually open with these hands from any position, usually 3BB. I will call using the call20 rule (if the effective stacks are 20x the amount required to call).
      I feel that one of my biggest leaks with these hands is opening too early. I love to open with small/mid pocket pairs and often it picks up a lot of folds pre flop which I can't complain with, but I feel that opening from EP is a bad idea as I am facing a lot of 3bets and then not getting the right odds to call.
      A second leak is again failing to give up in the hand when I miss my set. Take a hand history for example. I had 77 and the flop came 8 J K. For whatever reason, I took this hand to showdown and lost to QQ. An extremely stupid mistake given that I was drawing to two cards.

      I am going to go off and study a little on how to play these hands. But before I did that I wanted to post here to see what you guys all had to say about my current understandings of the hands and how you feel I could perhaps improve my game.
  • 6 replies
    • la55i
      la55i
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 27.01.2013 Posts: 7,956
      Hi DannyHorsley,

      How big of a sample size do you have? It can affect the results you see.

      They are best played in position, as it is often difficult to play draws OOP.
      This is the first thing I would say is wrong. You can call when you have the odds to call. Any hand is a lot easier to play IP when you control the game, but suited connectors are considered to have a good postflop playability. Those are better than some high equity hands like broadway combos that can be easily dominated and you don't know where you stand.

      I do sometimes like to defend blinds with suited connectors, though I feel that this may be a big leak in my game, as I am almost always OOP unless facing a SB open raise.
      What does sometimes mean? You should be defending your blinds aggressively. From BB a lot of them and from SB probably 3betting more. You might be losing with suited connectors on SB and BB because you are just folding too much? You lose 1bb every time you fold your suited connector from BB. So I wouldn't say defending those is the problem, the problem could be that you don't defend enough.

      I also think another leak of mine is failing to give up OTF when facing a large raise. I am aware of pot odds and implied odds and feel that I apply these well, however I will often continue with a hand such as 89s when the flop comes 4 9 J only to lose at showdown to AJ.
      Strong mental game is very important. You must be able to fold when you think you have to. However the situation you described is not a problem. OTF villain should be cbetting as a bluff very often. As a general rule, you can call at least one bet if you hit any pair on the flop. Just because you have a chance to hit 2pair/trips, your hand might still be the best and villain might just give up on later streets.

      Your play with small pockets might be just fine. Some do like to open UTG with 55+ only but if you open any pocket pair I don't think it is a huge problem. Two things that can affect your winnings come to my mind here. First one is variance. You need a big sample size before you can see the positional winrate of a specific starting hand. You probably need hundreds of thousands of hands. The second thing is mental game. What you described shouldn't happen. So you need a bit more discipline :)
    • DannyHorsley
      DannyHorsley
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.12.2014 Posts: 147
      Hi la55i,

      Sample is from this month only so about 12k hands.

      When I say sometimes, I mean quite frequently, though given your comments I feel that there is not problem with my blind defence, as I am defending often with a wide range, however I do feel that I should be 3betting more from the blinds rather than just calling. Could you explain for me though, why blind defence is so important?

      And yes my mental game is a big leak for me I feel. Although it has improved massively it can be a big problem. Last night for example I had two bad beats (full house lost to quads and my set lost to a bigger set). I then went on to lose my entire months profit and almost half my bank roll. :f_cry:
    • la55i
      la55i
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 27.01.2013 Posts: 7,956
      12k hand sample is really really small. To get even a bit realistic winrates by position, you would need at least that 12k hands per position = 72k hands total if you play 6max. If you start looking how specific hands are doing in specific positions you need hundreds of thousands of hands. So there is no need to start worrying or making any adjustments just based on this.

      Defending the blinds is very important because you will lose every time you fold. For example if you play quite good and winning poker on other positions but then you fold BB every single time. In 600 hands you will lose one stack. Your bb winrate would be -100/100. A decent value would be -30/100 and you can't get that by folding. Other players also try to actively steal your blinds, villains can open 50% or even more from BTN and SB to steal the blinds. Folding and losing just 0.5bb or 1bb doesn't feel like a big thing but on the long run it will be. Semi poor blind play can decrease your overall winrate 2-3bb/100 easily.

      Mental game is one of the biggest problems. And also one of the most common ones. I have had those problems also and it took some time to fix them. But it is important to start working on it quickly because even very good players will be losing players if they tilt and spew their money.
    • DannyHorsley
      DannyHorsley
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.12.2014 Posts: 147
      Im currently reading a book called ‘the mental game of poker’. I’m hoping that this will improve my mental game, even if only slightly.

      I understand the concept of stealing blinds and have been putting it into practice. In fact I think I defend rather frequently. For example I have my HUD set up to show my opponents attempts to steal rare. If I’m in BB and the BTN opens for 3BB I’ll call with almost any two cards if I feel he is stealing often (50% or higher) and especially if he’s a looser player. I do feel however that I should be 3betting more, though I can’t bring myself to 3bet against a BTN raise with 810o for example.

      Following my big loss recently I’ve been unsure what to do. I know I can win at NL10 and especially at NL5, however my last few sessions have ended with a loss. Do I go down to NL2? Play NL5 or stick at NL10? Or even play a mix? I’d like to think I could play NL10 and keep my profits high but fear that with only a small amount of money left in my 888poker account a few losses at NL10 could wipe me out.
    • la55i
      la55i
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 27.01.2013 Posts: 7,956
      The mental game of poker books are great. I have had mental game issues also and after reading those books my game was a lot different.
      Yea you should be 3betting quite frequently. Against guys who steal wide, 3betting punishes them a lot more than calling. Hands like T8o you can still fold though.
      You should have a bankroll management plan. If you still have big enough bankroll to play NL10 you can do that, but going lower in limits and building up your confidence is totally fine too. Playing scared is not a good thing and if you have so little left that just a couple of losses at NL10 can wipe you out, you definitely should play lower stakes. Or if you can deposit more money when you bust your roll, then bankroll management doesn't matter that much.
    • DannyHorsley
      DannyHorsley
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.12.2014 Posts: 147
      As always, thanks la55i for the help and advice!