Poker glossary definition of Momentum

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Momentum is a commonly used term in sports and refers to the mental state of a team or a player. Successes boost the self-esteem of a player, he feels strong, believes in his abilities and can even increase his level of performance with this positive mindset.

In poker tournaments the momentum is often among the decisive factors between victory and defeat. A player who managed to double his stack multiple times in a short period of time has positive momentum on his side. These successes make him feel stronger, enabling him to play confidently, dominate the table and keep building his stack.

The momentum can also have negative effects on a player. A poker player experiencing a downswing will know this phenomenon: He can't seem to remember the last time that the board helped him. This can lead to wrong decisions due to a lack of concentration and incorrect adjustments to his game. It is difficult for him to put an end to the negative series of events since his self-confidence is continuously decreasing with the win rate. The player expects the next coin flip to go wrong, the next monster draw not to arrive and the next session to be another unsuccessful one. A negative momentum can have a long-term impact on the decisions of a player.

Players should not let past decisions have a negative effect on their mindset. A player who is experiencing negative momentum has to accept the current situation, look ahead and make new decisions without giving any thought to irreversible losses from the past.