What’s Your Play? Top Pair Facing Turn Donk

This is from a $5/$10 game at Lucky Chances (yes, I finally got out there last night). Villain seemed to be a typical mid-stakes non-pro regular, which is to say bordering on loose-passive in small pots but tight-passive in larger pots and excessively reluctant to get stacked. Hero probably had a slightly loose-weak image, as I’d brought a big stack from the must move game, but in the main game they’d mostly just seen me raise-fold and bet-fold a lot. Villain has about $2500, Hero has about $4000.

UTG straddles, there are two limps, I make it $100 with Kc Qh on the button, Villain calls from the SB, the BB and straddle call, and one of the limpers calls.

Flop ($515 in pot) Ks 4d 3d. Checks to Hero, Hero bets $250, SB calls, everyone else folds.

Turn ($1015 in pot) Jc. Villain bets $500. Hero?

Post your comments and suggestions here. I’ll do my best to respond to comments throughout the week and then post my own thoughts on or about Friday.

27 thoughts on “What’s Your Play? Top Pair Facing Turn Donk

  1. I feel like so often in this spot, when villain check calls flop and then donks turn, they have turned top two pair. Its either that or getting tricky with a flush draw. If he had flopped a set he would check raise flop or turn. I think alot of players would call here and see what villain does on the river. I can’t say I love that play because it feels like a passive leak.

  2. I’m posting from my phone now, so I’ll be a little brief. Villain is going to have kj a lot, but I would assume that he has enough combo-draws (adtd, qdtd, kdtd, qdjd are all conceivable) and maybe even a few overplays (e.g., kto) that you’ll have >25% equity against his range. As you describe villain, I don’t think he’ll bluff his missed draws otr often enough, especially if he has kdxd or jdxd. You can also bluff him off of kj on diamond rivers, depending on how weak-tight or stationy you think he is. Ad river seems like an especially easy bluff shove if he checks.

    So I call here, but I don’t expect it to print money.

  3. Hero is beat at this point. Passive players don’t donk flush draws. KJ is actually the worst hand he could have IMO, more likely a set that he is trying to “protect” from the possible flush and straight draws.

    Hero played the hand fine so far but I fold here because when you’re behind you’re drawing dead, and you have to get creative to imagine what you’re ahead of.

  4. Re villain’s range here – and hands that come to mind:

    I would expect the most likely hand here is KJ where he is leading 2pair for value and charging your draws, a few different Kx hands possibly, bottom and middle set (in which case I don’t like his donk lead the turn too much, I’d rather a check raise in his shoes or even a check call, lead the river), AdJd for a nut flush draw with second pair, and there are other draws he can have here, hands like 65d or 76d for combo draws plus QdTd and KdTd – hands along those lines. And if he is passive, I could see a passively played AA here too.

    Not the most pleasant spot faced with all of that. Fold or (lol) raise/fold again? Call and see if you can bluff the river depending on what villain does? I think I want to fold a fair bit of the time in this precise sort of spot, especially if villain is passive and not particularly clever/creative.

  5. I think this is a fold vased on villains image. I don’t see us calling the river shove this bet is setting up either when it bricks or when a diamond, A, 7, 9 etc comes. Pot will be 2100 with 1650 effective, we have 350 committed before we call. I’m not sure I can fold KQ when the river bricks out the 8c, and against a tight villain I don’t think I’m ahead of his value range as we gave AK and even AA in our range here.

    You still have the top of your range unless villain is reading the smallish cbet multiway as weak. I disagree with the other comments, I think villain can be donking AQdd, QTdd etc as a blocking/semi bluff based on your weak tight image thinking he had hood pot and fold equity.

    Bluff catching these types of opponents is -EV, so we are now calling and praying the river bricks and he checks to us or calling and barfing when he shoves bricks or wet rivers. I stand by the value of position here, I wish we had Kd or Qd to block some combo draws, since we don’t there is just a really obscured range we are looking for on the river and we have almost no chance to improve our hand past marginal.

  6. My play? happily call turn, probably fold river.

    Why? We just don’t have that many better hands in our range, especially if we call sometimes/always with 33, 44 pf. V has plenty of garbage (PP, SC, FD, SD) in his range and middle aged guys like to get tricky sometimes. I would fight an urge to gulp seeing a $500 bet, but if he truly does hold a huge hand, he will announce it on the river with large bet. A turn fold IP would be too nitty here unless we know opponent is truly a rock. If we had QQ here, we might put V on a TP, and I really think V is playing a lot of smaller Kings this way. If we fold here, we are folding almost 100% of our range. We didn’t really need a massive hand to raise pf (otb v limpers) and I’m happy to call V’s bet.

    River is another story, but since they aren’t blasting 4 figures with worse, it’s probably a fold. If river is a blank, V checks and we have a decent read, a small value bet might show a profit.

  7. This feels like a battle of the images. On the one hand your image of loose-passive and foldy can mean that villain is trying a bunch of stuff with KQ/KTs/K9s/Adxd/Jdxd. On the other hand his image of being tight in bigger pots heavily suggests KK/44/33/KJ, and he might well have called flop with monsters with worst relative position and/or to not see a diamond.

    It feels like if you fold here you have to be folding everything but sets and flush draws, but calling feels really bad as you are basically hoping he checks the river.

    I think at the time I probably listen to the calling monster, decide I’m at the top of my one pair range and call praying he doesn’t bluff river and we get to showdown. Thinking about it a bit I feel like raising turn to 1.25k planning on folding to a shove is probably better (and folding river if villain donk jams on us, maybe apart from an off suite Q).

    • Are you really going to raise turn to 1250 and fold to a shove though? Pot is going to be $2660 with your raise, villain has 1650 remaining, he shoves, its $4310 and only $400 to call. Stack sizes are too awkward to be bluff raising here.

      • villain started with 2.5k, but in 100 pre. and 250 on flop, with our turn raise he’d put in another 1.25k on turn (so 1.6k total). If he shoves turn it’s for another $900. I don’t see villain putting an extra 90bb in with a range we have 20% against (Esp. live player who might not even shove QdTd/KJ). Raising to only 1k might be slightly nicer wrt stack sizes, but I worry about how villain reads a min. raise (maybe too much).


    I think one thing that needs to be discussed is just deep stacked this hand is being played. With $2500 in Villain’s stack, the effective starting stack is 250 BBs. The straddle does offset this to some degree in that it reduces the SPR. I would, however, still argue that this stack depth is significant because it will likely influence the hands with which the Villain is willing to proceed with.

    The SB is the worst position at the table and that badness is only exasperated the deeper the stacks and more players in the hand. I believe preflop Villain’s range to contain combos of Axs, mid PP, Broadway SCs, AQo+. These hands tend to play much better in multiway pots.

    Many commenters seem to believe that Villain definitely has KJo. I would argue otherwise. KJo is not the type of hand that plays well in deep, multi-way pots, out of position. Between our own K and the K on board, we can only give Villain two combos of KJ that are suited.


    While this hand is being played live and multiway pots are not uncommon, the fact that 5 players go to the flop after a raise of 10BBs should dictate the decisions of the player’s in the hand. True, the flop is relatively dry, but this is not an auto c-bet situation as there are 5 players in the hand. Hero’s range should be pretty strong as he has raised preflop and bet into 4 other players with PPs worse than a K likely to just give up.

    If Villain has a K with a mediocre kicker in his hand w/out a FD, it is not an automatic call. He still has to worry about Hero having him beat or any of the three players left to act behind him who may squeeze him out of pot.

    Instead, I believe it is much more likely Villain would call here with a FD. While sometimes a Villain will raise with a FD sometimes, there are two factors that may deter Villain from doing so. For one, the SPR is already lowered given the straddle, pre-flop raise to 10BBs and the fact that the hand went 5 to the flop. If Villain does raise and then gets shoved on, Villain will be in a position of choosing to call it off with just a draw or have to fold and fail to realize the equity of the FD. All this is to say that a FD likely makes up a larger percentage of Villain’s range than KJ on the flop. Villain can have pair + FDs such as KTss+ but we are ahead of basically all of these.

    The third category of hands in Villain’s range to consider are flopped sets. This has given me some trouble. It is hard to know how fast Villain would play 33 or 44 in a multiway pot with a FD on board. However, Villain may not always call with these hands from the SB. Of course, it is much easier to flop a FD than a set.


    Villain donks $500 into $1000 pot, leaving about a pot sized bet behind. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that Villain has FD and is figuring if he is going to call a bet anyway, then he might as well take initiative. Or, it could mean that Villain has a set and is happy that the turn blanked, looking to end things now or charge Hero to draw out.

    Combinatorially, there are many more FDs than sets in villain’s range. What deters me a bit is from the notes that:

    “ loose-passive in small pots but tight-passive in larger pots and excessively reluctant to get stacked.”

    This certainly should push us towards believing that Villain would not necessarilly be eager to shovel money into the pot with just a FD. Still, Villain may be reluctant to just give up on his FD or have picked up a pair to go along with FD (AJss, QJss, JTss) and would rather bet than c/c. Poker is a game involving uncertainty.


    I do believe Hero is ahead. Villain simply has more either naked FDs or pair + FDs in his range than sets. I believe Hero should just call the turn. I think we are ahead of too much of Villains range to fold. Since any raise we make commits us given stacks shoving may only getting called by the few hands that Villain has that beat us. If we get drawn out on on the next street so be it.

    Calling the turn and hoping that Villain shuts down isn’t a great plan but I feel it is the best one. We do not fold the turn when we are likely ahead and we do not shove money into the pot when we are likely behind. We can use the quote above to our advantage in this case. I think if Villain shoves the river, he is unlikely to do it with just one pair and we can therefore fold comfortably. If Villain is reluctant to get stacked, he is unlikely to bluff all in on river after we have shown strength by flatting turn.

    Lesson learned from hand: playing deep stack poker with only top pair is hard.

  9. A tight passive guy bets from the worst possible position in a big pot, leaving himself a pot size bet on the river.

    He either has you beat or he’s trying to set his price on a draw.

    I’d either fold now or call here and call again when obvious draws miss. More than likely, I’d fold now.

  10. I think he has one of three hands – either a bluff (possibly thinking he can get you off your hand easily given how you played so far), a medium strengthed hand like a worse K or a decent J worried you are going to check behind and give up, or a set (again worried you are going to check behind). I’m not very confident on which of the three these are but given that range you are ahead so I’m not going to fold. Also, I think you are going to get credit for a really strong hand if you raise, which will almost certainly get the first two types of hands to fold. Since these hands are much more likely and I want to keep them in the hand, I call. I suppose you might be able to raise as a bluff to get 33 or 44 to fold, but I think that is targeting too narrow of a range.

  11. preflop I’m fine with,

    on the flop, what does our betting range look like? even tho this is a great board to cbet regarding texture, I’m not convinced we will be doing this wider for value than KJ, so once we reach the turn this is the 2nd worst value hand in our range (K Qd) being the worst due to blockers,

    villain potential hands are 33/44/AQdd/ATdd but i honestly don’t see him leading turned 2nd pair + diamond draw or any draw with. we have AK/AA/KK all in our range (i assume we bet KK on the flop given 5way and loose/passiveness of table?)

    so given reads on villain and this is turning into a large pot i think this is a clear fold

  12. Straight up, there is just no bluffing in his range. There are some semi-bluff big draws that have lots of equity against you. But a better way to think about this is what does he want you to do when he bets here. The semi-bluff Ax of diamonds probably likes a fold, doesn’t mind a call (he’ll probably check-fold a bricked river… given his reluctance to get stacked I don’t see a big river bluff coming there), but hates to see a big raise here.

    A made hand two pair or a set wants a call and then wants a call again on a safe river. You could maybe bluff him off a diamond river.

    Given his two possible mindsets, I think calling the turn and re-evaluating the river is just an awful line. If you think he has a draw, you jam it here. If you think he has the set/two pair, you fold. I’m folding this nearly every time, our hand is looking pretty showdown value at this point and I don’t want to play a big pot with it.

    (Also I haven’t seen anyone say it yet but JJ is totally in his range here. Could see him calling the raise pre and peeling off one street your cbet.)

    • “If you think he has a draw, you jam it here. If you think he has the set/two pair, you fold.”

      What if I think he could have either?

      • “If you think you are ahead shove, if you think you are behind fold.”

        I think its better to ask what you do on the river when a draw comes in, can we assume he doesn’t donk naked straight draws so he only has the combo draws and nut flush draws? Does he have AQdd? I think he has that a lot less than QTdd/QJdd/KJdd/KTdd etc.

        That said against his drawing range the worst cards for you are diamonds, A, 9 and to a much lesser extent 2/7. So there are 17 cards that improve his drawing range (I’m discounting a couple outs for the 2/7 because I seldom think he donks the 56dd draw here) so going into the river if you call he is ~32% to improve his draw, and we can say 60% sitting on a made hand ahead you are drawing almost dead against. In this case calling seems pretty bad because you are either letting him set the perfect price for his draw, or putting in dead money.

        I am leaning more towards a shove the more I think about this only because he is leaving enough money behind to fold and preserve his stack. I think shoving or folding are both pretty equal here, not liking just a call.

  13. I dont think he is set minding with 33 or 44 from the sb. Being tight passive for big pots, i can see AA, AK here and he decided to smooth call. KJ, KQ is also in his range, although you have a blocker to those possibilities.

    Him calling the flop makes me think aa, ak, kx. Then leading out the turn makes mee think he is pretty strong. Makes Kj a bigger possibility.

    Seeing how he is passive and he leads out makes me think he has a big hand. On the other hand, you have a lot of blockers to his hands. Plus, he seen you call/fold, bet/fold before (although not sure how much significance this has). AA is the only real hand i see here, but i think he would raise and iso pre. So i would 2 bet here to 1100, fold to raise. If he leads river, fold .

    • I don’t understand the reasoning behind your raise. You seem to be saying he either has Hero beat or he’s bluffing, so what does the raise accomplish?

      • I was thinking for information. Maybe I’m giving too much thought into hero’s image, but I was thinking even a tight passive player could take a shot at semi-bluff, and even outright bluff. Plus, hero takes control of the hand. I doubt villian has the nuts right now, so hero can represent kk here. If he is on a fd or sd, then it’s a value raise. Unless villian improves on river, he will likely check down maybe even AA or AK on river. No?

  14. My first instinct was to fold, as donking a flush draw didn’t seem to line up with passive play. But I’ve since changed my mind. I think its a call. And another crying call on all non diamond rivers.

    It seems just as likely for him to try for a check raise if he flopped a set, or at least to give you another chance to bluff after seeing you fold a few hands after aggression previously. Villain having a draw can fit with his passivity and action so far. His thinking may go, well I wanted callers behind on the flop and I wanted to see if I hit, but since I didn’t get callers and I missed I need to try and take this pot instead of just check/call, check folding river. So he leads, not to set a price, but to take you off all ace high mid pair type hands. He doesn’t bet too large because your range is still uncapped, but he must figure as a late position raiser you may just give up a lot of hands.

    I wouldn’t give much thought to KJ or JJ. JJ may fold flop, or have 3bet pre. And KJ may go for the check raise, but worrying about villain hitting a kicker on the turn is just too narrow. If he puts Hero on a legitimate hand like AA or AK, then there is no reason for him to lead, because hero would likely bet. And if he doesn’t put hero on a legit hand, then donking turn for value is a waste because hero folds anyway. So I think a call is in order, but yeah it’d be a little gut wrenching if he shoves river. But I’d call that too, unless a diamond hits.

    • Villain betting a flush draw just makes more sense. Heros range that will call turn and river bets, is made up of mostly hands that would also bet if checked to anyway. So villain leading with a big value hand only makes sense if villain is trying to get paid off from the very few hands like K10, QQ that might call a bet, but would not bet/bluff/semi-bluff if checked too.

      If villain was worried about protection, he could have check raised flop when there was 3 others behind.

  15. I always find situations like these annoying/difficult to play which is why I’m interested to hear/posting about it. Despite typical passive live pros being trappy at times, they also definitely hate getting outdrawn, which to me greatly reduces flopped sets in V’s range when a flush draw is present and there are still 4 players with live hands (including Hero) behind. For that same reason I think we can also greatly reduce JJ in his range as well; I think he’s very likely to fold when 4 other players in the hand could have a K.

    I don’t think we’re beat here as often as some have suggested. KJ is a definite possibility, and I could envision AK playing this way as well, but I also think stuff like combo draws and pair/fd are in there also. I also think there’s a pretty good chance that if V doens’t improve his drawing hands, he’ll shut down on the river (especially so if he has a J with diamonds, as he probably perceives having some showdown value). Typical passive live players just don’t bluff shove the river very often. So I’m calling here with a plan to fold to a river shove unimproved, and checking back when V checks non-diamond rivers. If V checks a diamond river, I’d be quite tempted to make him fold KJ/AK with my own river shove.

  16. If Villain has seen Hero r/f and b/f “a lot”, then an important question is why would Villain not check the turn, expecting Hero to barrel a good % of the time. What hands would he do that with, especially if he is as passive as Andrew has painted him?

    If Villain has a strong value hand I would assume he would check/call, or c/r potentially. There is potential for lost value by Villain checking, but given Hero fired at that flop when it was 4-way there is a high % chance of a second barrel. So why mix things up with a donk if you have a value hand?

    So, the only hand that makes sense for me is draw, one which Villain is setting the price to see a river card for – he has chances of both being blown off his hand but also winning the pot right there too. Villain potentially picked up more equity on the turn which is why he might feel comfortable leading out – I would assume he has AQdd or ATdd.

    So Hero, from my rather unexperienced pov, should call and re-eval the river. A raise on the turn will probably only get a call from better, so I would call and pray for a river brick and Villain to fire his last remaining salvo.

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