Heaters and Downswings: Variance in Heads Up Poker

Posted on Jan 08, 2009 by Gugel in Variance

There was an great post on variance on 2+2 about a week ago that included a link to an Excel spreadsheet. As you probably know, the upswings and downstreaks are a lot more extreme in heads up than 6-max and fullring. In fact, heads up is probably the most volatile form of poker. Fortunately, it is also the most profitable.

Anyway, I want to give credit to MasterLJ for bringing my attention to the tool and more importantly, Kimberly at FFD Poker Forum for creating the spreadsheet in the first place. I made some minor adjustments and tweaks and I think youll find it really useful to help you get a better grasp of what you can expect.

To give you an idea what kind of variance is typical, Ill share some of my results.
In the next 100 hands I play, there is a 34% chance I will make between $9.65 and $141.81. On other hand, there is also a 34% chance I will make between $9.65 and -$122.51. The probability that I am a long-term winner in the game is 96.6%. My average profit per hour is $32.48.

Id love to hear what your stats are. Download the spreadsheet and fill in the values using HoldEm Manager or PokerTracker3.

Update: Heres another post for further reading about downswings and bankroll management.

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3 Responses to Heaters and Downswings: Variance in Heads Up Poker

  1. [...] up poker has a quite a bit more variance than 6max or fullring.  In other words, when you run hot, youre really making bank, but you [...]

  2. [...] results. I pride myself on being able to take a 1 outer and not blink, and remove my emotions from variance, the element of the game which we cannot control. Its funny, people typically think I am a [...]

  3. poker rake

    12. Mar, 2010

    Im interested to here some input on this, Im a noob and just dropped 13 buyins in 1300 hands, 10 buyin below ev, and it was quite a shocking experience. Im an lhe player and there my standard daily swings are around 50-70 big bets up/down, a worse day or a very good day can be 100-120 bets up/down, and my bigger swongs are 200-250BBish but I know that 3-400BB ones are not uncommon.
    What Im trying to say is, I have a pretty good idea from long term experience about what I can expect in general. However I have no clue what I can expect in PLO. Is dropping 13 buyins is in 1300 hands an average bad day or like a once in a month thing? Do winning players regularly drop like 20buyins on a bad week? Maybe 40? Some long term winners could chime in to give us a ballpark idea about what kind of swongs they experience on a day to day basis in plo? thanks