Poker variance is defined as measurement statistics that indicate how your outcomes will be scattered and distributed. Also, to be clear, “bankroll swings” is not the end-all, be-all of what poker variance is all about. Winning at this game entails the continuous application and reapplication of gains and advantages in the long term. If you’re capable of playing the game in a superior manner to your opponents such that it even prevails over the rake, you’ll more often than not succeed.
However, the tragedy that befalls even the best of players is the fact that when bad luck or losing streaks hit and hit hard (which is inevitable in all games of chance, even with a skill-dependent game like poker), they seem to somewhat forget what brought them to dance in the first place, so to speak; they lose touch with the tactics they’ve accrued, the mathematics they’ve mastered, and the experiences they’ve gathered once variance rears its ugly head and makes the results differ from what they expect.
The Problem with Poker Variance
Here’s a specific instance that illustrates this point marvelously. There are “decent” players that are adamant that a table full of maniacs is a “can’t lose” proposition. This so-called good poker enthusiast then protests whenever AA doesn’t “stand up” in a chaotic and overcrowded Holdem game where eight players typically take the flop. That’s because he’s not taking into account the factor of variance. Because of his naive beliefs in poker math and statistics, he’ll think that AA should and needs to be winning a lot more than half the time in order for him to make money.
Nevertheless, simple math dictates that a hand that wins forty to twenty-five percent of the time is enormously profitable against seven players. Instead of complaining about the sixty to seventy-five times he’s losing, he should instead embrace the winning percentages and be patient, because in order for him to win big in the long run, he needs to lose and lose bad at times.