Hands for Donking

Of course, you can’t just donk lead your draws, otherwise you will become very easy to read very quickly. I recommend leading a number of value hands to blend your range. One of my favorites is small trips. Say the board comes

Q♠-6♣-6♠. If I have 6-7 there in the blinds I would lead frequently. I do this because most people don’t believe you’ll just lead three of a kind into them. They are more likely to put you on one of those draws you’ve been popping up with, and call down too many streets with 5-5.

The other reason I donk lead there is because people check back on the board frequently, causing me to lose a street of value. They are afraid of a check-raise putting them in a difficult spot, as it is a popular board to put pressure on.

Another time I like to donk lead value is when I have a set or small two pair on a very coordinated board. Say I have 6-6 or 6-7 on a 6-7-9 board with a flush draw. It’s good to lead this board with some backdoor draws and small flush draws, so we should throw in value combinations. There are also a number of bad cards that could peel off and ruin our equity if we let a street go. Even if we still have the best hand when the five peels we won’t get the same amount of money out of our opponent’s one-pair combos. It’s better to donk lead and get the money when it’s ripe for the taking. If we’re lucky he might even raise his top pair or over-pair to make sure we don’t get there with our draw combinations.

It really becomes a game of rock, paper, scissors. When they start guessing flush draw you go with the set, they raise, and they get the bad news. Once they start putting you on value hands, you donk lead more of your draws, and they let you see too many turns and rivers on your own terms. You’re much more likely to confuse a player when you’re out of position by leading into him. If he is uneasy in the situation it’s unlikely he’ll be able to extract profit from his superior position.

Another one of my favorite times to donk lead a value hand is on an ace-high board. For reasons I will never understand everybody is infatuated with checking back their aces on ace-high boards. I don’t know on what universe these players think it’s a profitable strategy to continuation bet nothing and vastly reduce the size of the pots that they win, but you’ll often see regulars checking back even dominating aces.

Since big cards play well heads-up I’ll smooth call with many A-Ko and A- Qo combinations in the big blind. If everybody but myself and the raiser has already folded then I don’t need to worry about thinning the field anyway. If the board comes ace high I rip into it, especially if my opponent’s NoteCaddy readings show that he loves opening weak aces and then checking them back. If he calls on the flop there’s almost nothing you can do to get him to fold an ace. You can over-bet the pot. They’ll find the call. They check back the flop because they’re worried about having to fold top pair. They aren’t capable of doing that, so they actively avoid situations where this might arise. Put them in their nightmare and lead three streets. You’ll be surprised how many chips they will call off.

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