One of the factors that novice and even intermediate players need to get their head around in deep stack no limit hold’em is in how hand values normalise.
Let us look at the hand A-A vs 8c-7c as an example. Now using PokerStove we can run a simulation that gives the relative equity of each hand before the flop. Assuming that the aces don’t contain a club then the A-A hand has per cent equity compared to the twenty seven per cent of the 8c-7c.
On the surface this looks like a big edge and it is. However it is also vastly misleading as well because of several very important factors. Firstly if this were a pre-flop all in situation where each player committed one hundred per cent of their stack then the aces would enjoy a 73-27 edge going in for the entire stack size.
A Different Scenario
If this was 100bb each and the pot was 200bb then the equity of the pot would give 146bb to the A-A hand and only 54bb to the suited connector. As we know though, no limit hold’em is played over four streets and not just one and so the 73-27 only applies pre-flop unless we end up all in which obviously isn’t going to happen.
If the aces raise to 3.5bb and each player has a 100bb stack then if the suited connector calls then they have only taken the worst of it on the initial three and a half per cent of their stack. If they do not hit the flop then they simply fold and only lose 3.5bb.
It is when they out flop the aces that the fireworks can really start. Let us say that the flop came Kd-8h-7s giving our hero two pair. Now their equity in the hand jumps to around 75 per cent from the original 25 per cent.
But the pot is now 8.5bb and so any follow on bet on the flop is going to be done for a greater amount of money than the pre-flop raise. The player with the aces may bet something like two thirds of the pot which is around 5bb and if our hero calls then he is placing money into the pot with 75 per cent equity that is greater than the pre-flop raise.
The Arrival of The Turn Card
So imagine if we get a c-bet of 5bb and a call making the pot 18.5bb. The turn card comes and is the 2s. Now with only one card to come the two pair hand is now a huge 82-18 favourite. It is also likely that with aces this player will bet out again to get more value from their hand or to prevent drawing hands from getting a free card.
So a turn bet may be 14bb and now the player with two pair has the option to call or raise. The bottom line is though that their opponent is placing another 14bb into the pot as an 18-82 dog. This is clearly something that they would not do if they could see the content of their opponent’s hand.
So we can see then that when the majority of the money goes into the middle then the suited connector can actually be a big favourite against the made premium pair. Now this doesn’t mean that you should go calling raises all over the place with suited connectors.
It does highlight however that in deep stack situations where each player has enough chips to bet on several streets that the suited connector is not a big underdog later on in the hand. This hand may be a sizeable underdog pre-flop but the expenditure is very small at that stage. It may be a huge underdog on the flop also but if you simply fold then there is no further loss.