You are in the early stages of a tournament with the blind levels 25/50. All players involved have approximately starting stack of 5,000 chips.
You are in the early stages of a tournament with the blind levels 25/50. All players involved have approximately starting stack of 5,000 chips. There are a couple limpers, one from early position and one from middle position. You wake up with AKcc on the button and raise to 275. Both blinds fold, as well as the EP limper. The MP limper comes along for the call. The flop rolls off A82 rainbow and the MP player donks out for 350. For those of you not aware, a donk bet is when the player who was not the preflop aggressor comes out with a bet on the flop.
So what is our move here? Do we call? If so, is it to trap or because we want to keep the pot small? Do we raise? If so, how much? Do we fold (lol)? Let's analyze everything we can about the situation and through that, determine our best course of action.
Here is what to consider:
Situation: We are 100 effective BB deep so there is definitely opportunity to win a nice pot with this great flop, as long as the board texture continues in our favor.
Villain Type: Someone who limps then calls can usually be labeled as a loose-passive player, perhaps a calling station who wants to see a lot of flops.
Action: Generally in the early stages of a tournament I will keep my opens around 3x and drop them closer to 2x as blinds increase. Since there were 2 limpers ahead of us, we increase that raise size by at least 2BB, so somewhere between 5-6BB is an appropriate sizing and we chose exactly 5.5x for this demonstration.
Villain Preflop Range: His limp calling range could be super wide here. Think smallish pairs 22-99, any aces, broadway combos (suited or unsuited), suited connectors and some suited 1-gappers.
Total Pot Size Preflop: 675
Flop Texture: This flop hit our hand extremely well with top top. We don't have any flush or straight draws to be concerned about at this time. As far as our opponents range, we aren't worried about any of the broadway hands or suited connectors. There are 12 combos of 2 pair hands he could have (A8 and A2). There are 6 combos of sets he could have (88 and 22). So 18 combos of his range are ahead of us at this point.
Villain Flop Range: If he did have one of those 18 combos that beat us, it wouldn't make sense for him to bet out first, knowing that if he checks we will likely continue as the preflop aggressor. If we don't have a big hand, we will likely fold and he isn't going to realize any value from his holdings. It also wouldn't make sense for him to bet out without having connected with the board at all, especially with the ace on the flop. So it is likely he either has a hand with a weaker ace than ours, a pocket pair 33-99 (with the exception of 88) or another one pair hand with an 8 or 2 in it.
Stack To Pot Ratio: There is 675 in the pot and we have 4725 behind leaving our ratio at 7:1. We are in no way pot committed at this point, and there is plenty of room to play. Our opponent has about the same ratio and therefore is not committed either.
Pot Equity: Based on the fact that we have narrowed our opponent down to a 1 pair type hand which is dominated, we have about 80% equity right now over the possibility of him catching a second pair, a set or a backdoor flush.
Fold Equity: We have a lot of fold equity here since stack sizes are so big. That can often be a good thing, but in this situation it is not so good, because we would like to extract as much value from our opponent as possible. We don't want to scare him away with too large a raise size. The fact that we are heads up is good because he is less likely to stay involved if it is a multi-way pot.
Bet sizing: His bet of just over half the pot often signifies he wants to take it down right there. Since he has been labeled loose-passive, he will likely call a raise if our sizing is correct.
Position: As the button, we have position on him which gives us the opportunity to make our decision based on his actions on every street.
Pot Odds: We are facing a bet of 350 into a pot which is now 1025 (675+350). This gives up about 3:1 (34%) pot odds if we were to just call. Obviously with our approximately 80% Pot equity, we would never fold here, only call or raise.
Pot VS Fold Equity: Fold equity is high here and our pot equity is massive so we have to be careful. But we also want to build a pot and make our opponent pay to catch his hand.
Pot Geometry: We want to get as many chips in the middle as we can. Possibly even his whole stack, by the end. Since all our bets are based on a percentage of the pot, we are going to need to raise this flop to have enough in the pot on the turn and river to make this happen.
Raise Size: As you saw in my video on bet sizing, this is an imperfect science. We basically want to raise the highest possible amount, without making him fold. A good raise here would be about 1,000. This would mean he has to put in 650 more to win a pot of 2025. We don't want to give him the correct odds to call, but we want it to look enticing enough to him that he wants to call. Since he has about 20% pot equity and we are only giving him about 32% pot odds, this is a good sizing. Any more and he is likely to fold and any less and we are doing ourselves a disservice by giving him the correct odds to catch up.
Donk Bet can be Confusing
Facing a donk bet can be a confusing situation. Generally, people who make this play are less experienced, because the standard is to always let the aggressor have the opportunity to continue betting. This switches up position and give us a turn to react to his play. Most of the time our opponent will donk out to find out where they are in the hand or see another street for cheap. Because of this, when facing a donk bet, I will raise almost 100% of the time regardless of my holdings. Try experimenting with this play, you will be shocked at how often you get the fold. The only time I won't is if I miss completely and don't have a big enough stack to get the proper amount of fold equity. Even if I hit the flop huge, I will put in a raise to balance my ranges. And now that we have decided to raise most of the time in this situation, the factors above are what we use to decide how much to raise. Enjoy!
250 Thank You Freeroll Tickets
I will be giving away three 250 Guaranteed Freeroll tickets to people who comment below. How do you respond to a donk bet? Entries must be received by 10AM EST Wednesday to qualify.