Poker Rush

On a Rush - Winning Streak - On a Heater

by Jesse Knight


Poker Rush
Rush – A winning streak.

When a player goes on a winning streak, it is known as a “rush.” Players who are on a rush are said to be “rushing.” Rushes are a result of the statistical variation you will experience when you play cards. Sometimes, you will “run good,” and win several hands in a short period of time. At other times, you will “run bad,” and take several bad beats in a row. This really does not reflect your ability as a player or your potential to make long term profits. It is more a reflection of the ups and downs you can expect to experience when you play poker.

Statisticians will tell you that past wins or losses do not have any statistical relationship to future wins and losses. If you had won your last five hands that you played, you would be just as likely to win the sixth as if you had lost the five previous hands. In other words, each hand is an independent event with its own unique outcome and is entirely unrelated to previous outcomes. If you accept this, rushes are just anomalies, and do not really exist, other than being an after the fact description of a series of unrelated events. In fact, statisticians will tell you that luck, in general, can be described this way. This is easy to accept if you believe in the randomness of unrelated events and are not superstitious.

However, most poker players are superstitious, at least to a degree. Many players believe that luck is tangible and is far more than an after the fact description of a series of unrelated events. They believe that if they are lucky they will continue to win, and if they are unlucky they will continue to lose, regardless of the specific statistical dynamics of the situation. These players view a rush as something to be taken advantage of, because they believe that when they are on a rush they will continue to win, even if they play subpar hands or engage in less than optimal play. These players will often insist on “playing the rush,” which means that they will expand their starting hand requirements to the point where they will play virtually every hand as long as they are winning. This is a bad idea, because engaging in less than optimal play will lead to losses over the long run. It is true that you will sometimes be able to extend your rush by playing subpar starting hands or by calling in less than optimal situations, but this is the exception rather than the rule. More often than not, attempting to extend your rush in this way will result in you losing back a chunk of the money you’ve just won.

It is not true that winning several hands in a row will increase the probability that you will make your hand on subsequent draws. However, after winning several hands in a short period of time, there is a small degree of value added to your position that has nothing to do with statistics. The value comes from the fact that most players do not want to go up against a player who they perceive to be on a rush, for fear of running into a buzz saw. This may allow you to bully the game, and take away some pots from players who would otherwise not relinquish them. Superstitious players are extremely vulnerable to this type of aggressive play, and may even lay down hands when they have you dominate, either out of fear or respect for the power of your rush. Even player who are not particularly superstitious can be vulnerable to this, to a certain degree, without being conscious of it.

So, you can see that there is a right way and a wrong way to exploit your rush. The right way is to look for opportunities to extract additional profit from the game that may not be available to you under normal circumstances. This is done by ratcheting up your aggression level, and by taking advantage of your opponent’s fears and superstitions. When you do this, you are essentially reassessing your implied odds, based on the fact that becoming highly aggressive in this situation is likely to lead to a more profitable outcome to you than it normally would. This is excellent play and will be rewarded over the long run. You just need to be careful that you don’t push it too far, or you will be speeding and as such will be engaging in sub-optimal play. The wrong way to attempt to exploit your rush is to attempt to extend it by playing unprofitable starting hands, or to chase when you have neither pot odds nor implied odds to continue on in the hand. This is just poor play and will result in losses over the long run.

Usage: Play My Rush, On A Rush, Poker Rush, Caught A Rush Of Cards

Previous Poker Term: Runner
Next Poker Term: Sandbag


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