How to Play a Flopped Set of Tens Against a Continuation Bet
DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em cash game, the player sitting under the gun calls and a middle position player raises. You call from the cutoff holding , the button calls, and after the blinds fold the UTG player calls as well.
The flop comes . The UTG player checks, and the player in middle position bets approximately 75 percent of the pot. The action is on you...
PRO ANSWER: Preflop we could make a strong case for reraising this hand. But given the first-in UTG limp and smallish raise size by the middle position player — as well as the relatively deep stacks — this was a good spot to play pocket tens as a speculative hand for set value.
Once we flop top set, the first inclination from many players here is to slow play their hand. We are all for maximizing value with our big hands, however, is slow playing here the best play? When looking at slow playing there are several factors we want to consider.
How many players saw the flop? The more players that see the flop the more likely it is that someone else has made a hand, and if someone else has made a hand we want to start building a pot now on the flop so that we maximize our chances of getting our opponent's entire stack.
How coordinated is the flop? Coordinated flops connect with more opponents, meaning it's more likely for us to get action if we play our hand quickly now. This is a very coordinated flop. The only thing that could make it more coordinated would be if there were two of a suit out.
Note that not only does flop coordination mean that it's more likely someone else hit the flop, but it also means if we decide to slow play there are a lot more scare cards on the turn. Any , , , , or potentially kills our action. That's 20 cards, or pretty close to half the deck!
This is a terrible spot to slow play the flop, so when the preflop raiser bets this is a mandatory raise spot for us, and we'll happily get stacks in the middle. Against any reasonable opponent's hand range, we are well ahead with top set.
Raising is the best play.
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