Everyone gets a slight dopamine hit when they look down the beautiful Ten-Nine Suited.
But, are you playing it right? This quick guide will help you confirm you are or help you play it better.
I am going to start by covering how to play Ten-Nine suited preflop in every common situation.
I will then give you some practical tips about playing it postflop for when you’ve missed the flop and when you’ve hit the flop.
How to Play Ten-Nine Suited (T9s) Preflop
Let’s take a look at how to play this hand preflop first! This advice assumes you’re playing a cash game with table rake and no ante.
You should open-raise with this hand from any position (in a 6-max game) and UTG+2 or later in a 9-handed game. If you’re at a relatively soft 9-handed table, you can include it in your UTG and UTG+1 ranges as well.
Against a Raise
Against a raise, you have to be attentive to which position your opponent is raising from and which position you are currently in. Those positions will determine the best course of action.
Here are the table positions for your reference:
The first key strategic note is that Ten-Nine Suited is an amazing hand with which to 3-bet. Doing so balances out the strong hands in your 3-bet range (like Pocket Aces and Ace-King). The only time I suggest calling with Ten-Nine suited is when you’re in the Big Blind or on the Button in certain scenarios. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a 3-bet or a fold.
When playing from a non-blind position, you should only 3-bet with this hand when the raise came from the Cutoff. From the other positions, T9s is a bit too weak to 3-bet (though it wouldn’t be a big mistake if you did). You can do some calling with it on the Button if the players in the blinds are particularly weak/passive.
When playing from the Small Blind, you should 3-bet when the raise came from the Cutoff or the Button. Otherwise, lean towards folding unless you really want to target the player who raised.
When playing from the Big Blind, you should always defend with this hand since you are closing the action and you are entering the pot with a significant discount. That being said, the way you should be defending with it — either by calling or by 3-betting — depends once again on the position of the preflop raiser:
- Against the Lojack, you should be mostly call with T9s. But you can also mix in 3-bets with it around 25% of the time.
- Against Middle Position or the Cutoff, you should mix between calling and 3-betting equally.
- Against the Button, you should always 3-bet.
All of this being said, unless you are playing 500NL online or higher, these mixed frequency 3-bets don’t matter that much. If you prefer to always call against the non-Button positions, go for it. It’s exploitable, but you are very unlikely to be exploited for this in a live setting or in micro to small stakes online games.
Against a 3-Bet
Mixing between calling and folding equally is best in these situations, except when you are playing from the Small Blind against the Big Blind, in which case you should always call.
When you face a 3-bet and you’re in position, you should always call after raising from the Button or Cutoff. After open-raising from Lojack and Hijack, on the other hand, you should only call some of the time and only if your opponent is a good player with a well-built 3-betting range. Against tight players, you’re better off just letting it go (unless the 3-bet is too small).
Against a 4-Bet
When you face a 4-bet after 3-betting, the solver likes to mix between calling and folding with T9s.
All of this being said, you need to play based on your opponent’s strategy. If the player you are facing has a very tight 4-betting range, then you are better off getting out of the way.
Note: Look up how to play any hand in every common preflop situation in less than 10 seconds. Get instant access to extensive preflop charts (for cash games and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course and community. Lock your seat now!
3 Tips for Playing Ten-Nine Suited When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
Tip #1 – Always bluff when you flop a draw
Let’s take an example. You raised from the Small Blind and the Big Blind called. The flop comes . You hold . This is a great spot to either c-bet small or go for the solver-preferred option, which is check-raising.
Tip #2 – Backdoor flush and straight draws make great bluffs too
If you’ve been reading these types of articles from me, you know that I’ve been harping on backdoor draws in all of them. That’s because you can’t rely only on the “real” draws to balance out the value hands. You simply won’t have enough of them!
For example, say you open-raise from the Button and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes and you hold . You should always fire a c-bet in this case as you have a lot of backdoor straight possibilities. You also have direct outs to a second pair which helps make it an awesome bluff candidate.
Tip #3 – After 3-betting in position, you should almost always fire a c-bet
Even when you completely miss the flop, your range is so strong on most boards that you should still make a small continuation bet.
For example, say the player in the Cutoff raises and you 3-bet from the Button. The flop comes . You should always make a small c-bet, even if you have .
The exception here is on low-connected boards like , on which you should check back even though you have 2 overcards and a backdoor straight draw to go with it. On this low-connected flop, your opponent’s range has too many sets compared to your range, so you need to play defensively and check back with a lot of hands.
3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop
Tip #1 – Don’t slow-play when you flop it big, especially in position
Slow-playing has its place, surely. But they are few and far between and doing it in the wrong situations lowers your profit tremendously.
This is especially true when you are in position because you don’t even have the option to check-raise. You’re better off increasing the size of the pot on the current street when you flop big.
When you are out-of-position, slow-playing can b more reasonable because you can still put in that check-raise, which exponentially increases the size of the pot.
So, if you flop a two pair or better with your T9-suited, bet or check-raise!
Tip #2 – Check back with middle or third pair in single-raised pots
Middling and third pairs are going to be medium-strength hands on most boards. These hands are best played in a passive line, looking to showdown cheaply if unimproved.
For example, say you open-raised from the Button and the Big Blind called. The flop comes . You should check back with your and re-evaluate on the turn.
Tip #3 – Play top pairs aggressively when in position in single-raised pots
When the flop is Ten or Nine-high, you have a strong top pair that is very vulnerable to future cards. There are 4 or 5 overcards, depending on your top pair, that will crumble the expected value of your hand.
For this reason, you should start with a big continuation bet (50%-80% of the pot) to cut out a lot of the overcard-type hands that the Big Blind will have in his range. Of course, you are mainly betting to get value, but you also benefit from getting hands like King-high to fold.
Boom! A quick 5-minute guide to crushing it with Ten-Nine Suited. By following the strategy and ideas outlined you will be able to play this hand most profitably in the vast majority of situations that you will encounter.
I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new. I am looking forward to reading your feedback and replying to any questions you might have!
If you want to keep learning for free, check out How to Play Middle Pocket Pairs After Calling a 3-Bet (6 Tips).
But if you really want to improve your No Limit Hold’em skills, I highly recommend the Upswing Lab training course. I got my start in the Lab roughly 6 years ago, and now I play poker full-time and write these articles in my spare time. It’s a great course and community that is guaranteed to improve your game significantly.
Until next time, good luck, grinders!