Is online poker higher variance than live

    • supergaijin
      supergaijin
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      Joined: 03.09.2010 Posts: 133
      I am a recreational player and I get frustrated at feeling like I can't make a consistent win rate playing online poker. Playing STT's my ROI is +0.09%, MTT -25.00% & Cashgames +1.77BB / 100; pretty dismal I know but wait, here is my volume: 765 tournaments, 111 tournaments & 15,462 hands respectively so am I a breakeven player as my stats suggest or am I a bad player who is running good or a good player running bad?

      Prevailing wisdom online seems to be that you cannot extrapalate win rates based on this small a sample size. With this small sample it could be luck; oops sorry I said the four letter *L* word, I mean 'variance' but why is 'variance' the prevailing factor online but isn't in live poker?

      Let's take an example from live poker; if you take a player like doyle brunson for example and sit him playing live cash games 40 hours a week @ 30 hands / hour he is only playing 1200 hands a week. Are you saying that over an 8 week stretch his win rate is not representative of his poker ability and the biggest factor will be if he runs good, bad or average? After all 9.6K is such a small sample...

      How about 6 months (26 weeks) that is only 31.2K and I have heard arguments that this is a bare minimum to guage a win rate... Do we believe that you would need to sit someone at a table 40 hours / week for 6 months before we could guage if they were a 'legitimately' winning / losing player in live cash games?

      If this is the case I might as well abandon 'good' poker all together and gamble as it is more fun than grinding and luck will be the prevailing factor for me anyway.

      Thoughts??
  • 18 replies
    • Scooney
      Scooney
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      Joined: 14.08.2011 Posts: 104
      The variance is exactly the same live as it is online, the difference is online you play such a higher volume it seems like its completely different. From one month of live play you wouldn't be able to look at how good a player is really as it could all be down to variance. However one month playing live, like 150 hours multi-tabling you'd probably have a large enough sample to judge the players ability.

      The thing with live poker is when you have a downswing its lasts waaaaay longer.

      Its all the same just protracted over a much longer period.
    • supergaijin
      supergaijin
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      Joined: 03.09.2010 Posts: 133
      How much live experience are you basing that on Scooney?
    • Scooney
      Scooney
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      Joined: 14.08.2011 Posts: 104
      F'all, just the maths of it. If a downswing lasts a week online, how much longer is that live? Considerably. Its all the same game, 52 cards, two each - its just the peaks and troughs are last so much longer time-wise.

      Somebody correct me if i'm wrong?
    • clawindsouza
      clawindsouza
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      Joined: 08.12.2009 Posts: 7,085
      LOL

      the variance is obviously the same...

      In live there is more information given out and hence the very good live players make consistent profits again and again...

      Online since there isnt too much info given out besides bet sizing and maybe timing in some cases..hence theres a lot more math involved..
    • Wriggers
      Wriggers
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      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Generally live play is softer than online so winrates are larger meaning the effect variance has is less.

      Also Scooney, your theory on downswings lasting longer live is a bit off. There's no such thing as a "downswing", it's something fabricated in our mind to try and recognise a pattern. The cards have no memory, thus we can't compare "downswings" so to speak. Of course if we were talking about the exact same cards vs the exact same players in an online and a live match then you would be right, but then it would be a pattern, so would be a downswing rather than just a culmination of individual unlucky events.
    • JonikoP
      JonikoP
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      Joined: 15.05.2010 Posts: 600
      Ah, variance. You can, and will, at some point run worse than you thought possible...

      As wriggers said the bigger your edge the less likely you are to have a long break-even or losing stretch and live games are wayyyyyy softer.
    • dreamer14
      dreamer14
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      Joined: 29.08.2011 Posts: 462
      sure.- more variance online cuz u play more hands online.
      ;p
    • gadget51
      gadget51
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      Joined: 23.06.2008 Posts: 5,622
      If the math is the same, the variance must surely be the same, volume affecting it's rate rather than it's value.

      As Wriggers points out, you cannot have a downswing [except you may have HAD one for one hand] because each hand is discrete from the rest, an individual if you like.
      At least I think that's the way it works anyway.
    • thazar
      thazar
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      Joined: 14.09.2009 Posts: 6,560
      variance will be the same . but as said and repeated within this thread, the higher your win rate the less the variance has a chance to get you in the red. And since you can normally have a better edge live it is generally for a good live player easier to stay in the green.
    • supergaijin
      supergaijin
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      Joined: 03.09.2010 Posts: 133
      I am not a moron and understand that the probability of the random events are the same. Unless of course you subscribe to the 'online poker is rigged' movement. The variable is play styles online vs live.

      The assumption being made by all is that style of play is the same both online and live. Evidence to the contrary is the poor results that some (not all) online players see when switching to live and vice versa. The evidence that some online players sometimes struggle to make adjustments to live play indicates it is not simply live games are softer as this would imply that everyone should have a higher win rate in live play than online which isn't true.

      What I would ascert is that there is a certain element to accepted poker strategy that is different online that is reliant on pushing smaller edges for increased profit over long term that is not as effective in live play.

      If so I wonder if perhaps adjustments to accepted online strategy could be beneficial to low volume players or if this is purely a factor of additional information from live tells etc.
    • i5bet72o
      i5bet72o
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      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,615
      Originally posted by thazar
      variance will be the same . but as said and repeated within this thread, the higher your win rate the less the variance has a chance to get you in the red. And since you can normally have a better edge live it is generally for a good live player easier to stay in the green.
      ya this pretty much sums up the difference in varience between live and online
    • MatejM47
      MatejM47
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      Joined: 21.01.2010 Posts: 1,193
      Originally posted by supergaijin
      I am not a moron and understand that the probability of the random events are the same. Unless of course you subscribe to the 'online poker is rigged' movement. The variable is play styles online vs live.

      The assumption being made by all is that style of play is the same both online and live. Evidence to the contrary is the poor results that some (not all) online players see when switching to live and vice versa. The evidence that some online players sometimes struggle to make adjustments to live play indicates it is not simply live games are softer as this would imply that everyone should have a higher win rate in live play than online which isn't true.

      What I would ascert is that there is a certain element to accepted poker strategy that is different online that is reliant on pushing smaller edges for increased profit over long term that is not as effective in live play.

      If so I wonder if perhaps adjustments to accepted online strategy could be beneficial to low volume players or if this is purely a factor of additional information from live tells etc.
      Well usually online players that are small winners on NL200 online will pretty much crush n200 live. Obviously there are exeptions. Personally i gets so f***ing bored playing live I end up playing like 50/30 in a 9hand live CG while i play 24/19 in 6max online games. I dont think i could ever grind live games for that reason alone. Unless there's a lot of beer around i really dont feel like playing live.

      The reason variance is lower in live games is because games are much softer and its waaay easier to get reads on the fishes. You know in 5 seconds in a live table that a 50 year old guy thats totaly wasted is just easy money while it will take you a while to figure that out online, especially when multitabling. And multatbaling also deceres your edge and therefor your winrate. In a live game you are 100% focused to the hand your playing and how other players at your table are playing but when you grind 12 tables online you generally dont pay much attention to hands your not involved in.

      Its simply a fact of what kind of bb/100 you can get. If you have 6bb/100 winrate and hit a downswing you will be running at -6b/100, but if your winrate in a live game is 15bb/100 and hit the same downswing you will still be winning at 3bb/100.

      Hope that makes some sense lol
    • Maniatrix
      Maniatrix
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      Joined: 01.11.2008 Posts: 674
      Negative variance is obviously lower where the games are softer. As live is softer than online, of course there is less variance.
    • c0wking
      c0wking
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      Joined: 02.12.2010 Posts: 109
      Solution is simple, don't play SNG's or MTTs.

      Cash games have much less variance. What limit do you play cash games at? SH or FR?
    • supergaijin
      supergaijin
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      Joined: 03.09.2010 Posts: 133
      I have played a mix but the most volume has been NL5 SH

      I am playing NL2 SH at the moment since my bankroll got stolen by Mr Lederer and Mr Ferguson as well as their friends over at the DOJ
    • pleno1
      pleno1
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      Joined: 19.11.2010 Posts: 5,596
      Some nice osts ITT, as people have said already, the variance is exactly the same live vs online but you will experience it faster online because of hands per hour and the ability to multi table.

      Some people take alot lower variance lines live, i/e they will limp/call instead of opening/3betting/isolating like they would online so this is something to consider when thinking about variance too.
    • Targetme
      Targetme
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      Joined: 04.05.2009 Posts: 1,888
      live is this a serious question?
    • Targetme
      Targetme
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      Joined: 04.05.2009 Posts: 1,888
      if your pov is hand for hand then sure online but you can play 40x more hands online

      no matter how softer live players are they are not 40x+