I have been seeing the following a lot recently. I have probably run into it about 6-7 times in the last week or so. It always seems to be from a player that isn't too fishy at the table. The following is an example hand from my recent session.
0: MP1: 99.5xBB
1: Hero: 116.25xBB
2: MP3: 25xBB
3: CO: 124.25xBB
4: Button: 73.5xBB
5: SB: 105xBB
6: BB: 89xBB
7: UTG: 62.25xBB
8: UTG+1: 21.75xBB
Dealt: Q Q
SB posts 0.5xBB, BB posts 1xBB, 3 folds, Hero raises to 4xBB, 2 folds, SB calls 3.5xBB, 1 fold.
FLOP: 9 A 5 (Pot: 9xBB)
SB bets 4.5xBB, Hero raises to 13.5xBB, 1 fold.
This is becoming my default reaction to these sorts of donk bets into me. I am trying to figure out what is going on. I don't think it is them working on exploiting a weakness in my game. I do not continuation bet very much at these limits -- that is true. I don't think I am folding too often on the flop when I have something and someone bets out like this, especially when we take the flop heads up. So I don't know if they are trying to exploit a weakness in my play. I think I need to go back and review my sessions and look at every hand where I raise preflop and see how I play it.
What do you think the SB is doing in this hand? If he betting an A-x type hand to see if his kicker might be good or if he might have the best hand? A lot of people at these limits will raise with KQ and other hands like that pre-flop so he might think he's preventing a bluff from those hands by leading out.
Maybe he is bluffing himself? And he's hoping that I am worried about the Ace and will just go away. I think that is likely and is probably better than betting a weak Ace because the weak Ace has some showdown value if I want to keep the pot small.
It might be a semi-bluff. He could be betting a couple of s and thinking I will probably call him and that will be cheaper than what I am likely to bet.
In one case, I did get called by a person when I made this sort of raise. But the flop was a lot more coordinated and he had middle pair (I had AK and hit my Ace). That was a pure donk bet and I don't know if it counts as much as the others.
Anyway, I am seeing this a lot lately. Are there any ideas as to what is going on? Do you think they're exploiting a predictable behavior I might have from hands where I raise and completely miss? Or do you think it is a bad bluff or value bet?
I've almost become habituated to raising these sorts of bets on the flop if I have any sort of hand. I'll fold if reraised and keep the pot small if called but I almost never am. In almost every case they bettor just goes away when I raise. Is this a bad and dangerous habit to be sliding into? Am I running hot right now and happen to be running into bluffs more often than I should and in a more balanced game will I end up losing money by raising when they donk bet an over-card to my pair?
I'm seriously confused. This is a fairly new observation for me. I am used to donk bettors who will call the raise most of the time and then check down (or check/call down). I am not used to the donk-bet/fold behavior on the flop.