T♠T♦ with 16BB, what do you do here?

TT Preflop with 16BB-optimized.png

In a Tournament, you have 16 big blinds and are dealt T♠T♦ first to act at a 9-handed table. What do you do?

PRO ANSWER: With 16 big blinds, open-shoving TT from the UTG seat is definitely profitable, so folding is not an option. The question is whether raising to a smaller amount would show a higher profit.

Often with awkward stacks of 10-20 big blinds, raising a smaller amount gives our opponents the opportunity to reshove with hands that we have beat, which makes raising instead of shoving the play with the higher expected value.

However, the fact that we are sitting UTG greatly mitigates that effect, since our perceived hand range is fairly strong when we raise (or shove) with 16 big blinds from UTG. This hurts our ability to get value on our hand from this position.

That said, another benefit to raising instead of shoving is that we can get away from our hand when there is significant action behind (such as multiple all-ins) which would indicate that we are behind with our TT.

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EP3 - Preflop Calling v2 300x250.png

Also, when we open-raise instead of shove, we can also get further value when our opponents call preflop with hands with which they wouldn't call a shove. We often win pots on the flop or later against these types of hands.

Overall, raising to a smaller amount instead of shoving is a more profitable play. However, if we are up against trickier opponents who likely have a postflop skill edge against us, simply open-shoving is also profitable in this spot.

Open-raising to approximately 2.5 big blinds is the best play

What would you do here?
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