While playing $2-$5 cash games at the World Series of Poker this year, I had JH-10H on the button. Two players folded, one limped and then the next player raised to $20. The pot was $32 and the action was on me.
I love suited connectors and I have position for the remainder of the hand. I called and the blinds and limper folded. The pot was $52.
The flop was ––. Understanding the value of hitting a piece of the flop and having position, I also understand the value of what the potential of having this hand could be.
If the turn card is a heart I have a flush draw (nine more outs to improve my hand). There are two more 10s, and three nines for a queen-high straight. That means 14 cards out of 30 have tremendous potential for improvement; plus I still have second pair. I also have a heads-up situation with a player who raised preflop and apparently likes his hand.
The turn was the . The preflop raiser bet $50, making the pot $102.
This was where I had several decisions to make. I could call with second pair and a flush and inside-straight draw or I could raise to try to take down the pot, or lastly I could fold.
I decided to raise $200, making the pot $302 and making the other player have to call $150 to play for $302, which is 2.3-to-1 on his money. I never want a player to get good odds to make a call to beat me. Also, if I get raised I can re-evaluate my play. The player called and the pot was $452.
What great action for heads-up play! And I felt I was drawing to a nut hand if any of my outs hit.
The river was the . What a great card! If my opponent had an ace he would’ve improved and I could maybe get a bet from him, which will induce a call when I raise.
He checked and I bet $50, which he called. I turned over the flush and he mucked.
With second pair on the flop and an inside-straight draw after the flop, I always try to use my imagination looking forward to the turn card that can give me more outs to improve my hand.
There’s great value in second pair with suited connectors.
— Antonio Pinzari has been playing professionally since the ’70s. He’s the creator of 23 Poker and Wild Tallahassee Poker, which you can learn more about at WildTallahasseePoker.com.