nine-seven suited

How to Play Nine-Seven Suited in Cash Games

Nine-Seven suited is a fun hand.

With it’s straight and flush potential, you tend to have a lot of room to maneuver after the flop.

But there are potential pitfalls — namely, playing it in the wrong situations — that you must avoid if you value your chips.

In this article, I am going to cover:

  • How to play Nine-Seven suited in a variety of preflop situations
  • 6 tips for playing Nine-Seven suited on the flop (3 tips for when you miss and 3 tips for when you hit)

Let’s begin!

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How to Play Nine-Seven Suited Preflop in Cash Games

In this section, I’ll cover playing Nine-Seven suited in a variety of different preflop situations. Keep in mind this advice is specifically for cash games with no antes (tournaments are a different animal).

It’s critical to consider both your position and the positions of your opponents when deciding whether or not to play Nine-Seven suited before the flop.

Here are the positions that will be referenced in this section:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened Pots

Although it’s a pretty-looking hand, you should only open-raise with Nine-Seven suited when you’re the Cutoff, Button, or Small Blind. I advise folding it from all earlier positions.

It is simply too weak to profitably raise from positions like UTG or the Lojack. It has poor blocker qualities and is almost always dominated when called.

Note: If you think you have a big skill edge over the players at your table, you can consider raising this hand from the Hijack as well.

Against a Raise

When facing a raise, you should usually fold Nine-Seven suited in cash games.

The one exception is when you’re seated in the Big Blind.

You should always continue with Nine-Seven suited from the Big Blind for three reaons:

  1. Nine-Seven suited has good equity,against the range of hands with which your opponent raises.
  2. You are closing the action.
  3. You already have 1 blind invested, which means you get to enter the pot with good pot odds.

But that leads me to a critical question…

Should you just call or should you re-raise from the Big Blind with Nine-Seven suited?

The answer to this question depends on the position of the preflop raiser.

According to computer-generated poker strategies, you should just call with Nine-Seven suited the vast majority of the time. However, the computer likes to mix in some re-raises (i.e. 3-bets) at a low frequency against all positions.

With a few clicks in Upswing Poker’s upcoming cash game training tool (the Lucid GTO Trainer), we can see how the Big Blind plays Nine-Seven suited against a Cutoff raise:

I’ll explain what we’re looking at below the image.

nine-seven suited vs cutoff raise

On the bottom right side, you can see here that the computer just calls with Nine-Seven suited 95% of the time. But it does mix in 3-bets 5% of the time as a sort of preflop semi-bluff.

All of this being said, these small frequency 3-bets don’t matter that much. If you’re more comfortable always calling in this situation, you aren’t leaving significant value on the table by doing so.

However, you should be 3-betting with at least some of these playable suited hands out of the Big Blind. If you look again at that screenshot, you’ll notice hands like Ten-Nine suited (T9s) and Jack-Nine suited (J9s) get 3-bet by the computer at a high frequency.

Mixing in these preflop semi-bluffs makes you much less predictable and tougher to play against. So, even if you opt-out of the Nine-Seven suited re-raise, make sure you’re at least going for some of these other suited connector re-raises!

Against a 3-Bet

When you raise with Nine-Seven suited and face a re-raise, you should mainly fold unless these two factors are working in your favor:

  1. You have position on your opponent.
  2. Your opponent used a relatively small 3-bet size (less than 4 times your raise).

For example, if you raise from the Cutoff to $15 and the Small Blind 3-bets to $45, you can call because you have the advantage of position and you’re getting great pot odds.

But if the Small Blind made it $65 or if it was the Button who 3-bet you, get out of the way and move onto the next hand.

Against a 4-Bet

If you’ve 3-bet with Nine-Seven suited and get faced with a 4-bet, you should always fold. This hand simply doesn’t have enough equity (nor does it realize equity well enough) to profitably continue.

3 Tips for Playing Nine-Seven Suited When You Miss the Flop

You’re only going to flop a pair or better around 35% of the time with Nine-Seven suited. These tips are for the other ~65% of the time — when you’ve completely missed or flopped a draw.

Tip #1 – Play strong draws more aggressively than weaker draws

When you flop an open-ended straight draw, flush draw, or combo draw, you should lean towards a more aggressive approach. These hands have a solid likelihood to improve to a straight/flush, making it advantageous to boost the pot size. Playing these draws aggressively also balances your range — i.e. makes your strategy less predictable.

If you just called preflop from the Big Blind, consider a check-raise with your strong draws.

For example, suppose you call before the flop with and the flop comes . You check to the aggressor and they bet small.

Take a look at how the Lucid GTO Trainer recommends playing your against this bet on the flop:

97s vs flop bet on 8-6-2

The computer really likes raising with 9-7 on that 8-6-2 flop, especially when it has a flush draw or backdoor flush draw to go with it

Most of the time, the computer check-raises with on the flop. If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Forcing your opponent to fold when you have just nine-high is an awesome result. And should your opponent call, you have (at least) 8 outs to improve to a super strong hand.

If you were the preflop aggressor, on the other hand, continue your aggression on the flop with a bet.

For example, suppose you raise before the flop with and the flop once again comes . Your opponent in the Big Blind checks. You should usually bet in this situation.

The same principles apply. You either force the fold and win the pot with nine-high or you go to the turn with 8 outs to make a super strong hand.

In contrast, gutshot straight draws are considerably weaker since they only have 4 outs to improve to a strong hand. You can still play these weaker draws aggressively sometimes, but you should be less apt to do so compared to the stronger draws.

Tip #2 – Backdoor flush plus straight draws can make great bluffs

You can’t just count on gutshots, open-enders, flush draws, and combo draws to balance your value hands; there just aren’t enough of them!

That’s where backdoor draw hands come in!

For example, let’s say you raise from the Button with and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes .

In this case, it’s a good idea to make a c-bet. You’ve have three possible backdoor straight draws ( + , + , and + runouts), plus a backdoor flush draw (runner runner diamonds). You also have 3 direct outs (any ) to make second pair, which might be the best hand.

These extra escape hatches, if you will, make this hand a solid choice to bluff on the flop.

Tip #3 – When you’re out of position, backdoor draws are not enough

Let’s reverse the last example and say you defended your Big Blind with the versus a raise. The flop comes and you check.

If you face a bet in this situation, you should just fold. You do have those backdoor draws, but it’s just not enough to justify anything but a fold.

Even though it’s the same hand on the same board, this is a much different situation to tip #2. It’s a much worse situation because you are out of position and you weren’t the player who raised preflop.

The player who raised preflop has a much stronger range of hands. They can have the overpairs ( and ) and top set ( ) which you cannot have — because you would have re-raised before the flop with those powerful starting hands.

It might be a bit of an obvious tip, but you should simply fold these hands and move onto the next one.

3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop

Let’s talk about playing your Nine-Seven suited when you actually hit a pair or better!

Tip #1 – Fast-play when you flop two pair or better

When you hit your money-makers (two pair, trips, straights, flushes), play them aggressively ASAP!

If you were the preflop aggressor, continue your aggression with a bet. If you were the preflop caller from the Big Blind, go for a check-raise.

Slow-playing simply wins you less money, on average, especially considering how most people play. The average opponent at your table is probably too passive, which means they’re quite likely to check it down themselves. Don’t let them do that. Build the pot and try to win the maximum!

Tip #2 – Try to keep the pot small with middle pairs

Stick to the mantra “Medium Pairs, Small Pots.”

Keep it low-key with middle and third pairs, favoring a passive approach. Strive for a cheap showdown but ramp up the pot size if you eventually improve to trips or two pair. Or, if it checks down the river, you can consider going for a value bet.

For example, say you open-raised from the Button and the Big Blind called. The flop comes . You should check back with your Nine-Seven suited.

Betting will force folds from weaker hands (for the most part) while getting called by stronger hands. That is the opposite of what we are looking for!

If you check and face a bet, it gets fairly complicated. There will be situations where calling down is appropriate, but you need to be cautious and pick your spots wisely.

The topic of when to call down with a marginal hand is beyond the scope of this article. But you can read this article about bluff-catching or take this bluff-catching quiz to hone your skills.

Tip #3 – Okay, you actually should consider slow-playing in very specific scenarios

I already mentioned that you should fast-play your strong hands the vast majority of the time. For this tip, however, I am going to share with you some scenarios in which slow-playing actually is the optimal strategy.

The first situation in which slow-playing can make sense is when you flop a flush on a board with at least one high card.

Let’s say you open-raise from the Cutoff with and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes . In this scenario, slow-playing is an appropriate strategy at least some of the time

This is because, on this monotone board texture, the Big Blind has the nut advantage. In other words, they have more flushes in their range. Because of this, you must protect your checking range by checking with some strong hands in addition to your weak/marginal ones.

This part is going to get a bit advanced, but try to stay with me and feel free to ask questions in the Upswing Poker Discord server if you need clarification on anything.

If you bet on the flop with too many of your flushes, you can get countered extremely hard (at least theoretically) once you check back. The opponent can do this by overbetting massively on the turn/river, both with thin value and a ton of bluffs. And because you have so few flushes in your flop-checking range, there is little you can do to stop it.

Another spot in which slow-playing is appropriate is when the flop has at least one made straight possible.

Suppose you open-raise in the Cutoff with and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes rainbow. Your two pair is a strong hand, but it’s far behind the 3 possible flopped straights. Additionally, if the turn is a , , , or , your hand will really shrivel up because there will be 4 cards to a straight on the board.

With so many flopped straights possible and so many bad turns, you shouldn’t be super pumped to invest a lot of money in the pot on the flop. So, go for the check at least some of the time!

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the 10-minute guide to playing Nine-Seven suited. Play smart, add a dash of aggression when necessary, and let those suited cards do their thing!

That’s all for this guide! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new from it. If you have any questions or feedback leave me a comment in the section down below!

If you want to read more starting hand guides like this, scroll down to “Related Posts” and pick the hand you want to learn about!

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: The Lucid GTO Cash Game Trainer is amazing for coming up with strategies you can take to the table.

You can use it to practice against “perfect” opponents and get instant feedback on your play. Or you can browse entire strategies for any common spot.

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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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