How To Play Pocket 10s in Cash Games


How To Play Pocket 10s in Cash Games


A pair of cards turned up to reveal an ace of hearts and a 10 of hearts.

How To Play Pocket 10s in Cash Games


A collection of stacked casino chips with a blue background.

For beginners, pocket 10s (or ace-tens) are definitely a difficult hand to play, but it’s also a hard hand to play against if the holder knows what they’re doing and how to manage the table. Pocket tens can be an equally strong hand in multiway or heads-up pots. Play online poker regularly, and you’ll soon start to learn the tricks and see how games play out and even how to turn pocket tens into a winning hand.

Pocket 10s at the Preflop

Pocket tens make for a strong hand preflop from pretty much any position, although position can be an important factor in how you’re able to dominate the game. This is your opportunity to push the pot up in the hope that you’ll take it at the showdown, so don’t be timid in the preflop round. But one of the rules of playing pocket tens is not to be married to your hand; things in poker change at every street, and you must remain flexible and adaptable — and if necessary, even be ready to fold.

But for now, you can afford to be bold and raise, potentially forcing other players into making a difficult decision of their own. With pocket 10s, you can also 3-bet. If another player comes at you with a 4-bet, you can always call or decide to fold, especially if it’s an aggressive bet. Starting out with a raise might also flush some of the weaker players out early on, which can work in your favor.

Postflop: What Next?

A keyboard, an Ipad, a mouse, 6 stacks of poker chips, and 10, jack, queen, king, and ace of hearts on a green felt poker table.

Once the flop has been dealt, it’s time to adjust and review your position and preflop strategy, if necessary. Be prepared to see at least one overcard at the flop. If other players’ behavior and the flop lead you to believe you may still have a winning hand, here’s what to do.

Don’t Slow Play

You might be tempted to be cautious and slow play at this stage, but if you do, you’re giving equity away to other players. The point is to turn your pocket tens into as profitable a winning hand as possible while you still have a chance. 

Consider Checking

Depending on the cards dealt at the flop, you could consider checking. As poker hands go, yours might still be strong, but its strength is diminished by the cards dealt at the flop. You can always start betting again at the next street.

Danger at the Turn

If the flop was good for you, but the turn draws a dangerous overcard and your hand is no longer the ace-10 you thought would win you the game, you need to slow your game and consider checking.

You’re Not Invincible

Although at the start of the game, you felt like your pocket 10s made you invincible, the game may play out in such a way that you realize after the turn or the river that you have less up your sleeve than you thought (or hoped). Not being fixed on your opening strategy is vital, as players show their hands (figuratively speaking, of course), and the community cards are all on the table. Some poker hand variations might look great at the outset of a game only to look like nothing later on, and players must always be ready for this reality.

With pocket tens and the possibility of the game going either way for you, it’s essential to watch your opponents and try to read them. They may be coming out aggressively with a winning hand or just bluffing, and the same goes for players who slow play while hiding something.

Exciting and Dangerous

a pair of hands shuffles a deck of cards with stacks of poker chips in the background, on a green felt poker table.

Being dealt pocket tens is both exciting and dangerous at the same time, and how the hand turns out for players can depend a lot on their style of play. Fortune favors the brave, and so those that brazen out the flop by raising (hereby weeding out a bunch of players from the get-go) means you can gain some control of the pot. If the flop dealt in your favor, you have a chance to go for the big money. Just be careful not to overestimate what some would consider a middle pair and lose control of their bankroll.

If you’re unsure of yourself, it’s a good idea to stick with cash games for a while before you enter online poker tournaments. This is because you can deal yourself out at any time if your strategy backfires. 

No Rights or Wrongs

There is no right or wrong way to play pocket tens. The same can be said of many poker hands — so much depends on other players, the community cards and when they show up during the course of the game, your position at the table and your own risk tolerance. In an online poker tournament, your tactics and strategies should probably be different from how you would play pocket tens in a cash game, so be aware, too, of those subtleties. If you play poker online, choose a cash game with players of your own level where you can flex your muscles a little without too much danger.

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