Getting dealt Ace-Ten offsuit is similar to getting a burger at McDonalds.
You know it’s not going to be the best burger in the world, but it can still satisfy your appetite.
While it’s not an incredibly strong hand, Ace-Ten offsuit is still worth playing fairly often. The key is to make sure you’re avoiding some easily avoidable mistakes — and that’s where this guide comes in.
First, you’ll learn how to play Ace-Ten offsuit before the flop in the most common scenarios. Then, you’ll get some useful tips for maneuvering postflop.
Let’s dive in!
How to Play Ace-Ten Offsuit Preflop
When the action folds to you and you have Ace-Ten offsuit, you should almost always raise.
Specifically, Ace-Ten offsuit is worth raising from every position at a 6-handed table. If you’re playing at a 9-handed table, you should fold it from the two earliest positions (UTG and UTG+1 in the graphic below).
Against an Open-Raise
When facing a raise with Ace-Ten offsuit, you need to be aware of your opponent’s position and also your own. Keep in mind that the value of this hand goes down drastically once someone has already raised.
If the raise came from a player seated in one of the early or middle positions, Ace-Ten offsuit is not strong enough to fight for the pot profitably. You can just let it go whenever any player seated in the Hijack or earlier raises.
(Pro tip: The strategy outlined above assumes your opponents have decent preflop strategies. If you are playing against certain types of weak recreational players, then you can start calling or even 3-betting with Ace-Ten offsuit to target the weak player.)
When a player raises from late position — i.e. the raiser is seated in the Cutoff or the Button — then you should always continue with Ace-Ten offsuit. The question is whether to 3-bet or call.
Ace-Ten offsuit plays great as a 3-bet (for value and protection) since it cuts down the field. Because it’s an offsuit hand with 4 gaps, Ace-Ten offsuit does not play well in multiway pots. When a hand doesn’t play well multiway, you should lean towards 3-betting to lower the chances of a multiway pot.
So, my strong recommendation is to 3-bet with Ace-Ten offsuit when you face a late position raise. The one exception is when you’re in the Big Blind, in which case you should just call because you are closing the action.
Against a 3-Bet
Ace-Ten offsuit is too weak to call 3-bets. Its equity is too low and its playability is pretty weak. When faced with a 3-bet, you should usually fold Ace-Ten offsuit.
Having said that, there are some situations in which you can 4-bet with it as a bluff. It has some nice preflop bluffing properties such as:
While all of these are good reasons to turn this hand into a 4-bet bluff, oftentimes there are better candidates.
You should only consider 4-bet bluffing with Ace-Ten offsuit when you are in the Cutoff (facing any 3-bet) or in the Small Blind (facing a 3-bet by the Big Blind). The better 4-bet bluffing candidates (like Ace-Five suited) are strong enough to become calls against the 3-bets in those scenarios, leaving room for Ace-Ten offsuit to fill the role.
Of course, if you’d prefer to simply always fold Ace-Ten offsuit, that’s totally fine. You won’t be leaving much money on the table if you don’t feel comfortably 4-betting with it. Plus, if your opponents are relatively tight when it comes to 3-betting, you’re actually better off folding anyway.
Against a 4-Bet
Always fold when you face a 4-bet and hold Ace-Ten offsuit. Its equity and playability are too low to do anything else.
The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of six sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.
3 Tips For Playing When You Hit the Flop
Tip #1: Consider check-raising after defending your Big Blind and flopping a top pair with the Ten
If the flop comes Ten-high with no straights or flushes possible — something like — you can check-raise with Ace-Ten offsuit for value. You’ll induce calls from weaker pairs and force folds from some overcard hands that have outs to beat you.
This type of raise will work better against overly-aggressive opponents as they will have a harder time defending against the check-raise.
Tip #2: After 3-betting from the Small Blind, fire a small c-bet on Ace-high flops
Ace-high flops are extremely good for the Small Blind’s range after 3-betting since most of it is composed of Ax hands. When this happens, you are incentivized to fire very frequent, small c-bets in order to put your opponent into very tough situations with many of his hands.
For example: The player on the Button raises, you 3-bet from the Small Blind, the Button calls, and the flop comes .
A 25-33% pot-sized c-bet on this flop will put a lot of hands — such as broadway cards with backdoor draws — into a tough spot. Consider a hand like in the Button’s shoes. That King-high hand is actually ahead of the Small Blind’s bluffs (e.g. and ), but it’s way behind any pair of Aces.
By betting small, you force your opponent to either call with that King-high (which is good for your value hands) or fold that King-high (which is great for your bluffs).
So, even though your Ace-Ten might feel like a middling hand on those Ace-high flops after 3-betting, go ahead and bet small. It’ll work out better for you on average.
Tip #3: Play carefully in multiway pots
Even with top pair, you have to play somewhat defensively when there are multiple opponents to worry about.
If you decide to bet on the flop with your top pair (which is probably a good idea most of the time), you need to play more conservatively after getting called (or even worse, raised).
In multiway pots, the burden of defense is dispersed to more than one player. In simpler terms, that means everyone gets to play tighter when faced with aggression.
Thus, when you get called, your opponent will have a significantly stronger range compared to a heads-up pot. So, proceed with caution after getting called on the flop.
3 Tips For Playing When You Miss the Flop
Tip #1 – When you flop a straight draw and you’re in position, you should bet most of the time
Any kind of straight draw should be bet on the flop when you have the advantage of position in a heads-up pot.
There are many reasons for this, but the main ones to keep in mind are that:
You want to build the pot in case you hit the straight
You want to capitalize on the available fold equity both on the flop and on the turn
Sometimes you get to bluff off on the river when a bunch of other hands (such as flush draws) have completed
So, if the board comes something like , you should fire a c-bet with your Ace-Ten offsuit.
Tip #2: When you are in position after 3-betting preflop, you should almost always continue the aggression with a c-bet
This works well because as the 3-bettor you will almost always have both the range and nut advantage. When you have such advantages, the optimal approach is to play aggressively.
You’re effectively leveraging your advantage over your opponent, forcing him to fold some hands with equity while begrudgingly bluff-catching with the rest of his range.
The only exceptions to this strategy come when the flop is very coordinated and low (such as . Usually, the defender will have more sets and two pairs on these flops, and less air relative to the 3-bettors high-card heavy range. In these instances, you should check.
Tip #3: After defending your Big Blind, backdoor draws are your friends when defending against c-bets
Having a backdoor flush draw to go with your Ace-high is usually strong enough to call when you face a flop c-bet from your opponent.
You will have good bluffing opportunities on flush completing turns or rivers, you can make a top pair, or you can make a second or third pair and show it down. And sometimes, you can simply show down with Ace-high and expect to win sometimes
A lot of good things can happen with a hand such as on a type of flop against a continuation bet. So, check-call on the flop and go from there.
There you have it, the recipe for making the perfect McDonalds burger perfect decisions with Ace-Ten offsuit.
That’s all for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you start making fewer mistakes with Ace-Ten offsuit. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section down below!
If you want to learn how to play more starting hands, scroll down to related articles and pick one of the many such guides we’ve written here on Upswing Poker.