Poker Donkey – That’s not nice..

poker donkey

What is a Poker Donkey?

Have you ever been called a donkey at the table?  A donkey is a pejorative term loosely used to describe a bad poker player. If you’ve been called one before, it’s probably when you first started playing, barely knew the rules and were calling raises and post flop bets with trashy hands and getting lucky.

How Does a Donkey Play?

A donkey will usually play like a calling station. This means they will play lots of hands and typically be calling you down. This is irrespective of the strength of the hand. The result of this is that they will occasionally get lucky and outdraw your strong hands. As such, they have many leaks for a good LAG and TAG poker player to exploit.

Example of Donkey Play

It’s a no limit cash game with £1/£2 blinds. You open raise to £8 from early position with As Ks:

It folds to the small blind who calls. The flop comes Ac Jd 3s:

He check calls your £12 bet. Turn is a 4d:

The small blind check calls your £30 bet. The river comes a 9c:

The small blind checks, you value bet £45 and the small blind calls and wins with 3h9h for two pair:

This is a typical donkey hand. Your opponent has called every round of betting with a very weak hand, particularly on the turn with just bottom pair. He was facing an early position raise and now a decent size turn bet, realistically beating nothing.

Don’t Bash the Donkey’s, Feed Them

I know it’s tempting to criticise or give the “donkey” stick after you’ve lost the pot to a 3 9 suited but don’t! Don’t educate your opponents or let them know they are playing horribly.  After all, these are the players that will make you money in the long run.
If you bash the donkey like a donkey pinata party game than they may not play again or worse, learn to play better! Phil Hellmuth is a poor role model in this respect as he will often bash a donkey. He doesn’t care, a millionaire with revenue from advertising and getting paid to play on TV. You and I are not so lucky! Remember not to tap the glass next time you play. In fact, it’s better to pay the donkey compliments, feed them. They will help you move up stakes and increase your poker ROI.

Poker Donkey
Photo by Martin Castro @martin_castro. Image Source: Unsplash

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: