What Is Donk Betting And Should You Do It?
In this article I will discuss what the donk bet means so you will know how to react to donk bets from your opponents.
You'll probably bump in to it quite a lot when playing at sites like Party Poker on Linux.
What is "donk betting"?
Donk betting, also known as the donk bet in poker, is a general term for when a player decides to bet out of position when they were not the pre-flop raiser.
It is an uncommon line as most players will typically check to the pre-flop raiser to see what they will do, since they were first to show strength before the flop. An example of when donk betting occurs is when a player in late position raises, SB folds, and the BB calls. On the flop, the BB donkbets.
Not every player will donk bet with the same strength of hands. Quite often it is done by weaker players with weaker hands, hence the name it is given, the donk bet, but it is a line which is used by regs to create confusion in the eyes of their opponents.
Fact: "Donk" is short for "donkey" which is basically a poker player type nickname for a bad player.
What a donk bet actually means.
One of the fundamental leaks in weaker player's games is they will play far too many hands, so obviously they will not connect with the flop all the time. If they miss the flop and expect the flop missed you as well, for example on a low card flop, don't be surprised if they attempt to donkbet you off your hand.
Donk betting hand range.
They could be betting with total air, bottom pair, middle pair, and sometimes top pair like when they have top pair on a flush draw board to protect their hand from draws, but for the most part their range is really weak and it shouldn't worry you too much if you have a decent hand.
If you have a strong hand like top pair top kicker, or an overpair, you almost always have the best hand when a weaker player donkbets into you, and you should be looking to raise the donk bet for value because they will likely call. If the donk bettor happens to have nothing, then it's unlikely they will invest more money in the pot on later streets anyway if you just flat call.
Good players and donk bets.
Weaker players are not the only players you encounter at the table though. Competent players are also capable of donk betting. Generally, the range of hands they are donk betting with is stronger but it really is player dependant.
Some players will never donk bet whilst some players are looking to donk bet at every opportunity they think they can take down the pot straight away.
Should you donk bet?
I think there are a few situations where donk betting makes a lot of sense. As part of a balanced strategy it can work really well and create confusion in your opponents. One strategy is to donkbet flush draws on the flop when you can expect your opponent not to raise or to fold. You usually want to try this against tighter players who will respect your bet.
The problem with playing out of position in the hand and taking the check call line instead, is if you don't hit the flush card on the turn, then you generally just have to fold, as it becomes quite obvious you are on a draw or have a weak hand, both of which you can't really stand up to much resistance.
By donk betting you get to control the size of the pot and gain initiative in the hand, giving you a greater chance of winning the hand.
Advantage of donk betting.
Once you have history with a certain player, and they know you are capable of donk betting with flush draws or other drawing hands, it can then be worthwhile to donk bet with strong made hands like flopped sets/trips on draw heavy flops.
Your opponent will think you are doing it with a flush draw and may raise you, so it enables you to build a bigger pot on the flop, which is the main objective when you have a big hand. A lot of LAGs don't take too kindly to donk betting either, and quite often will raise your donk bet with nothing if they think you are bluffing, which is another reason to be donk betting with strong hands.
Whether you should be donk betting with your strong hands really depends on the table conditions. It is going to work a lot more often when you are playing against a tight player in the hand and you can put them on a narrow range, as they will likely have a hand they can call with.
On the other hand, if you are playing against a loose aggressive player who raises in late position, you know they are raising with a wide range of hands in this position and will likely cbet bluff on the flop, so donk betting with your strong hands would be a mistake, because it will prevent them from bluffing, and you will simply fold out their air.
Go back to the Linux Poker strategy articles.