NoOne's 100th post YouKnow?
One does not have to search very far or very hard to find a post about variance, or a post containing variance, or a player whining about variance. You get the point. There is so much variance in this great game, it is sometimes hard to tell if you are a big winning player or a big losing player. It is the nature of the beast and we have to accept it for what it is, “embrace the variance”, as the common rallying cry goes.
Experienced campaigners quite often look down at players complaining about variance with something akin to disdain. Like the rumblings of old veteran’s you will see the sneer and hear a brief muttered comment about not knowing what a true down swing is. Harden up they say. Whenever a bad beat story begins at a casino table you will see a collectively synchronised eye roll as the ‘listeners’ refocus on something more interesting like the current hand, the dealers bust, the $100 chip with the weird grainy edge…anything.
With this introduction, some people may find it ironic that this post is not about most players underestimating the effects of variance in poker. No. I am actually more interested in a rather contradictory phenomenon. More and more, you can find players blaming their bad results on the scapegoat that is ‘variance’ whilst it should very quickly become obvious, that there is usually more to the story. In traditional Gen Y fashion (I hate to discriminate here but it is true), players refuse to take responsibility for poor sessions or poor play and don’t take the time to plug leaks in their game.
I don’t want to, but I have to say it. There is just not that much negative variance out there! Well, I should clarify. There is as much positive variance as there is negative variance. It is maths, it has to equal (minus rake of course). For every 99 players who come out and say that they are only losing because of variance, it is usually difficult to find even one who is only winning due to variance. Funny old world. I relate this to a lot of financial planners I work with. When the portfolio is growing, it is because the planner is brilliant. When the portfolio is shrinking, it is because the ‘market’ is weak. Wait, what? Take some responsibility!
I have looked at my own data, as well as analysed a couple of CC members graphs (without their permission of course - so they remain nameless) and the one repeating detail is that on average, downswings seem to be more violent than upswings. In my case, much more violent. There are probably a few fantastically obscure and complicated reasons for this but put simply, when you are running bad, more often than not, you are also playing bad. Now I want you to read that statement carefully, and not take it out of context. I promise I am not trying to just throw the whole variance textbook out the window and blame players. I want players here on this forum to be able to step outside of the socially acceptable poker psyche of blaming someone/something else and be able to rationally analyse their play and subsequent results. In fact it is not just a poker psyche at all, it is a global degeneration in self accountability.
Don’t be like them, learn a little bit of self deprecation. Laugh at yourself when you lose. Maybe sometimes you just have to admit to yourself that you played bad. In truth, we probably did.