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Lowest variance

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:42 am
by kegleric
So, I was just wondering how these Holdem games formats ranked, from highest variance to lowest?


Re: Lowest variance

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:03 pm
by boymalap
hello there,

Im not a pro/fulltime poker player,but have been playing the mid/high stakes tables for about 5 months.From my experience i think all tables ought to have variances.Sometimes it is very high.( cracking AA and KK ).

But full ring games 9-10 handed cash games i think has the lowest variance.Since stack sizes is not as important as in tournies/SnG,you can control the pot or fold easily if you are not confident with ur hands.Unlike SnG and tournies where sometimes you are pot committed because of you stack sizes.You are forced to call/all in because of the unbelievable odds u are getting even though you are likely to be an underdog.

Hope this little info helps
Cheers and all the best at the tables :)

Re: Lowest variance

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:54 pm
by chenghao
Ranking your options From high to low
HU SNG (reason this is above MTT is due to the nature of Heads Up)
MTT ( the game field is largest in MTT)
45-mans ( the game field is not as large as MTT , not as small as SNG)
SNG (STT) ( the game field is the smallest , however due to the increasing of blinds , actions are forced , thats why its above Cash Games)
NL CG ( this is above FL due to the betting)
FL CG ( weaklings !! :D )

definition of variance ( in statistics : )

from : ... art-2-of-5)&id=3451089

Variance, according to Wikipedia is: In probability theory and statistics, the variance of a random variable or distribution is the expected, or mean, value of the square of the deviation of that variable from its expected value or mean.

I know most people are probably saying, "WHAT?" or "Come again?" But I will explain why you need to know this technical jargon, and its importance at the poker tables. The answer is quite simple; as a poker player, formulating your bankroll requirements hinges on your understanding of variance, and standard deviation.

Variance: In poker variance is the distribution of your results over a set period of time -- sessions, hours, weeks, hands, or years. Variance will also show your swings, both good and bad. The less of an edge you have, the higher the variance: The higher your edge the closer the results will be to your average. By taking the extreme high and low mark you will get your variance.

The most basic example of variance is the coin flip: If you were to flip a coin 20 times the odds say you will get 10 heads and 10 tails. However, this is the average over a large sample size, over the course of any 20 flips you could get any number of results: The actual odds of getting precisely 10 heads and 10 tails is only 17.6%! However, it's possible to have 20 heads or 20 tails in a row!

Standard Deviation: Standard deviation is a way to measure the likelihood of possible outcomes based on certain data. Standard deviation measures how widespread your results can be considering what your average results are. The standard deviation is the simply the square root of your variance: If your variance is 100, your standard deviation is 10.

Suppose you play $.50/$1 NLHE: If you were to chart your win-rate over 10 online poker sessions of 300 hands --where you won a total of $330-- from best to worst your wins and losses are all over the place, in fact your variance would be $300 (if a low mark would be at -$100 and a high mark of $200). Based on your results, over the course of 10 sessions you could win as much as $200 or lose up to $100. Obviously, 10 sessions isn't a large sample size, but suppose each bar of the graph represented 100 sessions. Now suppose you want to know your chances of maintaining your $11/100 win-rate with a 95% accuracy.

With these numbers your win rate could fluctuate between $15/100 and $8/100 over any 100 sessions, but over 1,000 sessions will be between $10 and $12/100, and over 5,000 sessions will be between $10.50 and $11.50/100.

An additional factor that will play a critical role in your variance is how easily you lose control of your emotions: In the poker world this is known as 'TILT'. Players who are prone to tilt easily will often have higher variance than players who are able to keep their emotions in check, and let the bad-beats slide off their back.

It's ok to tilt -- no matter how self controlled it happens to everyone -- the key is to realize you are on tilt and either snap out of it, or quit the game until you calm down. It doesn't take much for an online poker player to go on tilt, and quickly find himself with half his bankroll on the table!

Basically, the higher your variance, and standard deviation, the higher your bankroll requirements will be. This is why many players will give up some smaller edges, or play in a less risky game that offers less profit, in order to cut down on their variance. For more on what types of games, styles, and other factors play into variance continue on to Part 3 of this series.

The factors for variance in poker

from :

What influences variance?

There are a few factors that can increase or decrease the amount of variance that you encounter:

Your playing style. If you play a very loose-aggressive style of play then you will be involved in a lot more pots and will be consequently risking more money than your average tight player. The looser you are and the more risks you take, the greater your variance will be.

The poker game. Omaha has less variance than Hold’em because the hands in Omaha generally have less of an edge against one another when players move all-in (odds of each hand winning are closer to 60/40 as opposed to something like 75/25). Therefore the smaller the edges, the less the variance.

The betting type. No limit has greater variance than limit poker, where the amount of money that players can put in to the pot is much smaller in relation to the blinds in limit games than it is in no limit games. The more money you can risk, the greater the variance.

The game type. Large MTTs will have much more variance than SNGs because you expect to win far less often. However, when you do win an MTT you receive sudden large payouts, which obviously results in higher levels of variance.

Re: Lowest variance

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:58 pm
by boymalap
Good explanation and reference.Thumbs up

Re: Lowest variance

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:35 am
by kegleric
thanks for the opinions guys. boymalap appreciate your inputs! also chenghao for your library of good info on poker!

i cannot help but wonder if the % of players in sng getting paid will affect the variance too. like more paid = less variance.

that said, hu sngs probably has the highest variance but technically pays 50% of the field.