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What poker form has the "highest variance"?

    • VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 10,515
      While watching the twitch feed of the Aria High Roller cash game one player asked, "If you were to be heads-up with Phil Ivey, what variant would you want to play?".

      The answer came back nearly instantly, and was quite surprising: 5-Card Draw

      "Why?" he was asked.

      The answer, just as fast, just as surprising, "Because it is the highest variance form of poker there is -- there is only one street of betting"
      I'm pretty sure I heard it correctly. There are actually two streets of betting -- pre-draw and post draw -- but that was not the surprising part. The surprising part is the "highest variance" part.

      I've pretty much always considered it the LOWEST variance form of poker. The best hand pre-draw is the odds-on favourite to win post-draw.

      What do you suppose he was thinking?
      What form of poker displays the highest variance?

      Sorry, but I don't remember either player's name.

  • 1 reply
    • tonypmm
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 4,831
      I'd invite Phil Galfond to be the third and play a Spin & Go.

      I think that player meant that there's too little information in 5-card draw and thus it's hard to get a big edge. In the poker lingo, 'high variance' often means 'high risk of ruin', which can stem either from high variance in the strict sense or from low edges.

      Out of cash games offered by major sites, I think 6-card Omaha has the highest variance.

      I don't take Open Face Chinese, a very swingy and addictive game too, into account because I've heard it's easy to write a bot for it :facepalm: I'm not informed on whether Pineapple OFC is bottable; if it is indeed a botproof variation of OFC, then it's likely the swingiest of popular poker games.