In the words of many of the influential media personalities within the United States, the government has let the American people down. With the credit crunch and then the housing market collapse, the United States government was caught with no legislation and with their pants down when it came to both of those events. Even…
Poker players and fans are all too aware of bad beats and wild swings in poker. In fact, bad beats are probably the single biggest factor why the average person thinks poker is just another big game of luck. While experienced, winning players are certainly convinced that poker is a game of skill over the long run, running bad for short periods of time frustrates even top pros in this growing sport.
Poker players usually call these short-term swings “variance.” Both good luck and bad luck are kinds of variance (positive variance and negative variance). Of course, players are looking to take advantage of the positive variance, but no one can avoid the bad side for too long. The luck factor in poker is responsible for these swings, which can be highly exhilarating on the positive end and downright depressing on the other.
Students of statistics and probability would not be surprised to see these major winning and losing streaks. It is often said that, no matter how many times a coin flipped in the air comes up heads, it is still 50% likely to come up heads again on the next flip. Why is this so? Simply put, flipping a coin is a random event. The universe does not take over and control these events, and the coin does not know variance. That said, we can infer that playing poker is a combination of both good strategies and luck.
In the past, unscrupulous peddlers of gambling systems would sell a system based on doubling your bets in craps or roulette every time you lose since, theoretically, you will eventually win. Short-term variance kills this kind of system right out of the starting gate. While gamblers may last a while with this system, that one killer losing streak will eventually either bankrupt their gambling roll or reach the casino maximum bet (the latter is used because casinos are very aware of this double-up theory and cut it off at the knees).
While variance can never really be your friend in doubling-up systems, the same is not true for poker. Think what happens if you play five thousand hands of poker (a small sample but enough for this example). Inevitably, you are going to have some losing streaks during that run and winning streaks to balance out those losing streaks. Poker players hate it when they run bad (negative variance), but someone is winning. The opponent or opponents are winning when a player is on a bad streak. Especially in tournaments, a player could never win if not for these winning streaks. Someone has to get hot. It is mathematically impossible for no one to get hot and hit a run of positive variance.
Pretend that you enter twenty poker tournaments. In nineteen of these tournaments, you could easily suffer a bad beat despite playing well, particularly because you can play well for a long time but then lose one key hand and instantly get knocked out of the tournament. However, it is simply inevitable that that cold streak will get canceled out by a winning streak. If you lose the key hands nineteen times in a row, you can bet that, eventually, the tide has to turn. It is when the tide turns that you finally accumulate chips and do well in a tournament. When you win six or seven key hands in a row, that is the positive variance taking over for all those bad beats you suffered before. Although the actual streaks are random, the luck factor evens out over time. So losing several key hands in a row is actually a good sign that you will eventually win several key hands in a row and make a run for the final table.
In conclusion, the next time negative variance pops you in the head, buck up and just keep making good poker decisions. This is a sign that a winning streak is on the way to even out your variance, and that is what eventually allows you to win.
If you’ve had your fun playing poker on-line and, like me, want to see what it’s like to play with real people and not avatars, then you must check out the Amateur Poker Leagues which may be playing at a location near you. I mean, playing poker on PokerQQ is really fun and all but at some point, you are going to want to get over it and play something for real. Visit their website amateurpokerleague.com and see where the games are offered in each state.
All you need to do is click on your state to see if they are currently offering any venues in which to play Texas Hold’Em. Not all states are currently set up with locations, but keep checking as this is a growing site with much to offer. If your state does offer tournaments, it will have the state broken down into regions so you can see if you can find a location close by to enjoy an evening of fun. You can also host an event at your establishment which will bring in more patrons and additional advertising on the WPTAPL (World Poker Tour Amateur Poker League), so if you or someone you know owns a local tavern, let them know what this could mean to their business and get a game going in your neighborhood.
I was thrilled when I ran across this site and found out that I could play real people at several locations in the Tampa area for free. Not only have I learned more about poker and how to play, but have also made several new friends which has turned this into a weekly ritual for my husband and I. I was really nervous the first time because I didn’t want to hold people up because I wasn’t exactly sure how the betting goes, but everyone made us feel real comfortable and it was nice to know that not everybody gets it the first time, or the second.
When you arrive at a location for the first time you will sign up with general information and they will give your a membership card which keeps track of your points. There is no fee to play, no money to spend. You just sign up, sit down and they give you chips to play. There is always a representative there from the WPTAPL so all you need to worry about is how to win. This is a learning experience for most members until you get the hang of it. Depending on how far you get in the game will dictate how many points you receive. Remember, you are playing for points, not for money.
The points will add up and you could be playing for cruises, Vegas getaways and thousands of other prizes. You are also given a scratch-off ticket which can add to your points. The plan is to advance at your venue so you can qualify for a regional championship and eventually you could find yourself playing for real stakes. You can also upgrade to a paying membership which gives you a lot more opportunities and special offers.
The bottom line is that this is good clean fun and a cheap evening out with friends. It is also an opportunity to win much more as you progress and get more experience at the game. Who knows, you could be the next poker star sitting at a final table on television and walking away with thousands of dollars, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and have a great time because even if you lose, you’ll still be a winner for trying.
Now, if you don’t care to go out to play, sign up at ClubWPT.com where you can actually play for free, but with a chance to play for real money. Yes, that’s right, I said real money. They offer lots of tournaments for members, memberships are around $20.00 per month (less is you sign up for more months), but if you just want to play for fun you can also have a chance to play a tournament for real cash. In the free poker tournaments just keep an eye out for a freeroll tournament where you can play to win $10.
Yep, I said $10 and you don’t have to spend any. They also offer Blackjack tournaments in the same manner. I myself almost won the $10 tournament the other day in a Blackjack room, however I have played less Blackjack in my life than I have poker, so that was a really interesting evening. I guess you could say it was just dumb luck, but it could be your dumb luck. Give it a try because you have nothing to lose even if you decide to become a member since they give you a two week trial to start out.