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How important is momentum in poker?

How important is momentum in poker?

When a new name comes out of nowhere and starts crushing poker tournaments and putting up big score after big score, we often assume they’re an overnight success, when in fact, the opposite is usually true.

Chances are they’ve actually been working hard on their game for a while, they just hadn’t broken through with results. But then the results come and keep on coming.

There’s a lot to be said for momentum in poker. Winning big relative to your bankroll can go one of two ways: You either rest on your laurels, feeling satisfied with your accomplishment. Or you feel more motivated than ever to keep working, improving, and battling to ensure the scores keep coming.

Winning also fills us with confidence, but this too can be a double-edged sword. Feel too confident and you might slack on your studying. Feel underconfident and you might not follow through with the moves you need to make to win at higher stakes.

To help us understand momentum in poker and how it impacts a player’s mind, we spoke with BBZ Poker student Guilherme Rocha, known as ‘guilhermeomcrocha’ in our Discord.

Rocha, a 27-year-old poker pro from Coimbra, Portugal, recently beat his biggest career tournament cash. Then he did it again. And then he did it again. Throughout November 2022, he beat his personal best three times in the same month.

Guilherme Rocha (photo courtesy of Spanish Poker Festival)

Here Rocha tells us how a quick game on his phone led to him turning pro, how his winning momentum impacted his routines, and the things he studied that had the biggest impact on his results.

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Hey Guilherme. I know you have quite an interesting story about how you decided to turn pro. What happened?

Guilherme Rocha: I started playing poker when I was still in high school with some friends. We’d play in the back of some coffeehouse with bets no more than a few cents. I enjoyed the game but didn’t play much until during covid.

Two or three years ago my girlfriend and I were travelling across Europe in our motorhome and we had some engine problems that got us stuck in France for a month with not much to do. At the time, I didn’t even have a computer so I started playing on the mobile phone just for fun and I was fortunate to hit what at the time was a big score for me, around $400 or $500.

From that moment on I decided that poker was something I would like to do for a living, mainly because of the freedom that comes with it. Since then I haven’t stopped. I dedicate my time to becoming a better player and started making a living from it shortly after thanks to the support of my girlfriend.

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Surely it hasn’t all been smooth sailing?

I’ve had some ups and downs. The worst I had was this year when I had a period of three to four months losing but eventually I think we get used to the downswings and I think my experience travelling on budget helped me a lot in terms of managing my bankroll and going up and down stakes.

Then, in November, I had the best month of my short career and more than doubled my bankroll. It’s all part of the process.

How did it feel to keep beating your personal biggest score?

Beating my personal best score always feels amazing, I’m extremely competitive with my friends and I’m always trying to get better scores and go up in stakes. This year was truly amazing in results.

By getting better in my game, each month I felt like I wasn’t good enough in the month before. Now I just feel more motivated than ever to keep doing the best I can.

Do you think momentum is a thing in poker? In other words, do you think you played better because you’ve been winning recently?

I think when you are feeling confident in your game and playing with no economic pressure you make better decisions, not thinking so much about the results and outcomes. So yes, sure, I believe a bit in the momentum. However, I think the results will come eventually in poker if you put in the work, study and improve your game and habits.

Did you do anything differently after the first two scores? Some people might study less, others more etc.

The main things that changed for me this year and between scores were routines:

  • I started a gym routine
  • I studied almost every day
  • I planned my weekly schedule
  • I tried to be the most productive I can be

After these scores, I’ve switched my focus more to studying and becoming a better player than playing, but I’m still doing the same things mostly.

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At what point did you discover BBZ Poker and how did you get started with them?

I discovered BBZ either through Jon ‘apestyles’ Van Fleet’s streams as well as just looking for free content on YouTube. The first poker content I bought was the Apestyles Bundle and I think it was the best investment I could’ve made to start my career.

Before I was just watching content without understanding half of the poker language and concepts. The Apestyles Bundle gave me all the notions I needed to start and the results just came with it. After that, I bought more stuff and eventually joined the Daily Seminars after seeing the incredible value they offer for such a cheap price.

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Is there anything, in particular, you’ve learned from the BBZ Poker team that has helped you play better recently?

Actually a lot of stuff. Recently, BBZ classes on BB vs SB and Deepstack play for example were real game-changers for me. I was completely misunderstanding some spots.

However, the best thing for me in the BBZ Seminars is the connection we have with the coaches. Seminars are really interactive and our questions are answered in the moment. The coaches also make you feel comfortable to message them with doubts and questions. For example, I found a leak in my game in PKOs and I messaged Jargo [‘bungakat’ Alavali] about it asking for some help on how I could study to fix it and he just gave a class on it a few days later. It makes you feel at home!

How do these results impact your poker career?

Well, it’s not changing much in terms of material things, it just makes me feel more comfortable, so yeah, it’s more of a bankroll booster and another step closer to achieving the financial freedom we all want.

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