Originally Posted by NineLions
I'm curious about the hearts part of your range here. I tend to throw away KJs/QTs preflop because of the combination of gap plus potential domination, but I know a some players don't worry too much about being one gapped, feeling that they play almost as well as non-gapped. What's your take on that?
I was also going to ask about 7h6h/6h5h but then I realized that might indicate a fixed deck in this hand.
KJs and QTs are OK to play on the button, I think. The typical concerns are, as you say, domination and the lesser value of one-gappers, but let's start with domination:
Domination really is not a huge concern. Its importance is bloated by the fact that a lot of people who comment on domination do so in a tournament setting - where domination really is a problem. It's really unfortunate to get it in with AJ preflop against AK. But to see a flop with a dominated hand isn't that bad - the risk of you flopping a king with KJs when your opponent has AK is the same as for flopping a set: One time out of 12. And unless you're exceptionally bad at pot control and hand reading postflop, you really shouldn't lose your stack very often when that happens. I'm not saying it's not a problem, I'm just saying that the threat of domination in a full-stacked cash game is nowhere near as bad as some might make it sound.
And about the one-gappedness: I'm not a fan of playing 86s on the button versus most opponents. The value that you have in QTs is the fact that they're high cards in combination with being suited (semi)connectors. You can beat a lot of your opponent's range by just flopping a pair, something that is harder for a hand like 53s to do.
Also, broadway suited connectors are good for another reason: Bluff value and implied odds
. They typically outdo their smaller brothers in this area because your equity versus your opponent's range on really good flops for you to bluff is much higher. I mean, a good flop to bluff is a flop with some high card on it, right, and preferably two high cards? Well, if there are two high cards on the flop, you have QTs, there's no way you don't have at least a gutshot straight draw. That extra 20% (or whatever it comes out to) of equity is most certainly nothing to sneeze at.
That said, we can't choose our cards, so if you can find an argument for 75s being profitable OTB, then play it, along with QTs. I don't, though.
About the small suited connectors: I don't typically play those either unless I expect to have pretty good implied odds on average. The problem with small suited connectors is that it's a little bit difficult to get paid off with them; when you flop a straight with 65s, it's not trivial to get a typical opponent to stack off, even at the smaller stakes. Even if he pays you off with QQ+, he's not going to have that a majority of the time, and people tend to get very, very careful about aggression on rag flops, because they know that everyone plays every pair in position so they start thinking "set!" as soon as someone raises them on a flop like 7-4-3. That's not to say that they're not going to pay you off with aces, but think twice if you expect them to play for stacks with 88.
Similarly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, it's also harder to pull off successful semibluffs with hands like 65s. If you flop 7-4-2, your opponent is going to be scared of a set, but that doesn't mean he'll snap-fold. Small suited connectors can be in that unprofitable DMZ between "high implied odds" and "easy to bluff with."