A donk bet in poker is a very controversial move as it has the potential to be just as bad for you as it can be good. It is most effective as a type of scare tactic only if you know how to time this move right. And poker sharks often utilize donk bet as a winning strategy against the not so skilled players. The bottom line is that the fame of donk bet depends on who is using it and in what way (as well as the limit games).
What is a donk bet?
When one player has the initiative and the opponent makes a bet before the player with the initiative does, it is called a donk bet.
When is a donk bet useful?
As I mentioned before, majority of the poker players do not realize the powers of donk betting, but in the hands of the right person, it can be a great weapon. One of the most effective ways of donk betting is to do it heads up on the river. When you learn how to donk bet the flop with skill and intelligence, you will realize that not having the initiative or being out of position are disadvantages that can actually be tackled and turned around.
You don’t always have to surrender the right of first bluff to the player having the initiative. When you set your sight on a flop, you can always pretend as if you have no idea which player raised pre flop. (Bad players can never remember who raised pre flop. This is where donk bet got its name – a donkey bet designating the worst possible poker players).
When and at what frequency should you use donk bet?
It is probably the million dollar question in regard to this topic. Most poker players do not know how often they should donk bet, nor do they have any idea about the types of flops that make for good choices. Let me offer you a few tips.
Donk betting is at times a part of the heads up strategy and good short handed strategy. However, only a few flops need to be donk bet as a part of the strategies mentioned above. This is sufficient for improved results.
Next, take your image into consideration. Do you come across as predictable and tight or are you regarded as a bluff master by your opponents? If you are projecting a tight image, you can get away with increased levels of donking or bluffing.
Think about the flop. How many draws are there? Can your opponent put you on many draws? Your opponent won’t be able to get hold of a pair with a K67 containing two hearts. But that very same opponent might take on a stubborn stance and move on to a showdown with high aces if he is with straight and flush draws in the mix.
There are more reasons to consider the flop. Do you think there are two over cards in the hands of your opponent? Do you think it is plausible that he flopped a pair? It is highly unlikely that your opponent will obtain two over cards or a pair with flops like Q44 and K73?
Try to judge your opponent. If your opponent plays tight, donk as much as you can against him.
Why should you apply Game Theory and when?
The information and tips that I have given above will help you outplay your opponent, especially if you can collect correct information about your opponents and have a good knack of pegging their strategies. Beside that, you also need a good strategy of your own.
If you can’t manage to glean much information from your opponents’ moves, however, a move like this becomes risky – God save you if you are heads up with a poker shark or an excellent player and you try this on them. That’s when you have to apply game theory to try and get out of a tight spot.
In these types of situations, you should fully concentrate on making yourself impenetrable so that your opponents are unable to read you. Once you’re satisfied they can’t figure you out, deploy your game theory skills; mix up your play and confuse your opponents. Regardless of whether you are bluffing or possess a good hand, no one should be able to collect any information about you or your position.
At the same time, if you don’t have a good hand, you should check; and if you have it, you should place a bet. You can donk bet two out of three flops, and you may bluff about one out of three flops.
When you flop a pair once out of three times, your opponent lands in a soup. If he now decides to constantly resteal, he won’t be able to get out of the tight spot 50% of the times. The other half of the time, you will be able to outplay him by value bluff raising and semi bluffing. Even if your opponent catches you on a draw, you will effortlessly pull yourself out of the trap. Your opponent’s 5:2 restealing odds won’t be very useful for him as he will often lose even while being ahead, and at other times, he will lag behind you.
Let me now discuss another situation. Suppose you are donking and your opponent misses and gives up. There are high chances that he might end up folding his best hand and relinquish his 2.5 big bets. When he folds too much, you or anybody else can easily exploit him.
When you apply the strategy of donk betting correctly — in the way mentioned above — your opponents will relinquish their winners, spew their chips, won’t be able to decode your playing style, and will find themselves in a tricky situation much to your advantage. However, remember to not use this unless you’re sure you know your opponent’s position and his caliber.