Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hold Me Closer Tiny Donker: A Ridiculous Yet Common Spot


Note:  The above hand was submitted from a student playing NL50 CAP.  It was altered slightly to make the donk bets tinier in order to fully illustrate the point.  The advice for this hand is geared to small stakes guys who may have a tendency to over-analyze certain hands. This hand is not really unusual and will probably seem shockingly mundane to a lot of people, but it is a great example of choosing whether or not to accept negative implied odds.


Unless playing mid-high stakes where a certain amount of deception is necessary, I have found it to be a rather poor idea to float the flop with this kind of hand. It is NOT because it isn't profitable and it's not because you have a fear of him drawing out on you. Rather, it is combination of these factors:

1) Your hand isn't likely to improve, so for all intents and purposes we need to analyze it with consideration to the fact that it won't improve.

2) His hand is probably weak, but on future streets, he isn't likely to put in much money as a bluff (or else he would be doing so now), in addition to the fact that he will probably keep betting small unless he improves, as he did in the scenario.  His tiny donk bet is a foreshadowing of what we can expect from him in the future.

I would prefer to play the hand strong because of the fact that under the circumstances of the read, your hand has negative implied odds because when you are good, playing it this way will win the minimum, but when he catches it can be extremely difficult to figure out what he did or did not hit and you will be forced to pay a larger bet.

On this board, I would narrow his range down to:

1) Pure bluffs
2) Gut shot or open-ended straight draw
3) Any pair as well as Kx all the way up to KQ
4) Rarely better than a pair

As you can see, if he is only going to make tiny bluffs and/or value bets, we don't gain value by letting him bluff, so we don't care if he goes away right now. Same thing with his draws. He will bet tiny on the come and then probably just a tiny bluff if he misses, but then pot it when he hits, but unfortunately, enough strange things can happen that you will be (or at least feel) obligated to call a lot of river bets that you wish you didn't have to.

The same thing happens when he has any pair. The action will go tiny bet, tiny bet, then right up your sweet ass when he improves.

So what do we do? We are left with two options: shove or make a large overbet, like 5bb with the intention of shoving any turn, except perhaps a K. This will get max value from all his top pairs as well as his draws, with the occasional call from a real crappy pair.
  In sum, this is a hand that can not be overplayed, and underplaying it is the only alternative.

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