A true “donk” car refers specifically to 1971-1976 Chevrolet Impalas and Caprices whether it’s stock or customized. So by that definition, the entirely stock 1973 Impala that I owned for five years was a donk, and I didn’t even know it. Now this Crown Vic, on the other hand, is a high-riser. But, despite its jacked-up stance. By definition, a donk bet is leading into the aggressor in the hand from out of position. This goes for any street. So, on the flop, it is leading into the pre-flop raiser. On the turn, it is leading into the player who continuation bet on the flop. The donk bet sometimes gets confused with the probe bet. While 'donk' or 'donk bet' technically refer to a specific type of bet, they are more commonly used to refer to any sort of terrible bet. A donk bet can actually be a good move, depending on the situation. Some donk bets are premeditated stop-and-go bets. Donkey, Fish, Donkament, Calling Station.
I recently asked for topics to write about on Twitter and had a couple questions regarding donk betting. Followers were interested in hearing when the correct time to donk bet is and what strategies should be used when implementing a donk betting strategy. Today we will cover what a donk bet is, equity and betting, donk betting later streets, and exploits.
By definition, a donk bet is leading into the aggressor in the hand from out of position. This goes for any street. So, on the flop, it is leading into the pre-flop raiser. On the turn, it is leading into the player who continuation bet on the flop. The donk bet sometimes gets confused with the probe bet. The probe bet is leading the action after a check-check situation. For example, the pre-flop aggressor chooses to check behind and now the BB bets from OOP on the turn. These bets are quite different because the ranges in play are different.
Equity is everything in poker. No matter the words you use, often you are discussing equity in some way. Equity is the backbone of the decisions we make at a poker table. When a player raises preflop from middle position with the top 20% of hands to 2.5BBs, you will often defend your big blind with around 60% of hands. You will 3-bet AA, KK sometimes QQ and JJ, and AK. You will call with all suited hands and a lot of junky offsuit hands because of equity and pot odds.
No matter the flop, the MP player will ALWAYS have an equity advantage on you. Some flops, 456 all spades, MP still has a 51% range advantage, but that is the best-case scenario for the big blind. Even though the big blind can have 87o, 23s, 65o, 54o etc., they are still at an equity disadvantage. What allows you to bet in poker is equity, plain and simple. There are different nuances of equity such as how it is distributed, or nut advantage, but in general, the more equity, the more you bet. From the BB, it is almost never correct to lead into the pre-flop raiser because the big blind is always at an equity disadvantage on the flop. Thus, it is always better to check to the in position stronger range, who will often bet, and then re-evaluate the correct response.
There is a time in the hand that donk betting becomes a viable strategy. Let’s take that same MP 20% range and the 60% range (minus AA-QQ and AK that 3 bet) in a hand. The flop comes Ad-8c-5d, the BB checks, MP bets 1/3 pot, and BB calls. The turn is now the 4d. This is a very dynamic turn as both the straight and flush draw have completed. Let’s take a visual look at both pre-flop ranges:
The key difference in these two ranges is the amount of flushes that the BB has. He has every single suited combination in his range for a possible flush and also has 76o that the MP does not have. The most common flush the MP player has is the Ace-high flush, but with the Ad on the board, that is impossible. So, the BB has a major flush advantage and also a straight advantage. Now let’s take into consideration the flop action. On A♦8♣5♦, MP should be betting 100% of his range versus the BB due to his equity advantage. He has all the Broadway combo hands, 99-KK etc. The reason he bets 100% is the BB has nothing a TON on this board. Now, the BB folds all of his junk on the flop, meaning he is left with SOMETHING all the time on the turn. In other words, the BB has an equity advantage on this turn now, and thus should bet a LOT. In summary, when a turn or river card changes the composition of the board a lot, donk betting can be considered a viable strategy, especially when that card benefits the BB’s range more than the MP range.
Donk Poker Term
Finally, we will look at exploits versus weak players. So far, we have only discussed donk betting as an equilibrium strategy. These strategies are based on maximizing your EV with your entire range, not a specific hand. For example, same set up MP v BB, but the flop is 853r. A hand such as 87 might prefer to bet because it can gain value and needs protection from over cards. However, our whole range wants to check this board. The reason is if we start betting all of our 87, 98 type hands, our checking range becomes extremely weak and we will get punished. We sacrifice the desire to bet 87 to protect and enhance the EV of other hands in our range, making us indifferent between betting and checking. Against very weak opponents, we can ignore balancing our range and begin to play exploitatively. For example, if we know our opponent will never raise our donk lead with a hand like T9, JT or other weak overcard holdings, donk leading becomes attractive. Getting a hand like A9o to fold right away if it was going to just check behind is beneficial. If we know our opponent will always check with a non-pair with two overcards in position, we should not allow him the free card and donk lead to deny equity and gain protection. HAVE A REASON to donk lead and that reason should be an error in your opponent’s strategy you have picked up. Exploit the leak and maximize your EV.
In summary, the donk lead should never be used on the flop unless there is a specific exploitative reason to do so. On board changing turn cards (flush and straight completers and board pairing cards), the BB can use donk leading as a powerful strategy. Whenever the turn or river is a “brick” donk leading should never be used because equities did not change. Finally, EQUITY is the backbone of our strategy. Learn to think about how ranges interact with the board and how big of an equity advantage a range has. Also learn to recognize which turns and river can flip the equity, allowing you to donk lead.
By Bill Hayward
Background: Is a donk just a jacked-up sedan on big wheels?
What is a donk? As with many terms in the automotive space, the definition is somewhat fluid and dependent on who you ask. Lifted bodies and over-sized wheels, from the slight to the extreme, are the common denominator. Purists will tell you that a true donk can only be a 1971-1976 Chevrolet Caprice or Impala. But others are more lax with the definition and will gladly apply the term “donk” to any car with big aftermarket wheels.
Generally, our position on these sorts of matters tends toward being more inclusive. But we also value and respect automotive and car-culture history. We won’t razz anyone for using the term “donk” loosely, but we do think it’s worthwhile to understand the term’s origin and context.
Origins of Donk Culture
If you look into the tradition, the case is clear that the term “donk” does indeed apply more accurately to ’70s Caprice and Impala builds. For the general category of lifted cars with over-sized wheels, the term “high-riser” is more appropriate.
The donk tradition originated in Miami “between the late 80s and early 90s,” according to the donk-enthusiast website Donk Planet. The website also even implies that a lift and over-sized wheels aren’t necessarily requirements:
A true “donk” car refers specifically to 1971-1976 Chevrolet Impalas and Caprices whether it’s stock or customized.
So by that definition, the entirely stock 1973 Impala that I owned for five years was a donk, and I didn’t even know it. Cool!
Now this Crown Vic, on the other hand, is a high-riser. But, despite its jacked-up stance and ginormous wheels, it isn’t a donk. It isn’t a Chevrolet and it’s also too new to be a traditional donk.
Origins of the Term
When it comes to the origin and meaning of the term, things get more uncertain. Does a heavy car propped up on big wheels resemble the proportions of a donkey, with its bodily bulk elevated on relatively thin legs? Others say that the term was coined by those who thought that the classic Impala logo looked like a donkey.
The explanations you’ll hear if you ask donk enthusiasts where the term came from seem rife with speculation and lore. It’s as if donk subculture has given rise to its own niche mythology. But that speaks to the subculture’s organic nature. It’s as if the appellation has come to feel so natural that to ask why we call a donk “a donk” is almost as absurd as asking why, in English, we call the sky “the sky.”
Customized and Showcased with Pride
Customization is clearly a focus of the culture, even though Donk Planet does say that stock Caprices and Impalas qualify. One of the top websites covering the niche is “Riding Clean,” and that points to a key element of the donk aesthetic. As the GQ article notes, “it’s all about building the cleanest custom donk you can.” Owners pour their money into pristine paint jobs, insanely meticulous detailing and, especially, eye-catching wheels with flashy, expensive finishes.
And they tend to be just as committed to showcasing the results at donk-centric “clubs and car shows around the U.S.,” according to Autoweek. In addition to Miami’s Donk Day, held annually since 2017, among the lineup of shows are:
- The annual Donk Contest in Austin, Texas.
- The annual Donktober Box Chevy & G-Body Round Up in Shreveport, Louisiana.
- The Ridin’ Durty Car Show in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which includes a Donk Mild/Wild category.
Now the Miami show, tied closely to donkdom’s roots, is a strictly ’71-’73 Impala/Caprice event. Many of the events, however, including the three listed above, welcome lifted, big-wheeled cars that are outside of the purist’s domain.
It seems that the basic appeal of taking what began as a nondescript dadmobile and transforming it into something with stunningly exaggerated proportions creates an urge, too strong to resist, to spread the fun around to other platforms.
And that really brings us back full circle to the definitional issue with which we began. To put it simply, it’s hard to talk about donks without bringing other types of high-risers into the discussion.
For one thing, it seems that the further outside the purist’s domain a high-riser build strays, the crazier the builds get. So let’s leave maximum room to acknowledge the creativity have a conversation that includes not only donks but other categories of high-risers as well.
The Appeal of High-Risers
High-risers clearly aren’t to the taste of every car enthusiast. Yet they have some alluring dimensions that are difficult to ignore:
- They’re contrarian. A high-riser takes the notion of a practical car and upends it. It’s almost like an automotive twist on the “art for art’s sake” concept. Generally speaking, high-riser mods don’t enhance performance or driveability. They aren’t built for the track, but as a rule they aren’t optimized for the street, either. They’re all about creating a look that turns heads and defies conventional notions of what a car is supposed to be.
- They exude self-referential irony. Like Magritte’s non-pipe or Jean Tinguely’s self-destroying, purposeless sculpture–machines, donks and high-risers can make an even louder statement: “This car cannot possibly exist.” And yet it does. With some exceptions among the most extreme builds, you can maneuver yourself in (although in some cases that might be a little difficult) and drive them.
The Pitfalls of High-Risers
With donks and other high-risers, an old cliche rings true: “You have to take the bitter with the sweet. The strengths that make them captivating to look at are also their weaknesses. Among the pitfalls are:
- Larger wheels look cool but don’t make for a smoother ride. Traditional donks are built from cars that were originally engineered to be smooth highway cruisers. But adding larger wheels can change these driving dynamics. The aesthetic benefit of big wheels is that they leave less gap between the bottom of the wheel arch and the top of the tire. But large, low-profile tires also generally mean a rougher ride.
- Larger wheels are detrimental to handling and cornering. Shorter, wider tires offer superior grip, according to Consumer Reports—and that means better agility when it comes to navigating curves and turns.
- The alterations can raise engineering and mechanical concerns. To name just a few, a larger-than-stock diameter of a wheel-and-tire combination can throw off speedometer calibration. Even worse, however, is that, according to the transmission service franchise Aamco, using larger rims and tires can also put more strain on a powertrain by “changing the ratio of all the components involved in making your vehicle stop and go.” Brakes and suspension can also be affected. Tighter engineering tolerances of newer cars are likely to make such issues more problematic if you’re building a high-riser on a later-model platform.
So have fun with your donks and high-risers
Donk Poker Meaning Urban Dictionary
There you have it—our brief overview of donks, high-risers, and the history of the car-culture niches they occupy. If you’re currently rocking a ’71-’73 Chevrolet Caprice or Impala—stock or customized, riding high or cruising low—or giving some thought to buying one, we’ll warmly embrace your decision to call it a donk.
Donk Poker Meaning Slang
Now, if you have or want to build a Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, or any other vehicle that’s reaching toward the heavens on over-sized wheels and you have a strong urge to call it a donk, well, heck—we won’t take issue with that either. But we’d still prefer that you call it a high-riser.