Last week, we posted an article on “How to Play Pocket Kings The Right Way in Cash Games”. Today, we will be exploring another popular hand – the King-Queen suited.

King-Queen suited can be tricky to play. For some, it’s a long-term losing hand because they just don’t know how to play it properly. For others, however, it’s not much more than a breakeven hand. In this article, we’ll discuss some strategies to help you make K-Q suited into a more profitable holding.

The King of Hearts lies on top of the Queen of Hearts. Both are face up on a wooden surface.
King-Queen suited isn’t always the easiest hand to play, but we have some advice that might help you.

King Queen Suited: A Marginal Hand?

On one hand, K-Q suited is not really seen as a premium hand like Aces or Kings. On the other hand, however, it’s far stronger than the average suited connectors. So, is it fair to describe it as a marginal hand? Let’s look at some numbers.

Up against nine random hands going to the river, K-Q suited has a theoretical equity of around 20%. That rises to 28% when playing six-handed. Those numbers are identical to A-J suited, which you might think is a superior hand at first glance.

Playing heads-up, K-Q suited is actually a fairly premium holding. You’d expect to beat a hand like J-T suited around two-thirds of the time, and you’re pretty much flipping a coin against any pocket pair from J-J downwards. Even against Q-Q, you’d only be a 35% underdog.

Knowing all of the above helps to shape the way we should play K-Q suited preflop.

Playing King-Queen Suited Before the Flop

If the pot is unopened, you should feel confident about your hand and raise from any position. If you are just called, you cannot possibly believe that your opponent’s range features the type of hands that would place you in trouble. Who is calling in that spot, K-K or A-Q?

If you end up facing a 3-bet, you should call almost all of the time, as K-Q suited is not a great 4-betting hand. But if you’re up against a 4-bet, there’s a lot to think about. It’s going to depend on who you are playing with, their attributes, and their skill levels.

A good rule of thumb–unless you’re facing off against excellent players, it’s best to simply fold to a 4-bet. More often than not, the average player is unlikely to 4-bet without a monster to justify a call.

King Queen Suited Against a Preflop Raise

It’s always better to be raising with K-Q suited than calling, but that doesn’t mean to say you should never call. Imagine a rock opening from an early position and it folds around to you in the blinds.

You know this guy is tight, so are you really happy raising here? You probably have little to no fold equity. But, to be honest, you’re much more likely to be looking at a 4-bet anyway. However, this is still an excellent hand with which to defend your blind. A call seems like the correct decision.

How to Play King-Queen Suited After the Flop

If you were the initial raiser preflop, then you would probably feel good about your kicker whenever you flopped the top pair. So, with that in mind, you should be looking to go hard in such a spot. Especially when the flop offers plenty of draw potential.

Imagine this; for a board of K(Club)-J(Club)-4(Spade), you had the top pair, second kicker. If your opponent had nothing at all, they would fold to any bet size. But if they held something like 9-8(Clubs), or better yet, they had top pair with a weaker kicker, they’d want to stick around. Therefore, in this type of situation, don’t be afraid to use a chunky bet size of anywhere between one and two-thirds of the pot.

Make them pay.

Semi Bluffing

K-Q suited can be a strong semi-bluffing hand. For example, you raised preflop with K-Q (Hearts) and the flop showed a fairly unhelpful 8 (Spade) – 5 (Diamond) – 2 (Heart). Since you opened, it would be fair to represent overpairs, so you would be able to safely put out a continuation bet. You were then called and the turn brought the J (Heart) to give you a flush draw.

The hypothetical situation above is an example of an excellent spot to ramp up the pressure with a semi-bluff. If you were to shove here, your opponent would be in a horrible situation. Even if you were called, you would have a ton of outs. The Ace of Hearts would give you the nuts, while the other 7 Hearts would give you the second nuts, and you would have another 6 cards to make the top pair.

Bluff Catching

King-Queen suited can also make an excellent bluff catcher. If your opponent 3-bet preflop, you should be calling in almost 100% of such situations, even if you would be out of position postflop. Your hand would be strong enough, and at the same time, you would be keeping the opponent honest into the bargain.

How you play on the flop depends very much on the board’s texture. You may pick up a draw, which offers the potential to pick up a nice pot. But if you hit the top pair, you should definitely try to play it passively. Allow your opponent to bet into you and afford them every opportunity to bluff to maximise your returns.

Now that you understand how to best play K-Q suited, why not sign up for a free account with Natural8 and practice using the freerolls and low-stake tournaments?