Friday, July 01, 2005

I made this post on 2+2's Shorthanded Forum. There are lots of interesting and valid responses, so I recommend visiting the thread.

My initial post is here:

Here's my understanding of the definition of a donk bet - if I have it wrong, please correct me:

A bet made by a player when he wasn't the aggressor on the previous street. So a donk bet on the Flop is a bet by a blind hand that called a pre-Flop raise.

It seems to me that the majority of donk bets on the Flop are drawing hands and/or bottom pair. Of course, some players will differ, but this is just the general case. Here are some Flops, and what I suspect the donk bets to mean by most players:

Th 7h 2s : Most likely two hearts or a straight draw with 98, J8, 96, etc. Sometimes its with a deuce for bottom pair. With a T or a 7, they are much more likely to go for a check-raise.

Ks 6d 5h : A straight draw with 87 or 98. Or a pair of 5s or 6s. I list middle pair on this Flop because its a low card.

Why do players donk bet? Because they aren't sure about their hand. They are afraid of missing a bet or they want to show a bit of strength. These players are afraid to check-raise with a gutshot straight draw, but will donk bet with the same hand. Why? Because the donk bet will give them more information if you call or raise. At least that's what I think their thinking is.

So how do to counter the donk bet by a player you suspect is donk betting with a draw/low pair (because he would check-raise you with top or middle pair)?

Call on the Flop, and raise it on the Turn, and check down on the River. Unless you have a real hand, then you can raise on Flop, and/or bet on River.

You are calling on the Flop because you want him to continue to semi-bluff on the Turn. You don't want to raise him on the Flop and have him check on the Turn. Let him see your weak call, and then pop him on the Turn. This way you allow yourself a free showdown (again this is if you have a hand like Ace-high or a low pocket pair) where you can beat a busted straight or flush draw. You can't bet on the River because these players are likely to call on the River with a pair. Also, just calling on the Flop gives you an opportunity to see the Turn for "free". If its another danger card, then you can actually safely bail.

Your hand: Ad Js
Flop: 8h 7h 3d
Turn: 9h

If your opponent bets on Flop and Turn, you should fold. His donk bet has gotten there, either with a pair, a straight or a flush - and you don't have pot odds to call.

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