Velocitization – Drastic Changes of Pace at the Poker Table

Since poker is such a widely played game, there are endless theories and analyses that can help you better understand it. If you are serious about being a good poker player, then it helps to research and internalize these thoughts so that you can recognize them on the table and use them to your advantage. We want to make sure that you can go from being a newbie to a pro without having to play thousands of hands, which is why we are dedicated to offering you the most valuable insight you can get on the game. In this case, velocitization is what we are going to discuss  (Pronounced Ve-Loss-Ci-Ti-Zay-Shun).

This phenomenon is not exclusive to poker, but it certainly is applicable. If you’re the type of person who likes to play tournaments or go from high stakes tables to entry level ones, then you most likely have experienced it. In fact, many longtime players have probably felt this at some point without ever realizing that it had a name.

Thankfully, like anything you experience on the tables, the more you know and understand what’s happening, the better you can be about recognizing it and putting a stop to it. While Velocitization is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to some pretty boneheaded mistakes. Thus, to help you avoid such situations, we will go over this phenomenon in depth.

What is Velocitization?


Technically speaking, velocitization is a concept born out of physics and motion. The best way to describe it is to use a car analogy. Since we all spend so much time driving, it’s much easier to understand this way.

Let’s say that you’re cruising down the freeway, speeding along at eighty or ninety miles per hour. After a while, you get accustomed to traveling at that speed, so if you ever have to slow down, like when two trucks are passing each other and blocking both lanes, you feel like you’re crawling. Even if the relative speed difference is not a huge amount, because you’re so used to going fast and rushing by everything, the change is now magnified. In this example, you may be slowing from eighty miles per hour to just sixty, and yet it feels like you might as well be driving at twenty.

How it works is that once your body and mind have adjusted to going at a certain speed, as soon as you have to slow down by any considerable amount it feels much worse than it really is. In our car situation above, it can get frustrating very easily, and you may find yourself getting irritated at the slightest provocation.

In short, this experience applies to many different situations, in that once you get so wrapped up in a certain way of doing things, having to slow down or shift course can be jarring and frustrating.

Velocitization in Poker

So how does this phenomenon apply to poker? After all, the game mechanics are virtually the same, so how can velocitization be a problem on the tables? Well, this experience manifests itself if you have ever gone from a high-stakes table to one that is entry-level. For example, if you’re finishing up at a game with a blind of $1000 and then you move to a full table that opens with $10 bets, the action can feel incredibly slow and annoying.

Most notably velocitization happens in tournaments. You have to play at a table until people get knocked off, so bets increase incrementally until you make it to the next round. However, once you get to the next table, everyone starts at a lower amount, which is a huge change from the bets you were just doing.

So what are the effects of velocitization? Again, most people who experience this get frustrated easily and start to act out. In poker, this is dangerous, as it could lead you to make moves that you otherwise wouldn’t try, and you may wind up hemorrhaging chips as a result. Essentially, you got so used to playing in a big game that now playing for smaller stakes seems like you’re moving backward. In fact, velocitization can get bad enough that it’s comparable to going full tilt. If you’ve ever had that happen before, you know how ugly it can get.

Velocitization Remedy

Slow Down

So what can you do when you feel velocitized? Well, first of all, you need to understand what is happening. For the most part, you should be able to recognize the signs immediately, especially if you’re going from high stakes tables to entry level ones.

Once you’ve realized and assessed the situation, then it comes time to react accordingly. There is no one right answer for everyone, but essentially you want to take a deep breath and start to slow down. If possible, try to clear your head of strategies for last tables, and instead try to focus on fundamentals and basic poker.

In some cases, the best answer is to take a break. Get your mind off the game for a little while until you can come back refreshed and ready for another slow burn game. As any pro will tell you, poker is a marathon, not a race, so if things seem to be getting too slow for your tastes, you need to get on board with the pace or risk losing big.

Warning Signs of Velocitization

To help you better understand what to watch out for, we’ve developed a short list of signs that you may be velocitized. If you are noticing any of these signs, it could be time to take a break and slow down.

  • Increased bet size in early games with a full table
  • Feeling like no pot is worth it because they are too small
  • Impatience at how other people are playing
  • Calling or raising just to increase the pot

While this is not a comprehensive list, it can be an excellent way to start noticing if velocitization is affecting you. The best news, however, is that you should be able to correct your behavior once you catch it. If nothing else, once your stack starts to go down substantially you may begin to realize what you’re doing and then shift gears to minimize the damage.

Velocitization Conclusion

So what have we learned then about this experience? Basically, the most important step to avoiding falling down the velocitization pit is to recognize when it happens and develop a strategy to get your head back in the game. In fact, we bet that many of you reading this are thinking that there is finally a word for how this feels, and maybe you’ve already created a system for dealing with it.

Overall, the most important thing is not to let it take control of your playing abilities, and certainly not let it show to your opponents. The worst thing is another player taking advantage of your impatience to grow his or her bankroll while you’re still thinking about high-stakes strategy. Remember to take a step back, relax, and, if necessary, remove yourself from the table to recharge. Now that you know what to look for, you can avoid it as much as possible.

Further Reading

To help you become a better player overall, we suggest that you take a look at some of our other poker strategy guides. The best thing to do to avoid velocitization is to be flexible and have the ability to refocus your skills according to the game that’s being played. Here are some other articles that can help you overall, as well as assist you with recognizing velocitization when it occurs.

Position and Raising Equity

This article will help you understand that your place on the table can have a tremendous impact on your betting strategy. What that also means is that you can use your position to your advantage.

Becoming a Poker Pro

If you want to take the game seriously, then you have to put in the time and effort to learn the fundamentals. Once you’ve mastered those, then you can start to develop advanced strategy and tactics to make your time on the tables much more profitable in the long run.

Poker Odds and Pot Size

Part of the effect of velocitization is that when you’re going from minimum pots of several thousand dollars to ones that are only worth less than a hundred, it can feel like you’re wasting your time. To help get your mind back to basics, you should instead focus on the odds and pot size relative to your blinds so that you can get back into the swing of things.

At the end of the day, the more you can learn about how the game is played, the better off you will be in the long run. Velocitization does not have to be a damaging problem as long as you can back off and take the big picture approach. Letting your emotions get the better of you can lead to some significant losses, so try to take your feelings off the table as much as possible.  Comment below if you ever experienced velocitization – did you find a coping strategy?

I'm a tech geek who enjoys extreme sports, computing and, of course, an avid poker enthusiast.

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