Momentum In Poker

Lol, I would hate to think of myself as royalty, but I think I’ve said everything I can without repeating myself at this point. I guess “streak” is as good as “momentum” but neither gives you the power of understanding that my explanations give.

My point was that momentum involves more than a streak of good cards.

Yes, you can look at a movie one frame at a time, taking great care to examine and analyse each frame one by one. You can also write a 2,000 word essay on each frame, describing each in great detail.

I find it easier to see these frames as a whole, and call them a movie.

A note on drive-by “Royalty” insults… Forum participation probably follows a Pareto distribution, where 20% of the participants produce 80% of the content. A forum without content isn’t much of a forum, Dragging people for having discussions on a forum designed for people to discuss things is rather pointless and factually inaccurate. I’m not “Royalty,” I’m a demigod. (hahaha)

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Good point. This is what I have found in my online experience of card games, though I can’t explain to myself how computer generated random numbers create such clusters.

Marc’s term ‘momentum’ looks meaningful to me. In a good streak, I will call with cards that I may usually fold, keeping up the momentum.

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We’re in agreement that the phenomenon we’re discussing does consist of more than a streak of good cards or hands that hit the board well.

Which is fine if you’re appreciating the art of film, and are talking about things like story, cinematography, editing, lighting, acting, plot, sets and costumes, stunts, etc.

If you’re talking about the engineering work necessary to invent the technologies that make movie cameras possible, then you need to have an understanding of the mechanics of what a movie is. With such understanding, one may craft cinema experiences that are not possible without this understanding, such as animation and other “trick photography” techniques.

So I think if you want to do more innovative, more masterful movie production, you need to invest knowledge in understanding the technology.

By selecting numbers at random!

Then the human comes along and notices patterns, and says things like “Hey, in this part of the sequence here, we had 20 odd numbers in a row. That’s amazing!” or “Here, out of a range of 1-100, all the numbers were above 80, 15 times in a row. Wow!” or “It picked 53 back to back here, and again 20 hands later! Neat!”

If you wait 20 more hands and then bet your house that the RNG will pick 53 again, you’re going to lose your house a lot of the time.

And if you make calls like this, you’re more likely to lose those hands as well, if your “usual” decision is correct. If you really want to make use of “momentum” then you should be raising in a situation like that rather than just calling (because your raise, combined with the perception that you’re hot, will induce more folds than usual, winning you “unearned” chips that further add to your edge in the game). If you get called and then fill your draw, or otherwise win the hand, then you win an even bigger pot.

Or alternately, if the wins from your hot streak gave you enough chips to make such calls because you can afford to speculate and lose a pot, giving up on it if you miss, then you can catch some of those missed opportunities that you’d never see if you fold early out of caution. Which is more or less what you’re saying. But if the call is -EV, it’s still a -EV play to call even when you’re in a hot streak. There’s nothing about being in a hot cluster to make filling the draw on that particular hand any more likely than any other time you’re in that situation. Making adjustments because you yourself believe that you’re “hot” (or cold for that matter) is maladaptive; persuading your opponents to make maladaptive adjustments to their game because they’re convinced you are hot is how you can use “momentum” to win more hands.

Or you could sustain the momentum by betting or raising enough to cripple your opponent when you miss. Sustaining momentum doesn’t rely on “clusters” of great hands.

According to my stats page, nearly 50% of the hands I’ve won were won without showdown. This means that almost half of the time, I didn’t need cards at all, let alone good cards. I could have won those hands with a proof of purchase from a box of Pop Tarts and an unused ticket from a cancelled Millie Vanilli concert.

“Momentum” and “hot streaks” are not the same thing… not even close.

I likewise win about half of my pots without showdown. As I’ve said above, you’re talking about big stack strategy, and what I call applying pressure. You can call it momentum if you want. But the reason it works isn’t because you won several hands in the last orbit, it’s because you got enough chips to employ a big stack strategy and you have a table image to make it work.

I don’t really have anything else to say.

No, that’s not what I’m talking about unless I had a big stack in all the non-showdown hands, which I didn’t.

We should call it momentum because the thread is “Momentum in Poker.” I think it was Forest Gump who said, " What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."

I never said that’s why it works. I would never even suggest that the deal of one hand has any influence on the next deal. Momentum has nothing to do with the spacing of the hands. It has to do with winning those hands you play, not when those hands occur.

If history is any indication, this statement is false. :slight_smile:


I simulated thousand deals of six player table. Have charted the winning of the first player. Each blue line is the winning hand. I don’t know whether it can be called clustered,

Cool. You’ll notice that the blue lines are not uniformly distributed like a regular pattern. The close together lines are clusters.

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Well said, although there is “momentum” in poker where you do run hot, but thats variance and should not be the main focus. You probably know this but for the uninitiated your main focus should lie in making +EV plays in every street regardless of what happened in the last hand

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The Hendon Mob lists David Peters as 7th in all time live poker earnings, with career earnings of $33,737,539. I wonder if he thinks momentum is a real thing? Well, let’s see!

Interesting that he talks more about momentum’s effects on him (confidence level) and its effect on the other players (intimidation factor) more than he talks about the cards. Who knew?


“It’s a crazy thing, based on confidence. I don’t know… You can’t really describe it.” – David Peters.

Wow, I am convinced. Momentum is for sure a real thing! He said it so eloquently!

“You can lose confidence or have doubt if you’re on a downswing, or if you’re playing against someone on a big upswing you can get scared, it messes with your heads… If you’re You have to play the hand the best you can regardless of who has the momentum.”

This is exactly what I am saying. Regardless of “momentum” you have to play the hand the best you can.

What he’s talking about is entirely on the psychological side of the game, exactly as I’ve been saying all along. You have to play the hand “the best you can” regardless of the “momentum” precisely because the cards in a fair deck do not care about silly humans and their tendency to observe patterns and ascribe causal relationships where there are none.

And as I’ve said, you can call it momentum if you want to but unless you understand that the cards don’t magically pick the winner and decide who their favorite player is capriciously from minute to minute, a misunderstanding of what you think “momentum” is will turn you into a loser pretty darn quick.

If you want to get good at poker, study real things that matter, like math, probability, odds, and, yes, psychology. Understand why humans are so bad at understanding probability and causality, how to read faces and body language, why people are so prone to believing in fallacies. You can print money.

If you want to keep your edge to yourself, pre-can a lot of BS about unexplainable mystic mumbo jumbo that you can feed to hungry sports reporters without giving away a bit of useful information about what you’re really doing.

Yes, I do understand that. I have been trying to teach you that for the last 2 years. It’s very rewarding to see my lessons finally paid off!

Yes, this is why I have been trying to teach you the difference between momentum and “clusters” of good hands. I hope this won’t take 2 years, but I’m a patient fella.

So your new theory is that he was lying in order to protect his top-secret strategies? Hahaha, that’s priceless!

I thought you were done talking about this? Perhaps I know the psychology of a Pug better than you do. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I said I had nothing more to say, not that I wouldn’t respond to further developments in the conversation. When you posted something else that I had something to say about, I said it.

I didn’t say he was lying, but people do not typically go deep into their real strategy when giving sports interviews, do they? They usually say something very obvious about fundamentals, or something about execution, or they thank their personal deity.

He had apparently tweeted something recently about momentum, and he was asked about that, and his response is essentially a non-answer, in that it’s pretty devoid of information one could use for construct a theory of momentum.

I would suggest that you are teaching me nothing about this momentum business, because we pretty well agree about it for the most part, other than what to call it. I think I’ve given pretty strong reasons for looking at what’s really going on with the perception that there’s momentum in a poker game, and using the deeper understanding. And I’ve conceded that it doesn’t really matter what you want to call it, if you want to call it momentum as a shorthand for a bunch of different stuff like I’ve given examples of, fine, save yourself the extra syllables. But it’s fine only if you have the understanding that you need to find your edge in the game. If you lack the understanding, and can’t articulate what momentum is properly, then I humbly suggest thinking about it and observing until the understanding develops. Your poker pro no doubt has this understanding, even if he was put on the spot for a live interview and didn’t have a more eloquent answer prepared. Or perhaps he doesn’t have a conscious awareness of what he knows. Very often people who are very skilled at a thing are terrible at explaining it to people, and make lousy teachers. Knowing how to do something is one thing, being able to explain it so that anyone else can understand it as well as you do is quite another.

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" I guess “streak” is as good as “momentum” but neither gives you the power of understanding that my explanations give." You’re right, I probably should have used the word Priests

Or you could just stick to the topic snookums.

I think I was sticking to the topic.That was until you became insulted by my use of what you called a “drive-by insult”, that being “RP Royalty”, and obviously assuming I was referring to you, which TBH I was, but not exclusively. Am I supposed be insulted by you calling yourself a demigod in what I assume was in jest ? Of course I’m not, even if you think it’s true. Consider yourself blessed that you have the mathematical aptitude for success in the game Buckaroo.

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If we believe that momentum is either a myth, or is based solely on getting a “cluster” of good cards, then talking about ways to sustain momentum are rather pointless. After all, you can’t sustain something that doesn’t exist, nor do you have any way to influence the fall of randomly selected cards. If it’s just a lucky streak, it ends when it ends. Fair enough.

But if you understand that momentum is a “thing,” even if it is largely psychological, then there should be specific principals and techniques that can help us to sustain momentum… and there are.

I would define “momentum” as a “winning trend,” specifically within an MTT, and especially during the late stages of an MTT. Yes, there is also the kind of “macro” momentum where you do well in a series of tournaments, and perhaps some of these concepts also apply to early and mid game tournament play and rings, but post-bubble MTT play is where momentum is most easily sustained and most profitable.

I use the term “momentum” because,. well, that’s what it’s called.

If anyone is interested in talking about ways to help sustain momentum, let’s talk.

PS: @finn007 No, you were not supposed to be insulted by me calling myself a demigod, and yes, it was in jest as you could tell from the (hahaha). And no, I wasn’t insulted by being called royalty or a priest. Nothing you or anyone else calls me bothers me in the least. It’s just so… pointless.

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Last night I was playing one of the gemstone diamond games. The first half consisted of a couple of bad decisions and generally a lack of cards to do anything with. Finally, I’m doing a fold marathon, and seeing more chips making my BB bet than i had in my stack, I shoved J7s. Got one caller who turned over AJ. Jack came on the flop, and I’m already typing in congrats when the river hits my seven. No one was sorry the gazillion times it’s happened to me, so I wasn’t either.

From there I clawed my way to a medium sized stack, got it all in on the right side of a set vs trips hand, and I’m chip leader.

Hung on to win, playing pretty good for someone with as little experience as I have. However, none of it happens without that lucky river. Don’t know for sure, but I bet every tourney I’ve ever won has a hand like that in it somewhere.

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It is axiomatic in poker that if you win 2 hands in a row that you should play the third hand regardless of the strength of the hand…