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The Variance

learning poker: the variance

Although poker is not a game of chances, your ability on the table plays an important role. It is not true that you will be able to win 100% of the hands in a game just by being a good poker player. And the expression I’m having bad luck is more frequent than you may think between poker players when losing hands with good and strong cards.

Bad luck is normal and common in poker and you must be clear and accept this without making the mistake of betting more than you should when your expectations are not being met. You will find moments when you will win with average cards and moments when you will lose having extremely good cards.

Bad Beat in action


Hence you must get familiar with this term: variance. This is nothing more than calculating the outcome or results in relation to the expected value. This may sound a little complicated, so let's just say that variance is nothing more than calculating how far are you from obtaining positive results.

Therefore, you must evaluate the real probabilities of winning with a certain hand and the highs and lows that you may experience. The important thing to understand is that negative results are not always bad in this game since there are many deviations and poker income is not always regular.

For example, with an A♦A♣ in the pre-flop, you have a 90% probability of wining if your opponent has an A♠K♠. This tells you that there is a 10% probability of losing the game, which may happen sometimes and sometimes you would lose even with good cards... This is the variance.

AA and the variance

This generates a psychological effect on some players, a degree of frustration at finding themselves in a streak of bad luck, which could make them lose concentration and prevent them to make the most of their game. To protect yourself from this, you must always accept that there are ups and down in this game.

If keep feeling emotional breakdowns you should stop playing, since this will only lead you to make unnecessary mistakes that will bring more losses in an attempt to recover what has been lost.

When you are feeling like this, take a break and clear your mind. Have fun with your friends, go to the movies, take a walk or read a book. After a break you will most likely be ready to get back to the game with less worries and in a better mood to play.

Overcoming the tilt

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