king-nine suited

How to Play King-Nine Suited In Cash Games

Woof woof (get it?).

King-Nine suited is a solid hand — one that can make you a little bit of money. But more importantly, if played incorrectly, it can cost you a lot of money.

Read on if you want to avoid making those costly mistakes.

This article covers:

  • How to Play King-Nine Suited Preflop
  • 3 Tips for When You Miss the Flop
  • 3 Tips for When You Hit the Flop

Let’s dive in!

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How to Play King-Nine Suited Preflop

We are going to first take a look at how to play King-Nine suited (K9s) in a variety of common preflop situations (100bb stacks, no ante).

Position is a vital factor when deciding whether or not to play K9s. Here are the positions that will be referenced in this section:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened Pots

King-Nine suited is strong enough raise from any position at a 6-max table when you’re the first player entering the pot. But when you are playing a 9-handed game, you can fold from the first three positions.

It’s worth reminding you that this advice is for non-ante games. In games with an ante, King-Nine suited is strong enough to raise from all positions, even at a 9-handed table.

Against a Raise

When facing a raise you should pay attention to both your position at the table and the position of the raiser. Let’s split this section into four groups:

When you’re in the Cutoff or earlier: You should fold K9s from these positions when facing an open-raise.

When you are on the Button: You should always fold K9s from the Button when facing a raise, unless it was the Cutoff who raised.

If the Cutoff raises, you can continue either by calling or 3-betting. Both strategies have their merits. You could even mix between the two options.

From the Small Blind: Only continue if it is the player on the Button who raises. Fold versus all earlier positions.

Should the Button raise, you should 3-bet with K9s. Calling from the Small Blind is not something we recommend in non-ante games (see: article).

From the Big Blind: When you’re in the Big Blind facing a raise, you should never fold King-Nine suited. You should usually just call, but you can mix in some 3-betting against Button raisers, specifically.

Against a 3-Bet

You should only call a 3-bet with King-Nine suited in these 3 positional match ups:

  • You raise from the Cutoff and the Button 3-bets you
  • You raise from the Button and either blind 3-bets you
  • You raise from the Small Blind and the Big Blind 3-bets you

There are better 4-bet bluff options — ones that don’t block suited 9x 3-bet bluffs — so don’t go for the 4-bet with King-Nine suited.

Against a 4-Bet

This one is very easy. Always fold King-Nine suited versus a 4-bet.

You would get into very difficult situations all the time with a lot of reverse implied odds. Your pairs will often be dominated. Your flushes will occasionally be pipped by a suited Ace. Throw it in the muck before that happens.

3 Tips for Playing When You Miss the Flop 

Tip #1 – Check-raise sometimes when you flop a gutshot (after defending your Big Blind)

King-Nine suited has basically no showdown value on boards like , plus it has some nice equity with 4 outs to a powerful hand, which makes it ideal for semi-bluffing. You also have that one overcard to rely on for extra equity.

You’d also check-raise on these flops with strong hands like sets. Balancing out those value hands is very important, especially when playing against the same players on a regular basis.

Just be careful to not overdo it because usually there will be many gutshot straight draws possible, and check-raising all of them would lead to a highly unbalanced strategy.

Tip #2 – Bet more often than not when you have a backdoor draw (after raising preflop)

When you have some type of backdoor equity like a backdoor straight draw or backdoor flush draw, it’s usually a good time to start bluffing. Betting with these kinds of hands allows you to have a strong and balanced barreling range when draws complete on the turn.

For example, suppse you have in position on a flop. You fire the flop and the turn comes . You now have a double gutshot to leverage for another bet and, since other draws (like have completed, your opponent will fold her marginal hands versus another barrel.

Tip #3 – Bet your flush draws (after raising preflop)

Second nut flush draws are top-tier bluffing hands with powerful potential. You have a roughly 36% chance of hitting the flush on the turn or on the river (and that’s not including your potential pair outs).

You should balance out your value hands by also betting with hands like these. Keep your opponent guessing!

3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop

Tip #1 – Always fast-play your strong hands

This is by far the most important tip for your win-rate. Basically everything a solver does — from daring bluffs to sneaky preflop plays — is to accomplish the goal of getting paid when it has a strong hand. Missing value is the highest sin in the bible of poker strategy.

This means that you should almost always lean towards building the pot immediately when you have a strong hand like two pair, a set, a straight or a flush.

Start betting, raising or check-raising as soon as possible!

Tip #2 – Top pairs with the King should be played more passively

Compared to the top pairs that you can hit (which I will cover in the next tip), the King-high top pair is significantly less vulnerable since only an Ace can downgrade its value to a second pair.

Not only that, but the kicker that it comes with is significantly weaker than say , or . All of this means that building a pot right away is not as necessary.

You should often check on the flop, delaying your value bets to the turn and then barreling on most rivers. This also gives your opponent the chance to bluff or catch up just enough to pay you off.

To give you an example, say you open from Middle Position and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes . This is a very reasonable hand to check.

Tip #3 – Top pairs with the 9 should be played more aggressively

On most boards, the top pair that you’ll hit with the will not be strong enough to value bet for three streets.

on 9-high boards are usually worth betting two streets for value, and it’s usually better to extract this value by betting flop and turn (rather than check-bet-betting or bet-check-betting).

The reason for this is that when the board is 9-high, there will be a lot of runouts that are bad for your hand. Any card above a nine will really hurt your hand’s strength. So, let’s get that value on the flop (before an overcard even has a chance to fall) and deny equity!

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a quick and easy guide to help you profit with King-Nine suited.

If you have a particular hand you’d like to see covered on this blog, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

You could also check out this one:

Until next time, good luck, grinders!

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About the Author
Dan B.

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games. I'm available for quick strategy questions and hourly coaching -- reach out to me at [email protected].

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