In Texas Hold’em real money and free online poker games intermediate connectors such as 8,7 and 7,5 are played as they are the best hands with which you can hit a Straight with. With 8-7, you can form four Straights (three of them nuts), and with 7-5 you can form three Straights (two of them nuts). In this free online poker coaching article we’ll look at ways to play these hands.
Intermediate connectors are not played as strongly when they Pair. For example, if you have 8-7 and the Flop comes K-7-2, you can be justifiably concerned with the King and you can fold.
It is also likely that you can flop Two-Pair. With 8-7 and a Flop of 8-7-A, you can get a person with A-K in trouble.
If both of you continue until the end, and your opponent’s hand doesn’t improve, he will slow it down trying to show it down. If he improves, you will know if he bets, and you can just pay him off. He can pair his kicker or not, and whether he does, you still have a good showdown hand.
The best play (in your interest) is for your opponent to call all-in or move all-in on the Flop (during tournaments). However, this is only so if the difference in chips between you and your all-in opponent is great. If you have almost the same amount of chips, your 8-7 may not be good enough because your opponent may be willing only to call you with something like A-8 or, worse, 7-7.
Or he may call you with A-K and suckout when he pairs his Ace, his kicker, or when, say, a Ten hits the Turn, and another Ten hits the river then his Two-Pair is better. If one stack is small and the other large, and you have the small stack then you have a good hand someone holding an A-K may be willing to call. If you have the large stack, your all-in opponent may be desperate for a call with his A-x (without Two-Pair) until he knows you have him steamrollered.
Usually you continue playing Two-Pair until you hit a Full House. With that hand, play it as if you would play a made five-card hand – value betting, pretending to bluff, slow-playing (pick your choice). However, if the Board comes 8-7-5, you might be willing to play it more slowly because if the Board comes Four, Six or Nine, your Two-Pair may be almost unplayable.
During the Flop, bet substantially to push a Straight draw out. If your opponent calls, it may signify a Straight draw. If your opponent moves all-in or pushes you all-in, then call – or not call.
You are still the favorite over a Straight draw. You can also hit a Full House later. But also you can choose not to call because your opponent may have a made Straight. In an 8-7-5 board, the possibility of a Flopped Straight is quite low because players do not play 9-6 or 6-4 that much.
But you should be careful in a Board of 8-7-J or 8-7-4, because their connectors are consecutive numbers, i.e. 10-9 and 6-5, and players, especially experienced ones, play these more often.
However, even if the Board comes something like 8-7-4-5-Q, as long as you are sure, or even half-sure, that your opponent doesn’t have the Six, bet a small bet on the river. If your opponent has 9-8 or Q-x, you may be paid off.
If your opponent had the Six, you may be pushed, but you can fold without losing much. The thing is, you should maintain your aggression most of the time as part of your image, and you can do this by value-betting. If your opponent didn’t have the Six, he may think that you had the Six, and he may fold, too.
And finally, here is an addendum to our earlier example. If you have 8-7 and the Flop comes K-7-2, you can fold. But you can also call a bet – you hope that your opponent had A-K – and if an Eight comes and you bet big, how will your opponent know you had another Eight in the hole? So long as you feel your opponent doesn’t have K-8 or K-7 (not likely) both of you can get it all-in on the Turn – and you’ll emerge almost a winner.
This is a fairly complex subject so if you’re not quite getting it then go play free poker at NoPay to learn it the only real way possible which is to do it for real but learn to play poker free so that any mistakes you make don’t cost you anything apart from time.