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How would you play against someone with a seemingly unlimited bankroll, going all in preflop with every single hand and rebuying max limit every time he lost?

Seems like a dream scenario, yet I ended up losing my whole stack 3 times over while playing a fairly tight range (25 VPIP) over the course of 45 minutes. Several people come to the table and went bust a lot faster.

My run of starting hands seemed pretty normal, I was playing a tight range against only 2 other players (for a bit, there were a few more players but for the most part, just the 3 of us).

I don't care about the "bad beat", it was play money, but I do wonder about the fact I couldn't win against a 100% random all-in strategy.

Full details below for those interested.


I ran into an odd situation at a play money table (50k max buyin) and it got me wondering:

One of the players was going all in every single hand. Whenever he went bust, he would rebuy and continue playing all in.

This is no exaggeration. No matter what his hand was, he would move it all in, except for a few rare hands he didn't play, for whatever reason. He moved all in with 63o and similar, so there was definitely no hand selection taking place.

The perfect donkey, Donkey Supreme, or "DS" for short.

Also at the table, another gentleman with a very deep stack (around 800k). Let's call him "the reg".

All in all, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to increase my play chips bankroll and practice my range.

My first hand was KK. I moved my chips in and doubled up. Seeing how my opponent was playing, I decided to use a fairly tight range, around 25 VPIP. Solid playable hands and monsters only.

I increased my stack to about 150k, then lost the whole thing to "the reg" who was also in the hand, in somewhat of a bad beat (my AQo losing to his A5o).

Still, with such a donkey at the table, I could not pass up the opportunity. I rebuy, and this time, I am extra careful not to run into the reg's crosshairs, even though he was playing a wider range than myself. I figured that as long as I could be heads up with the DS, my tight range would earn me a nice bit of play money.

I managed to avoid playing with "the reg" and went all in with the DS every time I had decent cards.

Even though I doubled up several times, I found myself busting and having to rebuy 3 times, losing my entire play money "bankroll" in 21 hands (11 wins, 7 losses, 3 draws).

The conditions seemed as perfect as could be: a crazy donkey with endless supplies of cash, going all-in preflop with every hand. What more could one ask?

And yet, I went bust. This got me curious and I had a closer look at the statistics: I ran the math on Equilab afterwards, and found out I had been a bit unlucky, as my range should have won 62% of the time against a fully random range, and I only won 50% of the time (the remainder being a larger than usual number of split pots - should have been 1% and ended up around 15%).

My share of the rake was a staggering 55k, which accounts for one of the rebuys.

I wondered about the impact of tightening my range, but as it turns out, going from tight to ultra tight wouldn't have improved my odds all that much: playing a 10% VPIP instead of 25% would have meant a theoretical 68% win rate instead of 62%, while playing half as many hands. I'd still have gone bust.

Can this situation be won? Is it just a case of my bankroll being too small to handle the variance, or is it just a case of a smaller stack being doomed to lose against the seemingly endless stack of the DS?

I have to admit I am quite stumped. I would have thought that having a fully lose opponent moving all in all the time would be a boon, but it turned out a guaranteed bust.

  • Consider making this question a lot shorter if you want some good answers. – Raymond Timmermans Jul 14 '18 at 8:21
  • I edited the question with a summary on top and left the original post below for those wanting to have more context. – Sylverdrag Jul 14 '18 at 14:07
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If you can, pick a seat that has position on the donk. So as close left to him as possible. This way you can just wait for a good hand if he shoves and play normally if he folds.

A good strategy like you said is wait for a decent hand and call. However if you are > 50% against a random hand, it is sometimes not enough to justify calling, because you also need to worry about other players behind. Also when you don't apply proper bankroll management you can easily lose your entire roll. Maybe wait even longer for strong hands and then get it in. This might be slightly less profitable in the long run, but reduces variance significantly.

  • I was immediately on his left, and I was playing a 25 VPIP range, which should have given me a 62% edge against random. I got 50% instead of the expected 50%, but that's just variance. Tightening down to 10 VPIP would only have given me 7% more equity, and reviewing the actual hands, it wouldn't have saved me from going bust. – Sylverdrag Jul 14 '18 at 16:43
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    Yeah that is just variance man – Raymond Timmermans Jul 14 '18 at 18:56
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You probably couldn't play in that table if you follow any bankroll management. A pro can't lose his entire bankroll in one day of playing.

In that scenario I would probably play something like 55+ AJ+ KQs. That's reasonably tighter than 25VPIP. You haven't mentioned how many BB you had, so that range could be higher or lower based on that info.

  • You're right, my play money bankroll was too low for the table. I started with 100BB (the max for that table), and BBs lost while waiting for good hands were a negligible component to the loss. – Sylverdrag Jul 15 '18 at 15:27
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Strategy / Play Money / Donkey... I don't even know how those three terms come together.

There's no donkey with play money, it's fake...

I will tell you about when a similar situation happened 3 years back (my single highest one day earning in my 1.5 years of playing semi-professionally). It was Grand Prix weekend in the Montreal Casino. I was about a year in playing for money, doing very well on the $1/2 live games and making about 10 BB per hour. Live $1/2 at the casino is fishier than $2NL on Pokerstars, no joke. Family limp pots (everyone limps) and people calling all-in with any pair, any draw... It was and still is easy money.

Grand Prix night, I am already about 4 hours in, my stack was about $500 (started max buyin at $200). I was doing well against tourists having fun, there was only about 3 regs at the table, I was the only "decent" player (the other 2 regs are still fishy but not too crazy). Then a well dressed visibly drunk man sat down at the table, pulled out a wad of $100s and spoke in American English without a french accent (that usually means someone out of town). He bought in for full ($200), and went allin first hand against a raised pot to $10 (5BB). Now online, 5BB raise is quite a lot, but in live 1/2 games people SNAPCALL $15 with any decent hand, so it's a relatively conservative raise. I was right right of him (out of position) and I called the $10 with a drawing hand (probably suited connectors) and when he reraised all-in, I felt he was weak (being drunk and probably just making a steal against a field of callers), but I had a drawing hand that would suck in heads up, so we all folded. The guy flopped over 82o and raked in the pot. I started to pay attention because we might have a whale here... :D

Then the next hand, whole table limped, I looked down at A2s and I limped as well (I know people will snapcall any normal sized raise, there's very little fold-equity here), Drunk in the SB position raised to $30 (there were about $10-$12 in the pot). Everyone folded except the guy right in front of me at cut-off. Now I might have hero-called the Drunk seeing how he played the first hand if cut-off didn't play cop here (he's also one of the better players on the table, a reg), I folded. The flop comes AKx, the Drunk bets pot-size, the reg snapcalls, rag comes on turn, same action, river comes, Drunk goes all-in... The reg is now cursing in french under his breath... Folds a K. The Drunk turns over Ten high and takes down another pot.

By this time I was like... O M G, I will buy a new laptop with his money. I claimed my seat sucked, no luck. I pretended to blame the dealer for shitty hands (he knows me and he knows I am playing with him). I switched seats to get position on the Drunk (I was like two spots to his left now on the new BB). So a few more crazy hands later, another reg CAUGHT him red-handed A-high vs his KK on the flop of 9xx and they were all-in (the reg was all-in cause he had less money). The river came an Ace and the Drunk gets another pot. By now, his stack is similar in size to mine (except mine took 4-5 hours to build).

Now a beautiful hand comes, I look down at JJs, he opened raise to $25 again (as he did many times)... Two people flat called him... I reraised to $100. He snap-called me and the two other player correctly folds. The flop comes JTx, with a flushdraw. Given how drawy the board was and how he never folds... I bet almost pot size into the pot (basically making sure we are both committed on Turn), and he reraised me all-in... I snapped called with the stone-cold nuts and he turned over QT, he hit a Q on the Turn, but didn't luck out on the river... I doubled up through him to 1k (on 1/2 table).

The drunk then pulled out his wad and instantly rebuy to full... A few hands later another player cracked him and doubled up... He refilled again. However, he did get quad 8s once against a full house and won a few lucky all-in preflops and he's up to almost $1000 !!! By then the table was livid, everyone wanted a piece of him and it was the most action ever on any table.

About an hour into the game, I made a huge laydown, 76s hit my flush on the Turn with checked flop. There's no pairs no straights on the board, just rags and a potential flush. First player (reg) bets half pot, the Drunk snap calls, another player calls behind and I reraised 4x the amount... First player thinks for like 10 seconds goes all-in, Drunk snapcalls, and the player behind snapcalls. I tanked for about 1 minute... Think if anyone had a made flush, I am crushed. Even Flush-draws and Sets/2Pairs have outs on me (those would be rare given the board and previous action), so I fold (but kept my cards to show later) and the Drunk had a bigger flush (like Ten high flush), the initial raiser had a 9 high flush and the 3rd caller was a donkey with a straight draw. The reg stormed out, he had to take a break but after I showed my 7 high flush fold, the Drunk was like wtf, did he fold? Why does he have his cards? The dealer explained that I announced I folded, give him my cards to show after the match. The drunk was like NO WAY you fold flush, you are an idiot... blah blah... I said, "Oh, I didn't know I had a flush, I thought it was a different suit." and I winked at him. He got so mad and he just started raising my pots every single time.

Then one hand he raised preflop, I called him with AK hoping to catch him in a dominated Ace situation... Flop came AKx. He standard bet pot size ($50), I called him (no up/down straight draw, no flush draw), everyone else folded. Turn cames nothing, he fires out again. I thought about it and I wanted to make sure I stack his full $1200 (I had about the same amount). I tanked about a minute... Reraised 4x to $200, he doubled it to $400... By then I was thinking he doesn't have AA/KK cause he would play differently (I have seen him play with an actual good hand), so unless he hit a random x small set, I am good. I thought about it for a bit, called his bet. He probably saw that as weakness, on the river, another Ace came out, he bets $100 into the pot... That lead me to believe he's super strong or super weak... I reraised him to $200 thinking super weak "might call", super strong will reraise. He reraised to $400 and is basically pot-committed, I go all-in, he snapcalled, turned over A2 thinking he won... I said full house, showed Aces full of Kings, he throw all his chips in the middle and just left. He actually had like $20 more than I did but he didn't come back and it was a donation to me xD

A good whale is worth like a couple of days of grinding. So yes... You should always always always LOVE a good whale.

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    Good story, pretty close. You have an impressive recall of the game! The point about getting position on the fish is a good one. The situation I describe is a bit different though: All-in preflop on every single hand. No chance to see a flop before going all in, no chance to fold if the flop doesn't look right, and villain with unlimited rebuys. – Sylverdrag Jul 15 '18 at 20:04
  • It was literally the most money I ever made in a single night of poker :D – Ying Li Aug 7 '18 at 14:12

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