Pocket Tens IP overpair facing barrels from an OOP 3-bettor

The mid-pair hands like JJ-99 are notoriously difficult to play in 3-bet pots when they end up as overpairs on the flop. It often feels too nitty to fold them, but it's also painful to pay off someone taking you to value town with a better overpair.

Let's review a recent hand I played and probably misplayed.

Hand 1 : TT Defending vs wide OOP 3-bet with flop overpair

I raise T♠T♣ to $50 in the cutoff and face a 3-bet from a reg in the SB. I've played with this reg a bit and would categorize him as having reasonable ranges that would lean towards the loose side. I call and the flop comes:

Effective stack size is $1500.

9♦️ 7♣ 2♠

Pot : $400, effective stack size : $1300

SB bets $300, I call.


9♦️ 7♣ 2♠ J♠

Pot : $1100, effective stack size : $900

SB jams, I call. I felt SB had a lot of overcards in his range, and if I was ahead on the flop, some hands got there on the turn but a lot still missed. I know this reg is capable of jamming with nothing, I already have less than pot behind so I call it off.

I'm shown AJ and get felted. Given my opponent's exact hand, I'm feeling good about my call preflop but wishing I had just jammed flop.

The Ranges

Let's review the hand in PioSolver. Given this reg's profile, I'm giving him a fairly wide range, which is also a solid range since SB should be 3-betting a wide pretty aggressively vs CO, so we assign him a 9% linear range.

oop range position 8 percent range

Defending the 3-bet in position, we're taking a flop with a condensed 9% range. We're 4-betting our AA-KK and AKs, and some A5s as a bluff, and taking flops with most of our suited broadways, medium pairs, and some suited connectors. We're folding the 98s and 87s to avoid getting coolered with sucker ends of straights. In general, this is a pretty typical and simple 3-bet defend range vs a reasonably wide 3-bet.

in position 8 percent range

Facing The Flop Bet

The first question to ask in this spot is, should we call or jam flop? If we do assume our opponent has lots of suited broadways he'll continue barreling on flop, folding is not a good option even against the big sizing.

The advantage of raising is that our hand is still extremely vulnerable to overcards on the turn, or even cards that helps our opponent pick up high equity flush and straigh draws. The advantage of calling is that there's currently no strong draws on the board, our opponent will snap call us with a bigger overpair, but calling leaves the bluffs in and lets them continue barreling on the turn.

Let's see what PioSolver has to say about this spot.

The short summary is that this spot is highly sensitive to stack sizes. At lower SPR (or about 50BB starting stack), TT is a mandatory jam. At higher SPR (or about 100BB starting stack), it's a pure call. In the middle is the awkward spot where we can go either way.


At 50BB, facing the big flop lead, we should be pure jamming all our overpairs and top pair.

facing 3/4 pot lead we jam all overparis at 50 bb

What's also interesting is that we're also jamming all our Ace-King high and pocket 8s. However, our opponent should have a lot of bluffs such as A♠️4♠️. If we node lock those down to mostly be give up, we still stack off with overpairs but now fold eights and Ace-King.

facing 3/4 pot lead we jam all overpairs at 50 bb nodelock


Now let's look at 100BB.

While equities run somewhat close at 53/47 in favor of the SB, the SB realizes a much larger EV realizing 223 vs 177 for the CO. While that's not great for CO, it does mean it was profitable preflop to call about $150 to win a $400 pot.

Pocket tens is one of the hands with a big differential in EV between SB and CO in this spot, because the big bets from SB's uncapped range will lead to CO getting bluffed and folding tens to a worse hand more often.

To get those folds, SB should now be using strictly the big bet sizing, bombing the flop quite frequenty with all of it's good hands and many backdoor draw hands.

sb mostly bets 3/4 pot on this flop

Facing the big bet sizing, pocket tens is a pure call.

pure calling with pocket tens

The Turn

The J♦️ is obviously a bad card for us as it puts an overcard in our opponent's range on the board. We did pick up a gutshot straight draw, but there's a sneaky problem that we're now blocking one of our opponent's most common turn bluff, the QT open-ender. We end up folding TT on the turn more often than 88 for that reason.

Facing a big bet sizing on the turn, TT is a mixed fold, call, and raise, but mostly folding. It's probably safe to pure fold it against non-maniacs, since most players will at least slightly underbluff with the big sizing on this turn.

mostly folding tens on a jack turn

If our opponent bets quarter pot, we can just keep calling, with the same logic of calling small bets and folding to big bets on the river.


The actual stack size in the game was 75BB. Facing the big sizing on the flop, we're now in the middle where we're indifferent between calling and raising. On the turn, we stack off facing the jam. In that sense, I perhaps didn't make a mistake playing this hand. If we node lock so our opponent underbluffs flop, the solver still calls flop but starts mixing in folds on the turn. Overall, your opponent would have to significantly underbluff to not be able to stack off with TT on this turn.

Key Takeaways

  • Even against our opponent's strong range, overpairs always stack off on this dry board at 50BB but not at 100BB.
  • At 100BB, with tens we should be calling flop and on this Jack of diamonds turn, mostly folding
  • At 50BB, we should also be stacking off with eights and Ace-King, but only if our opponent finds enough bluffs that many live players will miss
  • At 75BB, we can call or raise turn, but are mostly stacking off on this turn, unless our opponent underbluffs by a significant percentage
  • The SB should capitalize on it's range advantage on this board and bet very aggressively with big sizings to get folds from better hands for its suited broadways
  • Pay attention to which hands have open-ended straight draws and keep in mind if your hand blocks those common bluffs

Enjoyed this post?

If you enjoyed this post, join our Discord here to provide any feedback, sign up for the email list on the home page, or follow Live Poker Theory on Twitter to be alerted on new posts.