Running Good at Poker

Running good is a winning streak, meaning you’re on an upswing due to a string of good cards.

There will be times when you run good over short periods of time. And on other occasions you will run good over longer periods.

An example of running good would be when you’re playing an online cash game and you’re dealt aces, then kings, then queens and then aces again over a 30-minute period, picking up big pots on each hand you play.

Let’s look more at the above example. Simply being dealt a strong hand is not in itself running good, because if everyone folds and you win just the blinds, then you’re not picking up enough chips.

To run good, you need your opponents to have decent hands too, or play bad, allowing you to take down large pots and hurt your opponents’ confidence and chip stacks.

Celina Lin

“it’s purely variance”

It’s possible to run good over an entire poker tournament. Some players mistake running good for playing well, but this is a mistake. It’s also wrong to assume you’re playing poorly when you’re actually playing well but running bad.

Running bad or good is purely variance, and every player experiences it throughout their poker journey. It’s important to understand when you are running good, so you are ready if the cards turn against you.

Other ways players may refer to Running Good

  • “I’ve been hit by the deck”
  • “I’m on a rush”
  • “I’m on a heater”
  • “The deck has slapped me in the face”
  • “I’m running hot”
  • “I’m on a winning streak”
  • “the deck smashed me in the face!”

Big Poker Pot

Opponents Running Good

We have all been at a table where an opponent is running good. Don’t get scared or distracted by this. In a tournament, you may have seen the last three players be eliminated by the same player whilst holding A-J. You should never just fold the same hand because you fear being a victim of the player who seems to be having all the luck.

It’s not uncommon for players to make poor decisions, like bad calls, but still get lucky. When an opponent is playing badly and running good, it can often tilt their opponents. Some opponents may even start playing bad just to try and get in on the lucky action.

Don’t be one of those players. Let the opponent playing badly continue to do so – eventually their luck will run out. Staying disciplined and focused will mean some of those chips may end up in your stack.

Playing Well and Running Good

If you’re already a player who puts in the effort to improve your game and learn from mistakes, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of many of your opponents. When you are playing great poker and then start running good you become almost unstoppable in that moment – a player to be feared at the table.

“Run Good + Good Play = Unstoppable”

You can obviously use this to your advantage by playing a little more aggressive against the players who seem to fear you. There will possibly be players that are on tilt because of this too, and out to get you, so you’ll need to decide exactly how this player plans ‘to get you’.

  • Will they wait for big hands to fight back?
  • Will they wait for medium hands to fight back?
  • Will they just start trying to bluff you off pots?

Counter Attacks

  • Take small stabs at the pot. If they fight back, and you have a weak hand, fold. The idea here is to continually win small pots from them.
  • Put the pressure on them. Raise more, win the small pots, but fight for the medium ones when you have stronger hands. If you have a monster hand and believe they are not able to fold a medium hand, make those raises hurt.
  • Call down more with weak hands, such as top pair or second pair. Show them you’re a force to be reckoned with and that your game is not all about running good.

“If you can tell you’re running good, it means you’re playing good”

Run Good Tips

  • Running good happens randomly – do not try to force it.
  • When you go on a lucky streak, do not fall into the trap of playing bad, believing you’re going to get lucky. Leave this to your opponents.
  • When running good and playing well, make sure you’re aware of how your opponents are playing. Do they seem to be on tilt?
  • Always try to adjust your style based on your opponents, but readjust where needed when you’re on a heater.
  • Always play your A game whether you’re running hot or cold.
  • Have a plan ready for when you’re hit by the deck. Be ready to take advantage.
  • Play more games. The more you play the more you will experience running good. Unfortunately, you’ll also experience running bad too. Be prepared for both!
  • Acknowledge when you’re running well. This way you can have a clearer view on how your opponents portray you.
  • If an opponent thinks you’re running good but you’re not, do not correct them.
  • Have fun! Playing well and running good is one of the best feelings in poker. Make sure you enjoy the moment and, most importantly, use it to win as many chips as possible.

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