king-ten offsuit

How to Play King-Ten Offsuit In Cash Games

I’m not going to BS you here… King-Ten offsuit is a mediocre hand. But it’s still worth playing in certain situations.

If you have the right strategy and wait for good spots, you are certain to turn a profit with this hand in the long run. Helping you do just that will be the focus of today’s article.

You’re about to learn:

  • How to Play King-Ten Offsuit Preflop
  • 3 Tips for King-Ten Offsuit When You Miss the Flop
  • 3 Tips for King-Ten Offsuit When You Hit the Flop

Let’s dive in!

How to Play King-Ten Offsuit Preflop

King-Ten offsuit is only worth playing in a some situations before the flop, which makes position a particularly critical factor to consider.

For your reference, here are the positions at a poker table:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened Pots

King-Ten offsuit (KTo) ranks in the top 20% of all preflop starting hands. It is strong enough to open-raise from any position at a 6-max table.

If you are playing 9-handed, you should throw King-Ten offsuit in the muck if you are in any of the early positions (UTG through UTG+2). With so many players behind, the likelihood of someone waking up with a better hand is quite high. Also, the chance of scooping up the blinds goes down significantly.

Limping with KTo (or any hand) is a bad play that will cost you money in the long run.

Against an Open-Raise

When facing a raise, you need to be aware of your opponent’s position and also your own. 

You can play this hand profitably against an open raise only when you are in the Big Blind. This might surprise you, but this is what the solvers show us. Cold-calling or 3-betting with this hand from any other position is going to be a net negative to your bottom line (assuming you are playing in a non-ante cash game).

From the Big Blind, you should exclusively call with this hand. It’s not a good 3-betting candidate.

Against a 3-Bet

You’ve raised and gotten 3-bet. That’s a bummer, because King-Ten offsuit is far too weak to call — so just give it up. King-Ten offsuit is probably one of the worst hands with which you would have raised, so surrendering the pot is no big deal.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get free preflop charts and start playing like a pro before the flop.

3 Tips for Playing When You Miss the Flop

Tip #1 – Be more inclined to bet if you have some backdoor draws to strengthen your hand

Except on Ace-high flops, you will have at least one overcard to the board and that will always be to a strong top pair. If you have some backdoor flush or straight draw to go with it, you should be even more inclined to keep betting.

For example, say you open-raised from Cutoff with , the Big Blind calls, and the flop comes .

You should continue betting very often on this flop. You have two overcards to top pair, a backdoor King-high flush draw, and backdoor straight draws.

Tip #2 – Always bet when you flop a gutshot or an open-ended straight draw

King-Ten offsuit doesn’t have much showdown value, which makes it a great semi-bluffing hand, especially when you have outs to improve to a straight. That includes gutshot straight draws.

These hands are much better than the backdoor draws we were talking about at the previous tip because they will make the nuts on the next street a decent percentage of the time. This means they have a lot more stack-winning ability than the other category.

If you’re on the Button, open-raise , the Big Blind called, and the flop comes something like , go ahead and fire a c-bet.

Tip #3 – If the flop is monotone and you have no draw, you should still bet

I’m talking about boards such as or when you have .

On boards like these, King-Ten offsuit still has at least one overcard, oftentimes with at least a backdoor straight draw. Given that the hand also doesn’t have any showdown value, this is a good time to fire a small c-bet, hoping to win the pot cheaply.

3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop

Tip #1 – Second pairs should play passively for pot control

When you flop a second pair, that pair will have a very stable showdown value. That is to say that it’s not going to go down in absolute value very often since most cards that come will be below your King or Ten.

This means there isn’t an incentive to bet for protection with those hands. By betting, you also don’t get that much value from worse hands. Put these two factors together and checking becomes the better solution. 

So, if you open-raise from the Button and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes . It’s better to check back and try to win a small pot.

Tip #2 – Always fast-play your flopped two-pairs or trips

If I were to make a guide on how to lose money playing poker, checking back too often when holding a top-value hand would be the first chapter.

You should almost always work toward building the pot as soon as possible when you have a strong hand your strong hands. If your KTo hits two pair, trips, or a straight, fast-play your hand.

Tip #3 – Tread carefully in multiway pots

You can usually bet or check on the flop with your top pairs in multiway pots without having a large effect on your expected value (EV).

If you decide to bet on the flop with your top pair, you need to play more cautiously once called (or even worse, raised). This happens because the burden of defense sits on more than one player, which means the defenders get to fold more hands without making a mistake (i.e. everyone plays tighter).

Thus, when someone does call, that player will have significantly stronger ranges than what they usually have in a heads-up pot.

Final Thoughts

There you go, the 5-minute guide to smashing it with King-Ten offsuit! Make sure to stick close to these guidelines in most spots. If you want to deviate from them, make sure you have a good reason to do so!

That’s all for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new from it! As usual, if you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment in the section below this article.

Want to keep learning? I’ve written dozens of these starting hand articles, but this one was the most popular one of the year in 2023: How to Play Eight-Seven Suited in Cash Games

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get free preflop charts and start playing like a pro before the flop.


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About the Author
Dan B.

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games. I'm available for quick strategy questions and hourly coaching -- reach out to me at [email protected].

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