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Donk betting the turn

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  1. #1

    Default Donk betting the turn

    I've been making use of this play a lot, when I feel I'm in a situation that donk betting is superior to check/calling and check/raising, and check folding.

    Here's the issue I run into. Somewhere in here I'm going to have my poker "friend" watch me play because I've been struggling hard with 50nl, and he hates donk bets with an unhealthy passion. Like literally, the donk bet is virtually never excusable same thing with check raises with nutted hands on flop/turn. I've been making use of it a lot lately because when he's not watching over me at the tables I feel like I'm afforded some level of freedom to play how I want to at the tables, and while I haven't been tracking my results in zone, I am on a ridiculous 20 buy in upswing in just under a week.

    And my last down session, I was taking shots at 50nl, and I got scared of the money and played horribly, which is why I lost so much, minus one cooler (All in PF KK vs AA which put me on tilt for the rest of the session and lost another 4 buy ins after I lost that initial buy in).

    Ok, so I'm going to do a hypothetical hand in zone, no reads on my opponents specifically just population reads for 25nl zone.

    I'm dealt 99 in the BB, 100bb stacks each to make things simple. BTN raises 3bb, SB folds, I call the additional 2bb (I've been 3betting a lot less with pocket pairs in the blinds and oop as I find people don't fold to cbets often enough to make them profitable to play oop IMO). Pot will be 6.5bb on flop

    So a generic flop of A82 raindbow hits. I check, BTN bets 4bb into a 6.5bb pot. This is a very standard play. I expect BTN to cbet the flop 90% of the time, regardless if he has the A or not, my hand has showdown value, I think check-raising might look weird here because there's not much I can really represent past some kind of rare nutted A (A8 or A2) or a rare set or something, 88, 22, basically they're going to call a check raise that doesn't make sense a lot of the time because I'm bluffing a lot of the time, and with 99 it would assuredly be closer to a bluff/semi-bluff than a check-raise for value since I stand very little chance to improve on turn/river, and if I check raise I'll unfortunately have to continue bluffing and invest more money in the pot to take it without going to showdown.

    On the turn comes a random 3

    The 3 only completes an obscure straight. This is one where I feel if I check, and he bets and I call, I'm still lost on where I stand in the hand on river. I don't know if he has the A, or an 8. But when I bet, this shows I'm willing to fight for the pot, I take the lead, and I sort of force him to have some kind of hand because the pool of players I'm against rarely bluff-raise turn, and some of the times he's calling with the A and sometimes the 8, or perhaps a higher middling pair than me. Sometimes he's folding those higher 2nd pairs because now he'll think I have the A since I check-called flop and gave him more action on turn.

    It gives me quite a bit more information where I stand in the hand when I donk-bet here, than if I check-called, and check-folding if he one of the scarce 8's in his range, he's folding me out when I have the better hand. If I donk-bet here, I'm folding out his equity share in the pot when he has say 2 overs like JQ, KQ, KJ etc.

    If he raises my bet, I know I'm most likely beat and he always has at least the A. If he calls, I'm putting him on a hand that beats my measly pair of 9's even if it's not the A, and I'm shutting down on river. The 8 might still call a 2nd barrel here some of the time, but probably won't bet the river, because he's not really getting value out of anything worse.

    If he gives me more action on river, again I know I'm beat at this point, but if his hand was marginal he would probably check river and not fire another bet on a 3rd street, in which case my showdown value will win some of the time.

    So my friend has this unhealthy hatred for donk-bets but I feel like I'm getting a lot of use out of this manuever, in part because I think if I'm determined to see a turn/river, why not take the lead and bet, offering them an opportunity to fold, rather than check-calling where my only hope to win the hand is to make the best hand at that point (I'm not very adept at doing crazy river bluffs btw, I play the river pretty straightforward overall which is probably a huge leak in my game).

    Anyways it would be nice to get an opinion here, I can not discuss this topic with my friend or anyone in his poker group, without being derided for "still thinking like a fish after 4 1/2 years of Online Poker".
    Last edited by JimmyS1985; 11-06-2016 at 05:03 AM.
  2. #2
    Assuming we have a value hand, whether to donk bet turn or not comes mostly down to villain's range and the board. Is he likely to check behind? Is a free river bad for our hand?

    I don't tend to donk bet turn, but there are definitely times where I wish I did, and think I should have. I tend to check to the aggressor out of sheer habit, which I think is a bad habit.

    In the example you give, donking 99 on turn seems awful. This isn't a value hand here. I'd call flop and c/f turn. When we c/c flop, our range is high in Ax type hands. So when he bets turn anyway, 99 is very probably in bad shape. What do you hope to achieve by betting turn? He'll likely call an ace, raise better, while folding the stuff he'd have checked back on turn with. So donking turn in this instance seems pretty bad to me. There is no value whatsoever, so it's a bluff against hands he probably loses at showdown with anyway. We *might* get some TT/JJ to fold, but it's a small part of his range, and he might not fold, especially if he thinks our turn donk bet isn't an ace.

    I think where we should consider donk betting turn is where we hold 88, not 99, and the turn puts three-of-a-suit on the board. Now we don't want to give a free river, and villain will check back a lot of his range. Furthermore, a c/r probably kills the action stone dead unless he has us beat. So donking seems better here, because he can raise Ax where he has the nfd, he can call top pair with a weak fd, he probably still calls AK/AQ. All that value is lost when we both check, and he might suck the river with a bad heart or whatever.
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    ongies gonna ong
  3. #3
    I'd add if you're going to donk bet value hands on scary turns, you'd need to add some semi bluffs for balance, otherwise competent villains will be able to outplay you easily on the turn.

    99 here is neither value nor semi bluff, it's a decent showdown hand turned into a dumb bluff.
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    ongies gonna ong
  4. #4
    In terms of your specific 99 hand example on A8xx whatever. I think the standard here is to just c/c and c/f the turn. Either donking or c/c turn is prob putting too much money into the pot unless you have good reads on villain. (ie: 100% fires twice and shuts down rivers or something).

    In terms of when to donk:
    i) If a player cb btn a high % but check back turn a high %, it might be good to c/c decent hands and donk turn to avoid giving free card.
    ii) If turn brings a better card for our range than his - ie: J9x 9 turn or something - after we c/c flop with let's say QT or T8 or something, we may want to donk turn on this card. Especially if point 1 is true as well.

    These are just a couple of examples off the top of my head.

    You're honestly probably better off saving your time/energy in these posts and not mentioning this "friend" of yours. His opinion is irrelevant to this discussion anyhow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay-Z
    I'm a couple hands down and I'm tryin' to get back
    I gave the other grip, I lost a flip for five stacks
  5. #5
    ^^ I also like to lead turn when it's a reg that hates me. Seems to induce a lot of spew.

    More generally though, if I turn a set or trips, I think it's more profitable to check turn, check raise river as it looks FOS. With weaker showdown value or a turned draw where I check call two overs with backdooors, I might also lead turn (but I haven't worked out if that's good yet).

    In your specific example out of position also, please please please don't be paying off a bet check bet line from a reg. Cutting out those calls will make a big difference to your bottom line. Most regs wil have weak aces in this spot and be pot controlling the turn.

    And yes, we don't need to hear about your friend anymore! Plus never be worried about taking inelegant lines if it maximises ev. If jungle man says it's fine (which he does), it's probably fine.
  6. #6
    This is the most mis-applied 'move' in poker at the moment, especially in MTTs.

    Don't just blindly lead the turn when your range equity has not improved and when your opponents likely has improved.

    This is honestly enough to just keep yourself out of trouble, but there are certain spots where a lead is bad in theory but makes sense exploitatively.
  7. #7
    Are you prefer to gamble too?
  8. #8
    reasonable spots to lead don't come up very often also the range you should be leading often is not that big making it really not worth focusing on too much, its also difficult to balance. Learning and mastering C-betting and other strategies are far more important because you will be using them way more frequently.

    When should you think about leading?
    -When the board is good for your range and bad for your opponents, usually when you have a premium made hand that is susceptible to being outdrawn or a junky draw that cannot check-call

    -This often occurs when you defend the BB against an early or middle position raiser;

    Ex. UTG raises, you call, 8d-7d-6s. on this flop equities should be nearly 50-50% equity.

    When you have this much equity it is a pretty decent spot to consider leading with a polarized range. A polarized range are hands that are very good, hands that when are called you are happy about and your junky draws . In this scenario what hands are pretty good but also susceptible to being outdrawn? sets and two-pairs.( A straight is not really susceptible to being outdrawn as the opponents range here doesn't have many combos of Flush-draws). If we had a 2-pair on this flop and villain had a hand like AA, villain has 2 outs to a set,3 outs to a better 2-pair and then backdoor two-pairs also the turn could get bad to the point where we don't want to put a-lot of money in the pot. On this board in this scenario the opponent should be doing a-lot of checking behind with his range so we want to be doing a-lot of betting with 87 because the opponent is going to get to see a free card a large portion of the time. In these spots as the BB the boards your going to want to lead on are the middle card boards and some of the really connected low-card boards. I would lead here with 2-pairs and sets, also with our junky draws that can't really check-call and may not want to check-raise, a hand like K5 or K4 or KT, these are all hands that don't really want to check-call but they do have some equity, leading with these makes sense.You could lead with your junky FD's but those could also check-call but maybe a hand like J3dd you may want to lead. We are basically trying to add some bluffs to our leading range to balance it. Notice this strategy is different than what a-lot of people do, a-lot of people lead with their marginal made hands and what happens is their opponents always call with better hands so their in bad shape then and the opponents always fold out stuff that is decently far behind, a-lot of recreational players lead with marginal made hands for protection because they are afraid of being out-drawn but that is essentially never a good option.

    It is often best to only have a checking range, Leading the flop quickly splits your checking range making it difficult for you to remain balanced.

    - If your opponents play poorly in a predictable manner, leading may be a viable play. say they just always raise you then clearly you can lead with your best hands and if they always or often fold then you can lead with a-lot of bluffs

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