The variance, according to Wikipedia, is: In the theory of probability and statistics, the variance of a variable or random distribution is the expected value, or mean, of the square of the deviation of that variable from its expected value or mean.
I know that 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, the formulation of your bankroll requirements depends on your understanding of variation and standard deviation.
Variance: In poker, variance is the distribution of your results over a given period of time – sessions, hours, weeks, hands or years. The variance will also show your swings, good and bad. The less advantage you have, the greater the variance: the greater the advantage, the closer your average results will be. By taking the extreme high and low note, you will get your variation.
The most basic example of variation is the heads or tails: if you tossed a coin 20 times, the odds say you will have 10 heads and 10 tails. However, this is the average over a large sample size, over any 20 launches you could get any number of results: The real probability of getting precisely 10 heads and 10 crowns is only 17.6%! However, it is possible to have 20 heads or 20 crowns in a row!
Standard deviation: Standard deviation is a way of measuring the probability of possible outcomes based on certain data. The standard deviation measures the range of your results, considering what your average results are. The standard deviation is simply the square root of your variance: If your variance is 100, your standard deviation will be 10.
Suppose you play $ .50 / $ 1 NLHE: If you plot your win rate over 10 300-hand online poker sessions BandarQQ Online – where you won a total of $ 330 – from best to worst, your winnings and losses are all over the place, in fact its range would be $ 300 (if a low note was – $ 100 and a high note of $ 200). Based on your results, over 10 sessions you can win up to $ 200 or lose up to $ 100. Obviously, 10 sessions is not a large sample size, but suppose that each bar on the graph represents 100 sessions. Now, suppose you want to know your chances of maintaining your $ 11/100 win rate with 95% accuracy.
With these numbers, your win rate can range between $ 15/100 and $ 8/100 in any 100 sessions, but more than 1,000 sessions will be between $ 10 and $ 12/100, and more than 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 the ease with which you lose control of your emotions: in the poker world, this is known as ‘TILT’. Players who tend to tilt easily usually have a greater variance than players who are able to keep their emotions in check and let bad beats roll from their backs.
It’s fine with tilt – no matter how self-controlled it happens to everyone – the key is to realize that you’re on tilt and get 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 half his balance on the table!
Basically, the greater the variance and standard deviation, the greater your balance requirements will be. That is why many players give up some minor advantages, or play in a less risky game that offers less profit in order to reduce their variance. To learn more about what types of games, styles and other factors influence variation, continue with Part 3 of this series.
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