People just love to see a pair of suited cards in No Limit Hold’em (NLHE). They create excitement, drama, swollen pots, happiness and sadness in equal droves. But do they live up to the hype?

When you are holding a suited hand, you are only going to flop a flush draw 10% of the time. Not exactly something to get excited about is it? Well it gets worse. You are only going to hit the jackpot, on the turn, one in three times, which is 33%, and by the river your chances have dropped to just 6%.

As you can see the excitement isn’t really warranted, because over the long run it isn’t a profitable play.

So does this mean that suited cards should be avoided? On the contrary, but you do need to exercise some caution. Suited cards are great because they create flops that contain equity, and this allows you to barrel when you do miss your hand thus creating great semi bluff spots.

Here is an example, courtesy of Betfair Online: Imagine you have opened with Ah 3h, from the button, and the big blind has defended. The flop is Th 5s 7c and the player in the big blind checks to you holding Ad 7s.

This is a vulnerable hand for your opponent and you can put some pressure on him because you have a back door flush draw. You c-bet, your opponent calls and you head to the turn.

If the dealer puts another heart on fourth-street, to give you a flush draw, you can now bet again. It is always much better to be firing as a semi-bluff than a complete and utter air ball, because if your opponent gets stubborn you can always hit your hand, and if you don’t you can fire a third barrel making it extremely difficult him, or her, to call.

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