Heads Up Vs. a Donkey

If you’re playing poker in a live tournament or online via a $20 minimum table, your odds of running into a donkey are minimal. When I say ‘Donkey’ I mean a poor poker player and not your selection in the grand national. Although they’re still out there, you’re probably not going to be plagued by horrific luck-catching players unless you’re playing low stakes, qualifiers or freerolls.

Unfortunately, luck pays off as much as skill sometimes and you can definitely find yourself up against a donkey in a heads-up matchup in a big tournament. Instead of wishing that you chose to play online blackjack instead of Hold’em, let’s talk about how to handle this idiot before he sends you to the rail with his 17th river win in 30 hands.

Here are a few tips on how to get the upper hand when playing a donkey heads-up. You can use this in any situation, but it works great in a 1-vs.-1 matchup.

1: Pick Your Spots
This one might seem self explanatory, but “picking your spots” in this context isn’t only about self preservation and giving you the best chance to win. It’s about making this moron mad and putting him on tilt without losing the edge.

We’re not talking about backing down, though. So don’t let him raise your blinds every single time and become the Faux Ungar of the table. Just let the donkey know that you’re not going to “gamble” with him. A few times of letting him act uber aggressive is going to do one of two things: make him overconfident, or make him anxious. Either way, you have the upper hand in control.

2: Know Your Odds
Just like in casinos online, it’s important to know your odds here. In a heads-up match, your pocket jacks are no longer a middle pair. They’re a dominator. Your flopped set isn’t flush fodder. It’s a trap machine.

Know that your “good” hands become that much better in a heads-up match vs. a luckster. Use this to cripple the fool and you’ll gain great pot odds on calling one of his desperate all-ins.

3: Know when to Pounce
When you see a little blood in the water, reverse the roles and become the aggressor. The donkey will be so shocked to have the short stack that he’ll be too scared to risk chips and he’ll start retreating into his hole.

This is where your skill for the game will pick him apart and embarrass him.

4: Don’t get Mad, get Even
If Mr. Donkboy happens to double up or happens to luck a big pot on you, don’t get carried away. Stick with the game plan and whittle him down. He’s going to have better cards sometimes, and it’s unlikely a donkey will fold much of anything preflop. Stay focused and put the screws to him.

Filed Under: Poker Advice


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