Getting Dominated in Small Suites – By: John Anhalt

I often daydream of flopping sweet nut flushes while grinding away at my 8 table setup online. Poker is so easy when you flop the nuts for some reason. It’s so tempting to open just about every suited ace regardless of position, but A2s-A9s just don’t seem to do that well anymore in earlier position in most of today’s online games.

Every issue we’re going to cover some of the most common mistakes most players make based on analysis and results of millions of hands from Leak Buster. I’ve had the benefit of being able to analyze massive amounts of raw data from thousands of winning and losing players, and my goal is to zero in on some easily (and some not so easily) correctable mistakes that most players make.

Statistically, one of the easiest leaks to correct is to fold more of your A2s-A9s hands in early position (in 6-max or full ring games). Now this doesn’t mean you should always be folding them. You’re in a game where you don’t have an aggressive cut-off or button, and you have fishcakes in the blinds, then you’re opening all day. Most tables today, we just simply won’t be that lucky.

A common opening range UTG (under the gun) in 6-max games is between 12-20% of total hands. In Full ring it’s a bit tighter at 9-15%. If instead of opening A2s-A9s you open 55+, ATo+, KJo+, QJo, KTs+,QJs+, JTs+,T9s, and occasionally mix in some smaller suited aces, you’ll keep a respectable opening range of between 14.5-16.5% of starting hands. A good place to be. In full ring you need to cut a few more of those hands out.  In general, just being more cognizant of not automatically opening small aces in early position, and even in middle position (or the HJ) will shave off some losses from your sessions.

Most of the marginal “trouble hands” like KJo, QJo, KTs, fair better than hands like A3s because of their multiple top pair, straight, and flush possibilities. Whereas with small suited aces you’re looking at only one top pair possibility, and domination is also a common reality if a decent amount of money goes into the pot. You can of course be dominated with hands like KJ, but flopping a better top pair, or dominating your opponents hand makes up for those times, assuming you don’t felt every time you flop top pair.

 In the end, you’ll find much more profitability in tightening up your early position range by eliminating these hands a little more often, and mixing in some hands that carry higher implied odds with straight draw possibilities. Just make sure to always think about who is in your cut off and button, and who many ATM’s you have sitting in the blinds. Good luck!