Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Dealing With Bad Variance

Hi, certain types of 'variance' can be difficult to quantify. Your villains might be hitting certain board textures a larger amount of the time than is statistically likely, for example. However, one type of variance (or what should really be called standard deviation) that we can calculate is how we are faring in the all-in pots that go to showdown with more cards left to be dealt. Poker Tracker calculates this 'all-in EV' for you and you can display it on your profit graph to see how you've been getting on. If you look at my graph above the gold line is what I should have won if I'd realised my true expectation in these all-in pots during the last two days. The green line is what I have actually won. I'm down around about 10.5 buy-ins. So I'm certainly experiencing a bad downswing in the biggest pots currently. The good news is that statistically this is certain to rebalance with volume. So I just have to take no notice and keep playing and look forward to the heater. So far I've been unaffected but let's hope that 10 doesn't become 20... Or 30...
Another thing to notice about the graph is that I'm still flatlining the red line. For those who don't know what this is it's the money that we win or lose when we don't go to showdown. Some players break even or lose money because they are giving up too much to the red line. This in turn eats away their showdown winnings leading to negligable or losing win rates. Causes for this can include playing too many weak hands (and not playing them aggressively enough post flop) and also money posted in the blinds (when we end up folding). I believe that maximising red line winnings is crucial to beating the games these days (at least for a decent winrate and reduced variance). Aggression is critical to achieving this. Every player should aim to have the ratio of showdown winnings to no - showdown losses at at least 2:1 IMO. Any worse than that and I'd argue they have too many strategy leaks or they are playing in games that are too tough. A good red line also helps when suffering from bad luck. If I'd lost 50-60 bucks extra from no showdown losses on top of the bad variance then I'm certain I would be struggling with confidence and my game would definitely take a turn for the worse. As it is, I'm committed to just riding the waves and hopefully I'll get a nice little heater in the next two to three weeks. GL

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