This is a discussion on Variance or bad luck  what is the difference? within the online poker forums, in the General Poker section; A question another member posed in a hand analysis thread on here and did not want to HJ the thread so I thought I would 



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Variance or bad luck  what is the difference?
A question another member posed in a hand analysis thread on here and did not want to HJ the thread so I thought I would post this up and get the opinion from the masses. I am hitting a run of bad luck but I was wondering if it is just "variance" that we should all expect in this lovely game of Poker or if there is a definitive difference between bad luck and general variance?

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Can someone help? Extreme weird 1/2 NL game and endless bad luck  14  19th February 2016 9:16 AM  Cash Games  Dantelin 
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i like to look at it as gambling. I see two different possibilities playing poker. One is plainly putting your money in when you are way behind and losing all your money. That is not variance but a bad decision where your chances are slim to win. The other is putting your money in when you are ahead but depending on your equity you will lose a percentage of the time. I like to think about it like black jack where the house is like 50.1% chance to win but some players go on huge runs and win lots of money but by doing it over and over and over the house wins in the long run. When people win as the underdog its negative variance but it is part of the game. As long as you have the pots odds even if you are behind in the hand you still have the right price to call and win but when you do not win its negative variance. Sometimes though you may lose as the favorite in the hand and lose repeatedly like the house and blackjack. Each time you lose in a single hand as the favorite say AA with 84% you got unlucky that someone else won the pot but negative variance is when you get unlucky over and over that is abnormal to your hand equity. Say you have AA ten times in a row and each hand you get unlucky and lose 9 out of 10. Thats negative variance because according to the odds you were suppose to win at least 8 and got unlucky a bunch.

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re: Poker & Variance or bad luck  what is the difference?
ok, before we get way off base here, this is what variance is:
there are two things to consider with variance in poker: 1. how much we can win/lose based on the blinds + winning % 2. how much we can win vs. buy in what this means is say you hold AA, and your opponent has 72off  you are playing cash game $1/$2 blinds  you go all in for $300, the 72 calls and beats you  you just got hosed as a 88.5% favorite for 150 BB's  that's HIGH variance  obviously this tends to happen more as more people are at the table in tourneys, the variance increases as more people buy in  you can win a lot more vs. your buy in, and (in my opinion) spend way more time and not win a dollar. what does this mean? No limit is higher variance than pot limit, and way higher than limit. The more people at a table or in a tourney the higher the variance. Texas holdem has the highest variance as a game because you can reach an 88% predicted win rate vs your opponent, and lose. So then a massive field NLH tournament is the highest variance you can get, NLH cash games are a close second. Many think that PLO has higher variance than NLH but its just not the case and these people do not understand what variance means  like a lot of people here  no hand vs another in omaha can reach 88% vs. 12%, and since pot limit the available wins vs. bb will be on average much smaller Many confuse luck with variance, but they are not the same at all  luck does have a lot to do with how variance happens, but they do not mean the same thing Many people confuse swing games as variance, like PLO, lots of action, people playing all kinds of hands  but this is not variance Lower effect of variance  play small ball poker, play omaha vs texas, play limit games, play stsngs, play 6 handed, play heads up Hope this helps 
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The difference between luck and variance to me is simple to me. Variance has to do with odds and outs and percentages. It is a term that is used to describe small deviations in the odds over a short term. Luck on the other hand has more to do with situations and timing.
Let's look at it like this... Let's say holding a certain hand against a certain other hand, I am expected to wind 70% of the time. That means that I am expected to win 7 out of 10 times. Which means that I am expected to lose 30% or 3 out of 10 times in that same situation. However, I might find myself in that precise situation 10 times on a particular day. Out of the 10 hands that I find myself in that situation I may find myself winning 9 of the 10. The next day I might win 6 times out of 10 ten. The next day I might win 8 of 10. I might win 5 times out of 10 the next day, and 6 of 10 the day after that. These slight deviations above and below the expected percentages are, of course, referred to as variance. Now if you look at the numbers that I gave you, you might notice that on no single day does the win rate match the expected win rate of 70%. But if you do the math, you will see that over 5 days and 50 hands I would have a win rate of 68%. As you approach 100 hands you would expect to find yourself even closer to that 70% expected win rate, and even closer as you approach 1000 hands. At 100,000 hands you would can expect yourself to be pretty much dead on the expected percentages. At 1,000,000 hands you could chisel them in stone, or laser etch them into steel, depending on the technology you available to you. Whatever. But if you were take a sample of 10 hands from anywhere within that range, you could expect to find some variation in the percentages or variance. Over the short term, you can expect to see a certain amount of variance. But over longer periods or bigger samples, you expect you see smaller and smaller variations from the expected odds. Those deviations over short periods or samples are what variance is. Luck, as I said before, has more to do with specific situations and timing. At least that's how I see it. Let's take the same example of me holding that particular hand against the other hand where I am expected to win 70% of the time. We could remove variance altogether and say that I win 70% of time and lose 30% of the time, just as expected. The fact the 30% of the time that I lose always seems to come just as the bubble approaches causing me to go out a couple places shy of the money... Well, that's just my shitty luck! 
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I think a different way to look at this question is "Does luck truly exist?" Variance actually exists and can be proved mathematically. What is the mathematical formulation for luck? Luck is more an emotional response to the outcome of one event, whereas variance requires multiple events (note that there must be at least two events for variance to be defined).
Variance converges in the long term (read over infinity) to your overall EV, but over a given small sample, it can be dramatic (i.e. flipping heads on a coin 8 out of 10 on an even money bet). 
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re: Poker & Variance or bad luck  what is the difference?
Hello there are two different points of view with respect to the variance tells us that x hands played the percentage of gain and loss varies but that ultimately is balanced and if you lose 10 hands with AA you will earn equal or twice and on the other hand this bad luck a theme that I argue already that for my bad luck does not apply to games online i.e. don't have bad luck if he is a software that distributes the hands bad luck applies for the game live

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Variance is just the upswings/downswings you can expect when playing poker.
Bad luck is just when the negative variance hits. An example: Lets say you're on the FT bubble of an online MTT, 5K for 1st. You have the 2nd largest stack in the BB with AA and the 1st largest stack shoves UTG! [Oh, happy day!]. It's folded to you, you snap call, and UTG shows KK. Board runs out: xxKxx and you bust out in 10th place. Variance: AA > KK 80% of the time, but KK still wins 20% of the time. Bad Luck: It had to happen at that moment. Also, variance is more mathematical based. Luck is more situation based. For example running into AA when you have KK is just a cooler, but it's also a bit unlucky. There is only 1 hand can beat you and out of the 1326 combinations of hands, there are only 6 combinations of that 1 hand that can beat you. And you were unlucky enough to run into it. Or you're in a multiway limped pot in the BB with 4c7c and the flop is 5c3c6c giving you a straight flush. SB checks, you check, and 5 other players all check. Turn is the 6d. Again, everyone checks. River is the 10c and now there is a 4 card flush on a paired board, so surely someone has something like the Ac or a boat. SB checks. You bet out a small 1/4 pot to get some action, and everyone folds. You had a great hand, but unlucky that no one else had anything and you made the minimum off of it. 
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I think that it calls just veriance, becausd you know that it can be and when you have a good banckroll managmente it will not afect your game, everyone have it, so maybe it can be badlucky onky if happen only to you, but its not the case.

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1st of all variance mathematical concept !!! PLO has lower variance LOOOL Many people confuse swing games as variance swings are variance dude what u mean by more people at tables u mean in hand ??? 
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Yes its math. Everything i said is math And swings do not need to be high variance. Plo is swingy because of the potential draws and because variance is lower. Figure it out 
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re: Poker & Variance or bad luck  what is the difference?
I knew you would crack back without posting any understanding of the term
maybe swingy was a little too vague. PLO has less variance but more outdraws  they are not necessarily the same thing. More outdraws happen in PLO because they are easier to hit, the percentages are much higher for the outdraw to occur  meaning the variance is LOWER  plus since its POT LIMIT you can curb the betting a lot more so you wont lose as much in the end  this is also lower variance. http://www.thepokerbank.com/strategy/other/variance/ read this article, which will dumb it down for you which is what it looks like you need and Ill expect your next post to say you finally agree with the truth 
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Reevaluation of your play from time to time is necessary. You mustn't just shrug your shoulders and go "meh, variance" when on a downswing. Quote:

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Very interesting topic, thanks!
It seems to me that the concept of "bad luck" more philosophical and narrowminded, while the dispersion of all the strictly mathematical. The dispersion can be predicted  and bad luck only feel and rave on about it. 
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re: Poker & Variance or bad luck  what is the difference?
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Not a lot of meat on the bones i'll grant you, but maybe worth waiting for. Now you're all probably wondering where the moth found the light bulb in the middle of a forrest? Obviously it flew into the one the bear had turned on,whilst doing the toilet in the bush..Never EVER go to the toilet in the dark. The point i'm making is that there is always varience, and sometimes we play a stupid hand and our donkey wins the race too. Play any cash game for a few hours with the same people and you'll find you'll have to be a rock sometimes. Sometimes a shark and even a fish too. Learning positional play,and card percentages will go a long way to giving you more confidence, combined with a keen intuition and study of other players at the table, and you should be winning, and according to some of the professionals its probably only going to be about 75%  80% of the time on a perfect game (best percentage of winning based on your held hand before the flop). but that leaves only 25% for bad beats! surely it must be 50%, we'll the other 25% your winning and not losing is made up by all of the above ,and reading the other players. Don't win a little a lot of the time. Win a lot a little of the time. 'And where do bears goto the toilet?' i hear you ask. Just look for the glowing light bulbs in the bushes and you'll find your answer. I should add that these statistics were based on a NLHE 9 seater table, and no Squirrels or Moths were harmed during the making of this thread. 
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I forgot to add though, that 2 bears were electricuted to death whilst trying to change a light bulb,
The 3rd bear did eventually manage to change the light build, suffering only 3rd degree burns to its paws and some sindged eye brows. Which answers the other question you were all dying to ask : 'How many bears does it take to change a light bulb?'. 
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poker are making decisions .... when taking a bad DECISION ON then shipwrecked is a matter of time .... do not answer your question .In fact I see no difference between variance or unlucky think just a matter of naming ... ..the poker is right or wrong decision every time both one and the other can give right or not

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Bad luck happens when variance has you down, yet you insist! It goes toward personal attributes. Things like your attention span, hunger level, relationship BS, mood, and a ton of other things that infringe on your mindset. While strictly speaking, variance is hard math and in theory is flat, we all know that it sure doesn't play that way. WE have streaks. WE have expectations, hopes and dreams. Variance does not dream, it's expectations are fixed. Some will argue that Variance doesn't have streaks. (I won't make that argument). If your mindset is off, and variance has you down, you will have bad results. We are humans, and that means we will interpret those results as bad luck. 
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re: Poker & Variance or bad luck  what is the difference?
Best example is Stu Ungar. He was broke and his friend lend him 10k$ for wsop ticket. He won tournament. Where he suffered low bankroll or bad beat?
Those inovation in online poker are just excuse for cases when you loose too much. I played on Pokerstars few months with 78 hour sessions and i was amazed how rng is fixed to trow out players and if they hope for another chance they ll register on other tournament or sng or what ever... I myself did shuffle deck of cards and play with myself. only once ive got pocket kings and not need to mention that river in those 4 hours didnt once changed expected odds. I look on online poker like on candy crush saga. Shiny money machine but only for owners... I make peace with myself that poker cant be played for a living if you dont have some kind of agreement with specific poker room. Tell me im paranoic but in my experience 4 player who have pocket cards and going allin is not a matter of variance nor bad luck... Poker is fun if you accept it that way and dont overreact and deposit too much. 

Similar Threads for: Variance or bad luck  what is the difference? > Texas Hold'em Poker  
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Can someone help? Extreme weird 1/2 NL game and endless bad luck  14  19th February 2016 9:16 AM  Cash Games  Dantelin 