Late in a Tournament with T♠T♣, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: Late in a Tournament with blinds at 10,000/15,000 it folds to you in the Hijack and you raise with T♠T♣. It folds to the Big Blind who calls. Your opponent checks the Q♦6♠2♥ flop and action is on you. What do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are dealt pocket tens in the Hijack position at 10,000/15,000 blinds with a 15,000 big blind ante. It folds to us and we make a raise to 45,000. We should note that often at this point in the tournament a smaller raise to 37,500 or so (in some cases even just a minimum raise of 30,000) tends to appropriately thin the field and maximize pressure. Smaller raises become much more standard as tournaments progress and stacks become shallower.
The Big Blind is the only caller and checks to us on the flop of Qd6s2h. With a stack to pot ratio (SPR) of only 2 we are unlikely to be able to fold our hand at any point so we must figure out how to maximize our value versus our opponent’s range.
Many players would just be tempted to shove here to avoid having to make difficult decisions however that strategy is quite problematic. If we decide to shove in this situation it makes it extremely difficult for our opponent to ever call with a worse hand, which makes our tens essentially a bluff here that has 2 outs when called.
We could check and that would potentially induce bluffs on future streets. Any ace, king, or jack is potentially a bad card for us and there are 12 total outs left in the deck. Perhaps more importantly this is a dry board, and when we consider our entire range of hands here we would love to be able to continuation bet with hands like JTs that play well postflop but we don’t want to shove all-in with them.
A much smaller continuation bet of around 35,000 still puts a lot of pressure on our opponent. This smaller sizing may also induce them to sometimes call with worse hands such as A6s or 77 and sometimes even to check-raise bluff with hands we are ahead of.
Given the dry board texture and the fact that our overall range fares best by continuation betting here and not shoving all-in, a much smaller bet makes a lot of sense.
Betting small (around 35,000) is the best play.
What would you do here?
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