Does this sound familiar? 9Tsuited, spades, on the button.  Best hand you’ve seen in a while. Throw in a healthy raise, and get two callers.  Flop comes 9h 4d Qh, buddy bets half the pot, next guy raises all in.  You fold, and the other guy calls and shows TJoff, and the all inner shows Ah 4h.  Turn comes 6c and the river comes 9d. Sound about right?
Next hand you get the 9h and the 4d from the last flop, and you fold that junk to a couple of limpers. The flop comes 4h 4s Jc, everyone checks and your nine hits the turn, its a club.  At this point people start betting, and a healthy pot welcomes the river card – the king of clubs.
 People go crazy, and once everyone turn over there cards, you see a 10Qoff with a straight, you see 78clubs with a flush, you even see a 77 call.  The flush takes down a massive pot and your wishing you’d have called with that shitty hand, if only!  You would surely be the tournament leader at this point.


A few hands later you have QQ in early position, spades and clubs.  Someone min raised to open, and you make it 4 times more expensive.  Everyone folds except the raiser.  The flop comes 6h Td 2d.  Buddy checks and you bet 3/4 the pot. He calls and the turn brings a king of diamonds.  Its a scary card, and the guy now bets to you, but he bets a pretty small amount.  You choose to call as a safe bet. The river comes a Qd.  now what?  Youve hit your set, and you have a lot invested in this pot.  But theres a nice flush on board, theres a straight possibility, or he could have pocket kings.  He bets about half the pot.  You have a great hand here and a lot invested.  Theres a good chance he has the flush, but he may just have AK or KQ.  if he has KQ he doesnt have the diamond, and you should win.  If he had the ace he may have went all in.  

  You make the call and see he has the Ad, and the Ts.  its pretty sick, and you start thinking how you couldve played it differently.  “Should have raised his bet on the turn.  Should have raised more before the flop.  Should have folded when the fourth diamond hit. ”  Theres a million scenarios you run through, and it doesnt leave your mind for the next few hands,  possibly even days.

Youre crippled now, and waiting for that all in hand. Folding all the trash. on small blind you see J7h.  Is this it? someone makes a min raise and you either call for 1/4 of your stack or go all in with this hand.  You fold, and start to cry when the flop comes T89. again people start to bet big, and by the end of the hand, you see your J7 wouldve held up and quadrupled your stack.

Finally its your turn to open the pot in mid position, about 6bb left, you go all in with AQs.  Everyone folds but the bb and sb. Small blind has a huge stack and bb has about 15bb left.  When its all said and done, you have nothing more than ace high, while sb shows 55 and bb shows A7off, and his 7 takes the pot.


If your anything like me, you cant forget about this tournament, and find yourself questioning whether or not your as good as you think you are.  In the end, I usually replay everything in my head and decide that it was horrible luck and mathematically incorrect plays on my opponents part’s.  Being on bb, someone goes all in short-stacked and the small blind calls? Id really question a call with a7off, considering Ive played tight and showed great cards most of the tourney, I guess the pot odds are in his favor, call 5 big blind to possibly win 13, but I would never make that call. 

Other variables are the small blinds recent game, what he would call with, how he plays and his stack size.  The big blind had 15bb, and one bb in the pot. After calling he had 10bb left to play with. A call was horrible in my opinion, with such a short stack, and a raise and a call before him by short and huge stacks, out of position.  His only moves there were fold or all in.  The call worked out for him this time, but that call is going to hurt his game more than help it over time, and my notes on him will describe that situation to exploit his weakness in any future games versus him.


For someone to open with AToff in early position with a raise and get reraised 4xbb, this is also a questionable call.  He is out of position, a reraise with any A will usually dominate AT, and any high pocket pair is quite favorable over this hand. Hitting the T on the flop was quite unlucky for this guy as it gives him a reason to continue spending chips on the hand with the false belief he is on top here. The fourth diamond on the river was a miracle card for him, and that scenario will save him probably 1 in 30 times.  I dont know the math, but Im sure its at least that bad. And the way I see it, the one time it saved him was the one time I was involved in the hand, and the luck factor reached into to a pile of millions of squirmy little card players and pinned me up in the spotlight and took control of the fate of my hand, and chose to help the evil enemy in his attempt to fish out his drawing hand.  


To new poker players, or experienced fun-players who never sought any more information about the skill factor, variance is a huge part of the game. Variance is the amount that something changes from time to time, in this case, luck. Basically, in a poker sense, it means that no matter how often you play something perfect, there will inexorably be a time period that comes and goes where your perfection is simply not good enough.  Its the times where your AA loses to KKK. Its the times where your JJ loses to 55 on a 4673T board.  In these cases Ive described, where everything seems to go wrong, one might suggest that upon recognition of the dark variance cloud hovering over you, that switching your game up might prove beneficial. Play the QQ hands the same way because it would be silly not to, but maybe play the 94off hands, and the J3’s and the A7’s. This is not something Ive tried but I am definitely considering it, as Ive lost with KQ to K2 too many times these past few days.


I like to compare it to a womans menstrual cycle.  Maybe its once a month, maybe it last about a week. For some people it can be every 3 months, and last 3 weeks or so.  It depends on how much you play.  Ive even read somewhere that it can be a random entire month out of a year. But if you dont recognize it, that month can deplete your entire bankroll.  The only certain thing is that it will happen to you, no matter what.  The best thing to do in my opinion when you see the clouds rolling in, is stop playing completely.  I myself can not do that as I am addicted to poker, so the next best thing to do is lower your stakes.  If you play 10 dollar sng’s, join a few games for 5 dollars or 3 dollars instead. If your playing the lowest games already, maybe cut your game amount in half, or switch your strategy completely.  Fight the variance!


The good news is, that it will come back in your favor eventually.  You will be the one all in preflop with JJ up against KK and you will flop quads.  You will catch straights that you have no business catching, and every once in a while that 4th diamond on the river will save your ass. Just make sure your not hoping for these straights and miracle flushes when you have your chips in the middle, cause that puts you on the fish side of the fence in my books 😉