25/06/2023 | Statname Team

Variance in poker - how to avoid big downswings

While the pros are winning world tournaments, the beginners rely on luck and easy money. But, let's be honest, success in poker directly depends on your mathematical analysis, emotions, and the ability to play a competent game. And the deviation from expectations or the average result is called the variance.

How not to get on the path of failure

A downswing in poker is a losing streak that often causes poker players to go on tilt and fail to stop in time. The reverse situation is called an upstreak, when you catch a winning streak, earn big and can safely move to tables with a higher buy-in.

But the first option is much more common ...

In order not to succumb to emotions during a downswing and drain the entire bankroll, remember about dispersion: even the most mathematically thoughtful move can fail and this is normal. The best way to deal with spikes in variance is to make as few mistakes as possible in both calculation and emotion.

The downswing is influenced by your general condition, the table and the players behind it, and the desire to recoup. The latter option often leads inexperienced players to drain money, because they simply do not understand when to stop at the right time. Although the rule here is extremely simple: if you feel you can't win at this table, move to a table with a smaller buy-in.

Yes, we can't influence which cards the dealer puts. But we are able to control ourselves so that the series of failures ends with the first 2-3 defeats.

Variance in poker, how to deal with it?

Typically, players encounter variance when they underestimate the game and miss a seemingly insignificant detail. So a poker player with an ideal strategy is able to skip one card in his calculations, and the dispersion will definitely make itself felt.

TOP 4 practical tips for avoiding mistakes:

See the result at a distance. The more you play and develop in the game, the less variance affects the result. And most importantly, the actual result is getting closer and closer to the expected.

Work on winrate. Engage in developing yourself as a player, because if you have a high win rate, then in dispersion moments you will either win more than usual, or you will play at 0 or a small loss.

Do bankroll management. Manage your funds so as not to lose them all in the first couple of games and, in which case, get a real chance to recoup. We talked about management in more detail in this article.

Exit the game. If you understand that you are not able to restrain your emotions, luck is not on your side, and the opponents at the tables are too strong, exit the game. It's better to come back the next day and break the downswing with a clear head.

Bottom line - play in moderation

You don't have to fight yourself when tilt is overwhelming. It is pointless to build strategies on a hot head in order to come to variance again and again. It's more profitable to improve your poker knowledge, talk to more experienced poker players, and finally, take a break and relax a bit! And then, sooner or later, you will come to a long upstreak!