Why poker sometimes feels like a lottery: Part 1

I believe it is important to make some introduction to variance in poker before I start with playing concepts. I do this because people including me do not realise how crazy the variance can be. Especially in the popular tournaments such us Sunday Million or Sunday Storm.

What is the save bankroll?

First of all this really depends on your live situation. It is completely different if you have a family and mortgage or if you are just student without any liabilities. If you are student and young you can afford high variance lifestyle. On the other hand someone with burden of bills should be really careful about his bankroll.

The second thing you should consider is the number of entrants. Massive field tournaments will have lot more variance compare to 2 table sit and go. Lot of people also consider average buyin for their bankroll. Lets say you play tournaments between 10 and 100 dollars which means your average buyin is 55 dollars assuming bankroll of 100buyins totally 5500 dollars. In my opinion it is smart to prepare yourself for much bigger losses as you will see in variance calculation in part 2 related to this topic.

It is also important to know how big your edge is. If you have just small edge it is also going to affect the variance. Other thing to consider is tournament structure. If you are good player your edge is higher in slow or regular tournaments and lower in turbo/hyper tournaments. Moreover you should also consider sample size you have. If you are winner over couple hundreds of tournaments you might be sure you are winning player. However it is still not that relevant sample especially if you have one big hit in massive filed multitable tournament. It is importat to realise that variance in big multi table tournamens is beyond human mind. You might go to crazy downswing and believe you are losing player while you are playing EV plus game. Of course it also might be other way around.

How about shots?

This really depends if it affects your normal grind. If you bust the tournament and you can easily grind it back I am not against it. Especially if it is soft tournament such as Sunday Million where your ROI should be higher. Moreover you can also shot live tournaments such as EPT or WSOP (I am personally shotting side events) where the fields are really soft. Just do not make it too often and do not be crazy glory hunter which shots main event of EPT/WSOP with bankroll 20k dollars.

Thanks if you finish this article and next time look forward to some variance calculations.

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