Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It’s Variance, Idiot!!

25 OCT 05

The epiphany came to me yesterday as I was trying to think why I’ve been so successful at online poker, but so horrible in the casino. Sure, it could be because the online players are donks and the casino players are all better than me, but it had to be more than that. As I’ve said before, if you delude yourself about your skills you will lose money. That being said, I’d like to think I’m fairly intelligent and an above average poker player.

So what gives?

What gives is variance. Much thanks is owed to several bloggers and poker authors for trying to pound this idea into my head. Leave it to Excel to drive it home. Here is the epiphany: I have been buying into limit games with too little to allow for aggressive play PLUS variance.

Let me explain.

Figure 1. Here is me. I buy into a 4/8 table with $100, or about 12 x the BB. With my aggressive style of play, as soon as I get to the inevitable downswing and hit -12 BB, I’m done. I don't allow myself to rebuy, so I walk away down for the session (and pissed off to boot).

Figure 2. Here is where I should be – buying in with at least 30 x the BB. This way, if and when I swing below 12 x the BB, I’m giving myself a chance to swing back.

The key to this strategy is two fold:
- Walk away when you reach a set limit.
- Never lose more than 30 x BB in one session.

Another factor is the change of style once I get close to the – 8 BB point. I become less aggressive, or I go on tilt, and both are HUGE –EV.

I’ll let you know how it goes when I get back from Vegas.

Final thought: This only applies to limit. I’ll be trying some no-limit ring action and a few tournaments, but that’s for another blog.


skitch said...

Yup. Last time I played at the 'Shoot, I quickly lost a rack at the 4/8 table. Went outside to get some fresh air, then came back in and bought in for another hundred. After a total of 5 hours of play, I cashed out a total of $400, for a nice $40/hour profit.

I dropped you a note awhile back about getting together to play at the Shoot or PJ's sometime. When do you get back from Vegas?

DrChako said...

I'm back on Monday. I haven't played PJ's in a while, but I've had a lot of success in their tournaments. Shoot me an email on Sunday or Monday.