Pocket Tens are a huge source of frustration for poker players.
It’s a complex starting hand that requires strategic decision-making both before and after the flop.
Despite its challenges, pocket Tens remain one of the strongest starting hands that can be dealt. So let’s take some time to delve into the science of pocket Tens, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses, and providing valuable tips for playing this hand better both preflop and postflop.
The Complexity Of Pocket Tens
TT is almost never a poker player’s favorite starting hand. This is typically because:
- There is an overcard on the flop (and no set) for TT almost 63% of the time.
- TT as an overpair on the flop is vulnerable to being outdrawn postflop (4 overcards that can hit turn or river).
- TT can be a tough hand facing a lot of postflop action.
- Even when we flop big, TT has a higher chance of being outdrawn by the river compared to bigger pairs like JJ+.
- TT is fairly indifferent when it faces a 3bet after opening from the CO and earlier.
So it’s not just a preflop issue, nor just a postflop issue – it’s that TT has tougher decisions to make at every inflection point in a hand. And even common mistakes can cost you dearly.
How To Play TT Preflop
When it comes to preflop play with pocket Tens, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
Firstly, be prepared to play more aggressively when facing 3-bets and 4-bets in later position wars. In these situations, the 3bet range of hands is usually wider, allowing for more aggressive play with pocket Tens.
However, when it comes to early position wars, it may be more advisable to take a more cautious and calling approach.
When TT Faces A 3Bet
As a default strategy, pocket Tens should be defended against three bets.
However, there is one specific scenario where folding pocket Tens can be the correct move. If you open from early position and face a massive 3-bet from an opponent with position on you, overfolding with pocket Tens can be a sensible decision.
This situation is often overlooked by many players, but it can be a profitable adjustment to make. Especially if you play live and the 3-bet sizes in your games are already quite large.
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Squeezing Preflop With Pocket Tens
When it comes to squeezing with pocket Tens, the position of the original raiser plays a crucial role.
If the opener is in later position and there are one or more callers, squeezing with pocket Tens is a typical and profitable move.
However, if the opener is from early position and there are callers, opting to call instead of squeezing becomes a more prudent strategy. Adjusting your play based on the raising position of the opener can significantly improve your chances of success.
How To Play Postflop With Pocket Tens?
There are an impossible number of exact postflop permutations when you hold TT. But let’s break this down into spots where we smash with TT, flop an overpair, and have to deal with 1 or more overcards.
Starting with the most common occurrence first…
When TT Faces Overcards
When pocket Tens are faced with one or more overcards on the board, playing passively becomes the preferred approach.
Checking as a default action is advisable in these scenarios.
Additionally, when pocket Tens become second-pair postflop, it is best to play for at most a single street of value. Attempting to extract value beyond this can often lead to losing more pots and bigger pots than necessary.
And as a general note, pocket Tens in these situations should hardly ever be turned into bluffs.
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Playing TT As An Overpair
When pocket Tens flop an overpair, it’s actually still a quite vulnerable hand.
To counter this vulnerability, it is often recommended to consider betting large. Large bets, and sometimes even overbets, can apply pressure to opponents on boards such as 9-5-2.
This solver-approved strategic sizing can help maximize your profits and exploit your opponent’s tendencies.
When TT Flops A Set
Flopping a set or better with pocket Tens is an absolute powerhouse.
In these situations, it is almost always profitable to play for stacks, unless the board is heavily coordinated or multiple straights or flushes are possible.
By selecting optimal bet sizes and capitalizing on your opponent’s tendency to continue, you can build big pots quickly and take full advantage of the strength of your hand.
Avoid slowplaying, unless it’s top set exactly on a super dry flop.
Pocket Tens Conclusion
Pocket Tens, although a challenging hand, can truly define a player’s poker abilities. By understanding the complexities of preflop and postflop play with pocket Tens, you can improve your game and make better decisions when faced with this hand.
Through aggressive preflop strategies and calculated postflop tactics, you can turn pocket Tens into a profitable hand in your poker playbook.
Remember, the science of pocket Tens is just one aspect of the vast world of poker strategy. If you’re looking to further enhance your skills, consider exploring advanced poker workbooks and leveraging poker software tools like Flopzilla Pro and GTO+.
By combining theoretical knowledge with practical applications, you can become a more well-rounded and successful player at the tables.
So, next time you’re dealt pocket Tens, embrace the complexity, utilize the science, and make informed decisions every step of the way.