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How do you counter variance?

  24-Oct-12, 11:38   #1
How to counter variance 0 

Joined: Mar '11
Location: Croatia
Age: 36 (M)
Posts: 1735
Been playing some HU after making a small deposit at bwin. Till recently i was doing ok, came up with a game plan and doubled up my deposit quite fast.
Then s**t started rolling downhill Sad , started losing to the most amazing suck-outs and, trips on turn and river, so on and so on. Half way trough the downswing i decided to change my approach a bit and after a couple of games it stopped... My cards started hitting again and as soon as i won in a row i went back to my original game.

Long story short i stopped playing after winning 10 games almost in a row and just losing 1.
It made me wonder what do u guys do when starting a losing streak. do you keep doing what u do or do u change ur strategy also to try to counter it?

  24-Oct-12, 11:46   #2

Joined: Oct '09
Location: Portugal
Age: 45 (M)
Posts: 233
I must admit, sometimes I tilt and that's why I loose a lot of bankrolls. But most of the time, I take a rest, and that rest is never less than 1 day. So I vote for the "take a rest", but TILT should be an option in the poll Big Smile

  24-Oct-12, 13:57   #3
Joined: Jan '10
Location: Indonesia
Age: 53 (M)
Posts: 1463
I had a lot same experience , change strategy didn't help. Take a rest is the same, didn't help too much, will be back to the same condition sooner or later. The only solution I think is SKILL and good stamina cause stamina give effect to our feeling/instinct (we couldn't win every time we got good card, right ? when we have to fold ? ). Someone give me advise : keep play solid poker Smile Smile

  24-Oct-12, 14:42   #4
Joined: Feb '08
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 28 (M)
Posts: 1881
I think when you hit a losing streak the temptation is to change your strategy, perhaps not strategically or consciously but to start playing hands differently. If you were losing just due to variance then changing your play is probably bad. I think typically most players want to win back their money so you start making decisions based on getting back into the black instead of trying to make a steady profit. You might also start playing more aggressively in order to win larger pots, in order to come back and exploit those who sucked out against you, in order to stop yourself being pushed around by donks or just because you see aggressive players winning more chips.

It is possible though that you were on such a long losing streak due to your swingy play. I personally think aggressive play is more swingy. Even if your decisions are +ev I believe that just going all-in more leads to relying more on luck and more opportunities for running bad beats. It really depends on the type of player you are to begin with but some players should not be changing their strategy at all, whilst others should be adjusting their strategy to the conditions of the table. And if you start reaching tilt or desperately wanting to get your money back then definitely take a break.

  24-Oct-12, 15:00   #5

Joined: Apr '09
Location: Portugal
Age: 36 (M)
Posts: 4764
Playing in more than one place can help a lot as a strategy. It's not very healthy to tell someone who isn't a pro to change his way of playing if he thinks he plays well, or by the book. This way, he can start playing bad, just because he can't understand how can a change of strategy in the game mean. So, the best way to counter variance in these cases is to change site. One usually sticks to one site when he likes it and the game runs well overthere. Ok, seems fair, but when things start running bad, you've got to have an option. If you think it's to painful to stop playing for a whyle, maybe the best to do is to go playing to another place. Things may start running different imediately, and when you feel capable you can return to the first room to give it another try. Cool

  24-Oct-12, 16:02   #6

Joined: May '08
Location: Lithuania
Age: 32 (M)
Posts: 8485
i play until i'm broke- then i change strategy- play freerolls only Big Smile now more seriously- when you lose some games in a row/quick succession- you really start to think that you are doing something wrong, and more you look at your current form, more convinced you are, i guess the only way to counter this to have a clear WRITTEN game plan that you glue somewhere near the monitor and stick to it no matter what

  24-Oct-12, 16:06   #7
Joined: Apr '12
Location: Canada
Age: 26 (M)
Posts: 82
i tend to start tilting and keep playing and lose abit, then if it goes to much i normally take a break for the day and start back tomorrow doing something else. like play some MTT's or something.

  24-Oct-12, 16:58   #8
Joined: Aug '11
Location: Portugal
Age: 31 (M)
Posts: 232
I usually play HU SNG aswell, and usually i'm winning or break even. Tbh being low variance due to a completely awful "running bad/card dead" only happened to me once (thank god) and it was ridiculous. I've lost other times a bit ofc.. and i could blame it at being totally unlucky but that was not the case, i would be lying to myself. Sometimes and even if i don't notice it, i'm not totally focused and not commited to my game, other times i'm not motivated but i still play, when i shouldn't. After a few of this i lose, then i tilt, then i lose some more, where i shouldn't even be playing at the first place. I mean, variance exists and we will be card dead and run bad, but what i mean is i believe we cana reduce variance by taking alot of factors from the equation. And ofcourse, people can always play lower variance games, HU specially turbo/SP are high variance and you will experience swings alot more.

Anyways, i thinkg your approach to the situation was good, you realized a flaw and corrected it, that's the way.

  24-Oct-12, 17:39   #9

Joined: Apr '11
Location: Canada
Age: 60 (M)
Posts: 1222
May not be the way the game is being played. May very well be the down side of the cycle. As was taught to me some time ago when starting out the game is cyclic. There's an up and down side. If we pay close attention to which side of the cyclic we're on then we can adjust our game accordingly. More exactly looser on an up cycle and tighter on the down. In all cases strictly follow your bankroll management strategy especially on a down cycle and in between (going up and down). Found the stop loss strategy can be an effective tool to avoid tilt. At the end of an up cycle withdraw 40%. Pay yourself for a job well done, can use it again on the next cycle. It's a hedge against times when we can't seem to break out and do indeed finally go broke. Guess all in all the game boils down to patience and discipline and know sometimes we can play our A game and still lose. It's how we handle this phenomena that can makes us better players.
My vote would go to looking at ones game plan and adjust accordingly.

  24-Oct-12, 18:47   #10

Joined: Oct '12
Location: Netherlands
Age: 22 (M)
Posts: 152
I wouldn't change my game necessarily. I would analyze and improve and make sure I have enough buy-ins for the limit I play.

  25-Oct-12, 10:39   #11
Joined: Dec '10
Location: Finland
Age: 24 (M)
Posts: 419
Hmm dunno..the "mathematical" answer would probably be adding volume..playing bigger amount of hands makes the variance effect smaller if im correct? so my suggestion would be maybe lowering the stakes and adding volume

please correct me if im all wrong : ))

  25-Oct-12, 12:40   #12

Joined: Nov '11
Location: Poland
Age: 30 (M)
Posts: 773
I choose "take a rest" option, but it don't suit me exactly... I would like to stop my downswing, but I can't Smile When I go up, I go up high, and when I go down, I go down down too Tongue

  25-Oct-12, 13:47   #13

Joined: Nov '10
Location: Serbia
Age: 29 (M)
Posts: 2075
First, off topic, why you play HU on Bwin? its 10% rake there. That will eat 50% of your profits long term (more or less).
Well, check out acivoj pfc on pokerprolabs, look at that graph and take a look at last 2 months. Sometimes downswings are so big that there is nothing you can do about it. Acctually, there is. Change a site. Because, you may not notice in proccess but you probably start to play little worse during it.
To sum it, After few lost games, come to brm, check posts, read newspapers... After bad day, watch some movies, go out, grab a beer...After week take a break few days... After more then month downswing, change room. After a year, stop playing or you will go insane.

  25-Oct-12, 15:47   #14

Joined: Mar '12
Location: Netherlands
Age: 43 (M)
Posts: 587
try play less tables,, it is possible you play much better on 1 table instead of multitabling...

once you got profit ,,you can always play more tables....and take some beats easier,after you have come to profit that day...

whenever i start slow and carefull,, i win.

whenever i start to play 10 tables at once...the downswing variance kicks in.

for example last week on sunday at stars:

i have paid the first 2 hours only ,,,kept busting out of tournaments ,a few onces with A-A in a row...

the next hours i playd less tables and suddenly i got all losses back and even won some...at the end..

then i said to myself,,hmm ,had better started slow...

maybe it was just a bad moment,,,and next time i'll open up 10-12 tables again i'll have succes...

not sure yet,,but taking things slow when you start a session is not bad ..

i got carried away by my friends ,,nowadays we play on sunday's in a internetcafe for pokeraddicts...

so a lot of people with the same hobby...much more fun while playing... Worship

  25-Oct-12, 15:51   #15
Joined: Apr '11
Location: Philippines
Age: 39 (M)
Posts: 544
changing style doesnt really help in my game....i play aggressive and when im starting to lose and change to passive style it usually ends up a disaster....lol

  27-Oct-12, 08:05   #16
Joined: Jun '10
Location: Belgium
Age: 43 (M)
Posts: 1314
my advice :

- not play to much tables at the same time (I usually play 1 HU and 1 DoN), playing HU you need to analyze your opponents play so this needs your attention
- after losing more than 2 SNG in a row , take a break
- try to avoid big preflop raises when playing HU

  27-Oct-12, 13:33   #17
Joined: Oct '12
Location: Belarus
Age: 30 (M)
Posts: 42
Recently I thought that most of the curve GSC is in the Poker Stars.While i have not made a deposit in a WilliamHill Ipoker.not only that,there is no good cards,but also a constantly kulers with my overpairs as AA or KK by any two from fishes.Every time i lose with my overpairs))))))))

  28-Oct-12, 19:02   #18

Joined: Jan '11
Location: United States
Age: 52 (M)
Posts: 3361
I actually try to keep playing the same as always no matter if I'm on that losing streak or winning. What I wonder myself is, do I change without recognizing my own changes when I'm on a win streak then go into the losing streak. What I mean is, when winning do I become over confident and start playing a bit more aggressive or using less patience and that's what starts my losing streak. Then after losing I tighten back up and start winning. I'm trying figure out how to be more consistent

  28-Oct-12, 21:05   #19

Joined: May '11
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 51 (M)
Posts: 1372
Posted by Greenmohave:
I actually try to keep playing the same as always no matter if I'm on that losing streak or winning. What I wonder myself is, do I change without recognizing my own changes when I'm on a win streak then go into the losing streak. What I mean is, when winning do I become over confident and start playing a bit more aggressive or using less patience and that's what starts my losing streak. Then after losing I tighten back up and start winning. I'm trying figure out how to be more consistent

Yeah I get that too. I call it reverse tilt.

  30-Oct-12, 18:20   #20
Joined: Jun '10
Location: Belgium
Age: 43 (M)
Posts: 1314
the reason why top pairs loose is :

- preflop a standard raise of 3 to 4 BB is called by other players
- postflop a continuation bet with no hit on the flop, if you get called there you should be careful as your opponent could have hit something
- after turn or river you'd better try to control the pot by checking instead of raising.

Especially on micro games opponents will be hard to bluff away.

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