How Much Better Are Suited Cards Really?


Maybe you heard from experienced players or seen it from your graph that you do much better with suited hands than their offsuit counterparts. While the difference is not substantial preflop, it does add up significantly in terms of card playability post-flop. Especially in multiway pots.

Have you ever make an in-depth check at how much better are suited cards? Don’t worry, I have. And today, I will show you what I found out.

Suited cards are 2.5% to 4% better in terms of equity compared to offsuit hands. A suited hand will win about 2.5%-4% more often than off suited one, depending on the hand, if all money goes in preflop. In reality, suitedness gives a hand a lot of postflop playability, and therefore you will make much more money with them than offsuit hands.

Poker is a game where the majority of money is made post-flop. Therefore having connected, suited, and high cards will make you a lot more money than hands that don’t fit into that criteria. Having a suited hand will help you a lot. Once you hit a flush, you can start extracting a lot of value from the opponent.

Suited vs. Offsuited hand Comparisons

Odds of being dealt a suited hand are around 24%. The rest of your hands will be off suited. This is because every suited hand has four different possible card combinations. On the other hand, there are 12 different card combinations to get dealt offsuit hand of the same value. Of course, there are pairs that are offsuit, but they belong in a separate category.

From the tables below, you can only see the preflop equities. Don’t disregard the postflop playability of the hand. Many offsuit hands are evident folds preflop, while many of suited hands can be played. That is precisely because of suitedness.

Having a flush draw on flop or turn gives us the ability to bet aggressively and try to take the pot down with a semi-bluff (we have a draw, that we can hit on the river, but we don’t have any pair yet). With no help and just overcards, often, the correct play is to fold on turn or flop.

On the other hand, having a flush draw can be a deciding factor against folding on flop or turn. We can also decide to go for a cheeky check/raise here and there if we hold the draw.

Against pairs

As you might expect, suited cards do better against pairs than offsuit ones. For example, AKs have 46% to win preflop against QQ. Off suited AK has only 43.25%.

Let us compare a few hands to some pairs:

Our hand Equity against 22 TT AA 22+ (all pairs)
89s 53.4% 18.3% 22% 36.7%
89o 51.2% 14% 18% 33.5%
AKs 50% 46% 12% 45.6%
AKo 47.35% 43% 7% 43%
Off suit broadways, no pairs 49% 41% 13% 40%
Suited broadways 51.5% 44% 17.2% 43%

As you can see from the table above, suited hands do much better than off suited ones. On average we have about 2.5% to 4% more chances to win preflop. 

Suited hands do much better postflop against pairs also. In the case when the opponent hits a set and we hit a flush, we can expect to win a lot of money. With the off suited hand, we don’t have that chance. If there are four cards of the same color on the board, we will not get paid off by a lot.

Against No Pairs

As well as against pairs, suited hands do better against no pair hands. The chance to hit a flush or a flush draw is something that shouldn’t be neglected. When we hit a flush, and the opponent has a decent hand, he will have a hard time folding.

Pretty much the same thing, as in the table above, will happen here. Suited cards have around 3% equity advantage preflop. And there is also a massive benefit of postflop playability.

Our hand Equity against broadway, with no pairs Equity against a random hand, no pairs
89s 40% 51.7%
89o 36% 49%
AKs 70.2% 68.3%
AKo 68.75% 66.7%
Off suit broadways 50% 62.1%
Suited broadways 52.6% 64%

When playing deep, A high suit is important

All suited hands are still ok in deep pots. Hitting a flush is still valuable and adds a lot to the winrate. But now we should be careful not to be stacking off mindlessly if we don’t hold a high flush. Suited A high hands are now quite valuable. Those times that we hit the nut flush and opponent a 2nd nut flush, we will be printing money. The pot will get big for sure, and we want to be on the right side of it.

For deep pots, it matters even more to have suited hands. You don’t want to hold off suited hand when there are 200 big blinds in the pot already, and the river brings a flush. Opponents might try to steal the pot, and letting go of the enormous pot will be hurtful.

Multiway pots

In multiway pots, we want to have a suited hand. Sometimes calling preflop with high offsuit broadway hands can be alright. But generally, you should stick to suited hands in multiway pots. The higher the suit, the better.

With off suit hand, our only hope on the flop is to hit the top two pair or similar strong hand. With a suited hand, we can hit top pair. And together with a flush draw or even with a backdoor draw, it might be good enough to continue and not fold it on the flop.

Difference between suited and off suited hands is huge

From the preflop equity comparison, you might think the difference is only minor and that a few percent don’t matter. Let me show you the graph with winrates of my suited hands vs. nonsuited hands for broadway hands (without pairs of course) I have played.

The difference in money made is enormous. I played 3x as many hands with off suited broadways. Yet total money won is more significant with my suited broadway hands.

To an experienced player, this is no surprise as money in poker is made postflop. Suitedness also allows you to play multiway pots and playing deep. A5o will be an easy fold, while A5s can be considered as a 3bet hand when deep and being in position.

If you hit your flush, the pot will be big already. In the case that opponent also hits something good, then the amount of chips you can win is what makes poker worth playing for. And this is from where the real difference in my two winrates comes from.

How Often Will You Hit a Flush?

With the suited hand, you will hit a flush on flop roughly 1% of the time. The suited hand will also give you a flush draw on the flop about 10% of the time. Moreover, you can expect to hit flush by the river 6.5% of the time.

These percentages might not look like a lot. But keep in mind that once you hit a flush, you are likely going to win quite some chips. There are not many hands that beat you, and sometimes you will have the absolute nuts (strongest hand). So you can afford to start value betting heavily and extracting as much value as possible.

Conclusion

If there is something you need to remember from this article, remember the following:

  • Suited cards do much better
  • you will want to have suited hand and the highest suit as possible, the deeper you are
  • enter into multiway pots with high suited hands, fold the majority of off suited ones

If you want to practice on your own, go ahead and download PokerStrategy Equilab for yourself. Go under the Poker Tools tab and scroll to the bottom.

Happy playing.

Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

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