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How to overcome variance in your poker game

One of the most fundamental concepts behind the game of poker is the fact that it is a game strongly rooted in probability and averages. Anyone can have a great streak of success, but it’s a rare poker player indeed whose success isn’t eventually countered by a streak of “bad luck.” We put “bad luck” in scare quotes because when you step back and look at your performance as a whole, it isn’t so much bad luck as the law of averages revealing itself. Probability is something that few people manage to escape for any significant length of time, and while skill can keep things in your favour most of the time, it’s inevitable that eventually things will not go your way. This unfortunate side of the game may last one hand, one game, or even longer. Sometimes no amount of skill can turn your game around until the poker gods smile upon you once again and you start getting the cards you need in order to put your skill to use rather than sit by and watch helplessly as things go to pieces.

Remember, variance is not a reflection of your prowess as a poker player and should not have any effect on your confidence. In fact, allowing variance to affect your confidence is what makes it infinitely worse in the long run, as you may begin to make poor decisions or lose your focus when you believe you’ve lost your edge. When variance comes knocking at your door, do your best to place its visit in the context of your poker experience as a whole rather than focusing on how “unlucky” you feel at the moment. With the good comes the bad, so keep your chin up and things will soon be good again.

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