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[NL2-NL10] 04/23 SSS adv. Coaching - Playing against donkbets as preflopaggressor

    • xarry2
      Joined: 02.01.2007 Posts: 834
      During yesterdays coaching several hands occured where I had to face a donkbet as preflopaggressor.
      On many limits we will often be confronted with these bets, mainly by bad players but sometimes also regulars can use this line.
      Therefore it is very important to know how to deal with donkbets and when its possible to raise them.

      I will refer to situations where we have raised preflop and are in a HU pot. Moreover we have no made hand (pair, good draw or better) and our opponent bets into us.

      How should we play against these donkbets?

      We should always bear in mind the following aspects:

      1. our opponent (stats, history, reads...)
      2. the board
      3. our hand

      In addition related aspects are: betsize, our remaining stack, foldequity in case we raise the donkbet

      our opponent:

      Classifying our opponent is indispensable for a correct decision. Do we play against a TAG/LAG or a tight and passive opponent?
      Answering this question helps us to evaluate how often and with which range our counterpart makes donkbets. Further we can think of possible motivations. The most important figure is imo the AF. Obviously aggressive players will place donkbets more often than passive ones. I also think that estimating our opponents flop range through the Vpip and Pfr and his position is essential. How to use this information will be explained together with the board. As always specific reads and notes concerning donkbets will also help us immensely.

      the board:

      After we've classified our opponent we can combine the information we got together with the board and thus conclude to a possible range for his donkbet. The looser we estimate our opponents range on the flop the more possibilities there are to hit the flop anyhow. We can't rely on the fact that theres a flushdraw possible for a donkbet if we play against a tight or passive player. First passive players don't donk frequently with draws and moreover a tight player won't call us preflop with many speculatibe hands i.e. suited connectors.
      Possible motivations for a donkbet in relation to the board are:

      - a board that we as PFA have often missed will motivate our opponent to make either bets with marginal hands or draws (since he sees foldequity) or even pure bluff bets
      - boards which give many possibilities to draws or are simply in the estimated range of our opponent can also be likely for donkbets

      How far the different motivations are true depends on the level of thinking sides our opponent. Very good players can be a tough challenge here. Fortunately donkbets are used mostly by bad or mediocre players.

      our hand:

      As I said before I refer to situations where we haven't hit the flop. So we will have hands who have less than 6 Outs or maybe a marginal hand. Of course a raise gets more profitable if we have a good remaining equity if our raise gets called. That's why I prefer to raise with Overcards or a medium pair plus gutshot rather than with an unimproved pocketpair.

      At last we should think of our foldequity. In order to create foldequity we should have a remaining stack big enough to create foldequity. If our opponent gets better pot odds than 2.5:1 he can call profitable very often. However it is always important how big the donkbet is compared to the pot. If we face a potsize donkbet it symbolizes much more strenght than a 1/4 bet. Thus the foldequity is also dependant on the betsize.

      Let's now look at 2 sample hands in order to illustrate the aspects mentionend above:

      Known players: (for a description of vp$ip, pfr, ats, folded bb, af, wts, wsd or hands click here)       

      5/10 No-Limit Hold'em (9 handed)
      Hand recorder used for this poker hand: Texas Grabem 1.9 by

      Preflop: Hero is BU with J:spade: , Q:spade:
      3 folds, MP2 calls $10.00, 2 folds, Hero raises to $45.00, 2 folds, MP2 calls $35.00.

      Flop: ($105.00) 5:diamond: , 6:heart: , 2:spade: (2 players)
      MP2 bets $30, Hero raises to $145.00 (All-In), MP2 calls $115.00.

      Turn: ($395.00) 9:spade:
      River: ($395.00) 3:diamond:

      Final Pot: $395.00

      I try to isolate a pretty loose player in position. He donks weak on the lowcard flop. Lets analyze the situation according to what I said above.
      We play against a loose player who is also pretty aggressive postflop. That's why I can give him a wide range for a limp/call and also a wide range for the donkbet, which speaks for a reraise. MP2 is however a player with a high WTS which means that our foldequity is not very good. Nevertheless his Vpip and AF justify a reraise imo.
      The board also gives good reasons for a donkbet. Thus his range can be from many draws, medium pairs top pairs weak overpairs or even pure bluffs.
      Our hand is also suitable for a reraise. We can have up to 6 overcard outs and we have a backdoor flushdraw.
      Since MP2 bets weak and we have a good remaining stack we should also create enough foldequity with an all-in.

      What is our ev?

      possible donkbet range of MP2:

      Of course individual reads can help us here. for example it would be interesting to know wether MP2 donks his strong hands (set, 2pair, straight) here, too.

      the foldequity is pretty variable:

      a tight calling range could be: 88-77,A6s-A5s,87s,A6o-A5o,87o which equals 75% foldequity and we have 35% equity when we get called

      EV = 0.75*135 + 0.25[0.35*(145+105) - 0.65*145] = 99.5$

      This is extremely profitable. However we will have to take a look at other constellations, too:

      another calling range could be: 88-77,44-33,A6s-A4s,86s+,76s,64s,A6o-A5o,86o+,76o,64o which equals 50% foldequity and we have 30% equity when we get called

      EV = 0.50*135 + 0.50[0.30*(145+105) - 0.70*145] = 54.25$

      another quite loose calling range could be: 88-77,44-33,A6s-A2s,86s+,76s,64s,A6o-A2o,86o+,76o,64o which equals around 32% foldequity and we have 29% equity when we get called

      EV = 0.32*135 + 0.68[0.29*(145+105) - 0.71*145] = 22.5$

      So even with a pretty loose calling range our EV is positive. However it is key that MP2 has such a big donkbet range. Otherwise will have even less foldequity and less remaining equity.
      I also didn't include pure bluffs in this hand which will of course increase the foldequity again.

      Known players: (for a description of vp$ip, pfr, ats, folded bb, af, wts, wsd or hands click here)        

      1/3 No-Limit Hold'em (10 handed)
      Hand recorder used for this poker hand: Texas Grabem 1.9 by

      Preflop: Hero is CO with 9:heart: , A:heart: . MP3 posts a blind of $3.00.
      2 folds, UTG+2 calls $2.00, 2 folds, MP3 checks, Hero raises to $12.00, 3 folds, UTG+2 calls $10.00, MP3 folds.

      Flop: ($30.00) Q:diamond: , K:diamond: , 2:spade: (2 players)
      UTG+2 bets $10, Hero folds.

      Final Pot: $40.00

      Similar preflop situation as above but there are several aspects who don't speak for a reraise. Most important is imo the fact that we haven't got much equity left if we get called (mainly only 3 outs) Also our remainung stack can't create much foldequity when we raise the donkbet. Our opponent would get about 3:1 to a call which is simply too good. Also bluffbets aren't so likely as in the first hand since the board includes 2 cards from the playing zone which could easily be in our raising range. Not to forget that UTG2 is not that aggressive.

      To sum up, we have seen that raising a donkbet can be very profitable under specific circumstances. However these situations are not very frequent and it is important to think of all the factors I mentionend above befor making the raise. Moreover, I think that you should have enough reads/notes/stats from your opponent to make a halfway correct decision.
      If your raise gets called once and you have to show a weak hand your foldequity will also increase in future.
  • 7 replies
    • caber1
      Joined: 13.04.2008 Posts: 16
      Liked the article, but how many newbies really know what a donk bet is?

      Also, does it not lessen us as players to label the weak and stupid?

      Yes they are the life blood of poker rooms everywhere, but a little more respect by everyone would certainly be nice.
    • xarry2
      Joined: 02.01.2007 Posts: 834
      Unfortunately there's only one SSS sample hand section in the english forum. That's why I have to post my advanced articles here, too. Maybe I should make it more clear that my posts are directed to gold+ members. Of course everyone from pokerstrategy is welcome to read my posts but for beginners or unexperienced players my articles can easily be confusing or missleading.
      However, I didn't get your second point. The word "donkbet" is simply a good description and also not embossed by pokerstrategy or me. It is common poker language. I don't think it's really abusive to bad players, it's simply what they're doing: a stupid (not always) line. A simple c/r provides much more value.

      thanks for your feedback caber1!
    • dallievas
      Joined: 30.11.2007 Posts: 822
      Hi xarry the second,
      Thanks for your posts,I really enjoy reading them.Notwithstanding they are directed to gold+ members ,but even bronze can find useful spots which will help them in the course of time.I`m myself trying to read them all,don`t understand the half , use a quarter of it,but looking for those situations you write about and trying to understand how to play them when my time will come. :D .Now I often use SSS equity charts from one of your latest treads analyzing my hands.
      I have question for you -I use formula to calculate equity need to push:
      (mine remaining stack/pot)x100(was meant in coaching) ,but I saw some other formulas.Is it correct?
      P.S. It will be very nice and useful if some of our :heart: coaches or more experienced members write introductory thread for beginners with all formulas we need, maybe some mnemonics and post it in important threads section. :)
    • xarry2
      Joined: 02.01.2007 Posts: 834
      hi dallievas,

      overall all calculations/formulas u need are based on pot odds. Of course there are many roads to rome here.
      Always compare the money in the pot with the amount you have to call. From pot odds its is then easy to get to the equity. pot odds 3:1 equal 1/4, 2:1 equal 1/3 equity.

      concerning your formula i'm not sure if its true.

      lets look at an example:

      40 $ stack, we raise to 8$ and get reraised all-in.
      pot odds would be: 8+40/32 = 1:1.5 => 40% equity

      with your formula:

      32/48*100 = 66,7%

      seems to be wrong.
    • caber1
      Joined: 13.04.2008 Posts: 16
      I see your point.
    • kispeterg
      Joined: 27.09.2007 Posts: 1,125
      Yet again, great post.. luv u bro :D
    • dallievas
      Joined: 30.11.2007 Posts: 822
      Thanks Xarry 2,I understand your formula.I`m still thinking where is trick here,very big differences,I should ask Talmar about his source in coaching.You know of course that 2/4 rule is not very accurate too :)