Thursday Tip of the Day (TOTD) : Skill Variance


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high_varianceYour Thursday tip of the Day: Variance

Battling variance throughout your poker career is always an uphill battle that you must overcome.  Everyone is aware the money variance that is involved in poker, but what about your skill variance in the games you play?  This applies to almost everyone in the poker community.

What is skill variance?  Skill variance is your aptitude and comfort level at the stakes you are playing on a consistent basis.  Quite often, players won’t find themselves in these situations, because they have already found their game and betting structure they like.  They will only find themselves at this crossroad when drastically moving up stakes and taking their shot in the bigger games.  While this is fine and dandy, it is important that you know when to tone it down and take a step back while losing.

A perfect example of this is a Sunday Million winner on PokerStars.  This player was fortunate enough to win a Sunday Million amongst all of the online professionals and take down a hefty first prize.  For the most part, all of you would be excited to win that type of money, but his downfall was his skill variance.  Being a typical 1/2 NL player, he was not accustomed to the meta game and in depth scenarios presented at the higher levels.  This player took his newly found $230k roll and started playing $1000 HU sit-and-go’s, and was seen playing in many of the high limit tournaments.  It was not long before this player dumped much of his roll to the players that he beat out during the Sunday million.  No one has seen him on Stars’ to this day.

The issue this player was facing is skill variance.  He may have been a solid $1/$2 player, but jumping up into extreme stakes destroyed him.  Although his bankroll and money variance could withstand the abuse and some of the losses, his poker state of mind and skill could not.

Remember, if you happen to win a large sum of money during a session, or in a tournament, be sure to size yourself up, and not only look at the numbers.  It takes a strong poker player to admit when they are way in over their head.  See you at the tables.

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