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Playing the Rush

What is Playing the Rush?

Playing the rush denotes a player becoming more aggressive and confident in their play after a streak of wins. Most poker players will experience the ‘rush’, a winning streak of particularly good hands that can leave a player feeling invincible.

Playing the Rush Explained

Doyle Brunson, one of the legends of the game, famously advocated an aggressive style for playing the rush: “After I’ve won a pot in no-limit,” he said, “I’m in the next pot – regardless of what two cards I pick up. And if I win that one, I’m always in the next one. I keep playing every pot until I lose one. And, in all those pots, I gamble more than I normally would.”

Some players believe you can create a rush by taking Brunson’s advice and automatically playing the next hand instead of turtling. When you’re a winner you’ll automatically enhance your table image and that’s something you’re going to want to take advantage of. If you start playing conservatively after a win, then other players will have the advantage of knowing they can force you to fold. Play the next hand aggressively, just as Brunson did back in the day and they’ll assume you have a monster and fold politely.

There’s more than a little voodoo around the rush and Brunson claimed he’d made millions because “there’s only one world-class poker player that I know of who doesn’t believe in rushes.” If they’re saying things around the table like ‘that seat’s smoking’ or ‘I’m out until this thing runs out’ then your opponents believe in the rush and that’s one of the biggest psychological advantages you’re ever going to get. Keep playing aggressively and you’ll encourage the illusion that you’re controlling the rush through skill rather than luck alone.

Whether you use smoke and mirrors to sustain the illusion of the rush, or whether you’re actually getting several premium hands in a row, it’s fun to follow Brunson’s advice once in a while: “If you’re going to have a rush, you’ve got to let yourself have one. You’ve got to sustain that rush.”