Does higher variance mean more luck?

• Bronze
Joined: 22.01.2010
Let's assume that Game A and Game B are two types of poker (e.g. PLO and Limit Holdem) or two different tournament formats. If Game A has a much higher variance thatn Game B, would you say that the luck factor is more important in Game A than it is in Game B in the long run?

(Assuming that in both cases the player exercises proper bankroll management.)
• 6 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 12.03.2008
hi oblitron,

i guess when you put it that way, yes, higher variance seems to imply that more "luck" is involved. i could be wrong though, i didn't get much sleep.

let's see what our other members have to say.

smiles,
wendy
• Global
Joined: 23.11.2009
Theres another way to think about variance.

Higher variance also means that you can expect larger deviations from your winrate to occur due to chance alone.

In the long run, the same winrate using a high variance style vs a low variance style produces the same earnings.

High variance may also mean more headaches... but not just for you. Also, high variance convinces the fish to keep playing.

In the long run, luck is not important. Its also not important in the short term, provided you're using proper BRM.
• Global
Joined: 23.11.2009
Here, this link will give you some ideas about expectation and variance in poker.

http://www.evplusplus.com/poker_tools/variance_simulator/

Type in a winrate, hand# and # of trials. click run. Then run it again only changing the Standard deviation. What you'll see is that the over all dispersion of possible outcomes will increase or decrease with changes in standard deviation.

If you're wondering what Standard Deviation is, wiki it.
• Bronze
Joined: 21.07.2009
In my eyes, the difference in variance between your example games of PLO and FLHE doesn't mean there is more luck involved in the long run of the games. What it means is that with more variance involved it takes a longer time to reach the so-called "Long run".

For example, in FLHE 30k hands is a decent sample size (I think, I really don't have a clue about FLHE tbh) which you can attain a winrate that is at least realistic for your game from. In PLO, 30k hands is nothing, you can be running at 10x your normal winrate over 30k hands at PLO, i'd guess you need a few hundred thousand hands of PLO to attain a solid estimate of winrate
• Global
Joined: 23.11.2009
FLHE is actually still a high variance game. Similar to PLO you're very very often getting the right price to continue. Your opponents will frequently test their 4 outers against your 90% hand.

Conversely, at times you can bluff with only a 10% chance of success and do so profitably. It can take a long while before things even out in this way as well.

Standard Deviation in FL 6-max games is roughly 40bb/100 (or 20BB/100 as we like to call it)
• Bronze
Joined: 21.07.2009
Well ok we can say something like 5CD has a much lower variance since it's only 2 streets of action and it's FL

Just for reference, NLHE has about 76bb/100 std dev whilst IIRC PLO has about 95bb/100.