Should He Call All-In With Pocket Tens? (Hand Analysis)

Poker can make you feel like a one-man wolfpack.

You’re trying to win everyone’s money while they’re trying to win yours. It can be easy to feel like it’s just you versus the world.

But one of the best ways to improve at poker has always been to discuss strategy with other players. Whether through forums, chat groups, or other mediums, creating a network of poker players to discuss strategy and learn from is an easy way to fast-track your success at the tables.

To exemplify this, today’s analysis will showcase a hand and analysis taken directly from Upswing Poker’s Discord group — which just opened to the public.

Let’s dive in.

Note: Poker players from all around the world have joined Upswing Poker’s Discord Group. You can join the group now to discuss poker and improve your game.

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The Hand

The discussion began when a Discord member posted the following hand history and asked for feedback about the opponent’s range. He stated that it was his first time playing with this opponent and he had no reads:

$5/$5 Live Cash Game. 9-handed. $1000 Effective Stacks

Preflop: Hero is dealt Th Ts in the Big Blind
Button straddles $25. Small Blind calls. Hero raises $100. Button calls. Small Blind folds.

Flop ($225): 9c 5c 3d
Hero bets $100. Button raises all-in for $900. Hero…?

I’ll post the results at the end.

Before getting into the analysis, I’m curious what you would do in this spot. Vote below.

Preflop Analysis

There isn’t much to say about this preflop action since everything is standard.

Hero makes a good raise with Pocket Tens facing the Button straddle and limp. He should be raising all of the strongest hands here and his sizing of 4x the straddle is good.

Even against what is effectively an early position raise, the Button can continue with a somewhat loose range since he is getting a decent price and will get to play the entire hand in position.

Flop Analysis

To analyze the flop action, I’m now going to show you highlights of the discussion that took place in the Upswing Poker Discord.

Upswing Vice President Mike Brady kicked off the discussion with the following analysis:

My guess is his range is:

-A lot of draws with 8+ outs
-Some 9x top pairs
-Some sneaky two pairs

I would call off with Tens there. I think we’re well enough ahead of the range. I’ll run a quick equity calculation.

Mike then furthered his analysis with the following:

I was quite pessimistic with this range construction. I gave him 

-Only a handful of flush draws
-All combo draws
-Some pair + flush draws
-4 combinations of open ended straight draws 
-Many offsuit two pairs like 53-offsuit and 95-offsuit (which he may not have in practice)
-All suited two pairs
-Only A9-offsuit and A9-suited for top pair
-One set (Pocket Threes)

You need 39.5% to call profitably based on your pot odds. Even against this pessimistic range, the call is very +EV (expected value).

Most people won’t have the offsuit two pairs + might shove more draws and 9x, which would make it an even more profitable call.

Upswing’s Lead Strategy Writer Dan B. echoed Mike’s original sentiments, writing the following analysis:

Very easy call here. This is a typical type of play that you see from recreational players when the stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) is low. They fast play a ton of medium hands and draws. Mike did a very good breakdown for you here.

The key concepts for this hand are:

-Playing vs a recreational player (increased volatility/randomness)
-Low SPR (decreased value and bluff thresholds for raising)

After this, a few more members began weighing in with questions like:

  • What if the Button’s range includes more flopped sets and overpairs for value?
  • What if the Button’s range has fewer draws and one pair hands?
  • Will a recreational player really have so many bluffs / marginal hands in reality?

But after all of these questions were posed, it was determined that against any realistic range that the Button could have, Pocket Tens have enough equity to call.


Okay, so here’s what actually happened in this hand.

Hero folded with Pocket Tens after a long tank. The Button says he had Ac 8c for the nut flush draw. But the cards were never revealed.

What’s the “why” behind your vote?

Explain your thoughts in the comments below.

Hands like this showcase the importance of studying your hands after a session.

By posting this hand and asking for feedback, the Discord member was able to learn a few things, like:

  • How to use equity calculators to determine whether or not a decision is profitable
  • How different kinds of poker players analyze their hands

Not bad for just posting a hand history! That’s it for this article. Good luck at the tables this week!

Note: Join the Upswing Poker Discord for free right now to improve your game by learning from poker players and coaches from all around the world.

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