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Poker Variance

Play with the swings

Carbon sexy Elizabeth Shannon

Every time you get it all in preflop with AKs against any pocket pair smaller than KK you are going to win 46% of the time (close to a coin flip). This then means that 54% of the time the pocket pair will win. So then in the long run you will lose money getting it all in with AK against pocket pairs.

With pocket aces against pocket kings preflop you are over an 80% favorite against the kings. Sometimes a king does come out and the pocket aces lose to the kings. This is called poker variance at its finest. This is one thing that you have to accept. If bad hands didn't randomly win, then your bad opponents would never play them and pay you off. You will learn to love variance.

One of the first things that you have to realize about variance is that it sucks, but it is a part of the game.

If it weren't for variance where 23 offsuit beats pocket aces, then the game would be full of players who are only playing strong hands. Since bad players do randomly hit with the bad hands they play, they continue to play them and see nothing wrong with it.

If it weren't for the times that these players made strong hands with these types of holdings, then they would never play them and you would never have them dominated. Instead of tilting off your money when you are sucked out on, learn to appreciate the part of the game that is so underrated and allows you to win so much money.


How to stand poker variance

A key factor in really grasping the ideas behind the whole game of poker is to realize that you are playing odds and variance and applying it over a large scale.

The larger the scale you apply this to, the less variance you will see. This means that the more you play, the less variance you will experience. Because over a longer time period, short-term good luck and bad luck will cancel each other.

You will quickly realize that what happens in the short term from one session to the next doesn't really matter. Everything is based off of how your bankroll is building and that you are playing hands and situations that pay you off in the long run. Play hands with a positive expected value and do not worry too much over variance, as things will take care of themselves in the long-run if you make the correct plays.

When you start off playing tight you are playing only some of the strongest hands there are. This is because for the most part these hands offer a large percentage of wins. This means that you will win much more when you win with these hands and it isn't too hard to see a direct increase in your bankroll because these have such great odds and percentages.

Once you start to better yourself as a player you can then begin to start taking smaller odds by opening up your range a bit. When you do this you are allowing your bankroll to pad the variance of playing a large range of hands that only offer a small percentage of being a favorite over your opponent's range. When you do this you will not see too much of an increase in your bankroll and you will see a bit more variance, but in the long run taking the small edge adds up and will smooth out over the long term.

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