The concept of ‘variance’ in poker refers to the short-term rate of deviation from our win rate, the rate of return on our expected result. It is an element underestimated by many poker players that measures how far our real results are from what we should theoretically have. It plays a fundamental role in the prediction of downswings and other mathematical data is involved, such as the mentioned winrate, the standard deviation or the number of hands played.
What is poker variance and what role does it play in the games?
If you are in the poker world, you probably know everything about betting and how to spot a bluff, but, exchanging opinions, you will soon realize that only a few players know what poker variance is.
It’s well known that every poker player, no matter how expert and professional he is, is exposed to the component of chance during the games. A bad streak in poker is something that every assiduous player suffers by the mere fact of playing, since, by statistics, the cards are not always going to be favorable. This variable that defines the change in results is known as “variance”, which establishes a numerical index of dissonance to quantify the difference between the theoretical results you should have and those you are actually having.
To calculate a player’s variance you have to handle three statistical elements of his game: his winrate, his standard deviation and the number of hands played. These three data are the ones that can allow the player to get predictions about the expected winnings in the future. To carry out these calculations you can use variance calculators, which use these three data to get the predictions that allow you to know the expected deviation rate. This allows to obtain precise calculations on the variance rate depending on the parameters of each player, avoiding having to do them by hand and with the precision that characterizes these calculation tools.
Disparate effectiveness according to game modes
Despite being an element common to all poker games, since it is present at all times due to the innate characteristics of the game, it is not always easy to obtain the necessary precision to consider that we have a reliable variance. In multi-table tournaments it is especially difficult to know for sure the player’s skill and variance level. The disparity of data can cause the arithmetic mean to break down and the concept not to settle completely depending on the mode of play being played. It is a whole exercise of probability that not always it succeeds of full, and whose information is merely estimated. And it is that the poker does not stop being a succession of independent hands in which we have a so much for hundred of probabilities of winning depending on the circumstances of the game.
It is necessary to bear in mind that poker variance has an especially big impact on the small ones, since, not being able to control this component, it is impossible to avoid bad spells. That’s why it takes great perseverance and discipline to overcome the downswings, the bumps that can ruin our player statistics and that are inherent to all by the characteristics of the game itself. It does not matter how skilled we are at poker if we do not have enough mental capacity to be able to recover from a bad streak, and it is a fundamental aspect if you want to opt for world famous poker tournaments.
The role of variance in online poker spins
Online poker has different dynamics than traditional table poker. Due to the complexity of the issue, the differences that it presents according to which game modalities and the amount of data and concepts that are required to handle with ease in order to know how to calculate the variance correctly, make the level of variance in poker not always obtainable with fidelity. In fact, many professional players hardly know the term, and do not even stop to calculate its value during the preliminaries of the game.
In recent times, a new express mode has successfully broken into the online side of poker. We are talking about spins, which includes different turbo versions of poker and that have found in online poker the ideal format in which to settle. This type of games is characterized by playing with numerous bets of small value, in tables with a reduced number of players (three maximum) and where you can multiply the benefits if you win the pot.
Mixing the variance of turbo online poker modalities is qualified by many as crazy, since to the agility of the games and the reduced number of players is added the volatility of the results, which, in principle, spoils all the possibilities of having acceptable variance calculations.
Nevertheless, it is possible to calculate how much variance there is in poker spins, and it is possible to calculate them without using a calculation software, although it is always the most advisable option to let the program itself handle all the variables to obtain a reliable answer. In a standard simulation, with a player carrying a total of 10,000 spin & Gos and whose win rate is approximately 35%, the calculations would not be far from the following conclusions: in this type of games and with this data on the table, the players who are above the expected value are usually always far above, although those who are below it are not far from this value. There is not a polarization as it happens in other poker modalities, which means that the potential disadvantages are not as big as the benefits that could be obtained in case of winning.