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The Role of Luck in Poker: Managing Variance and Downswings

the role of luck in poker managing variance and downswings

The Role of Luck in Poker: Managing Variance and Downswings

Once defined as a game that brings together skill, strategy and psychology, poker is not void of luck. Any real player should learn how to deal with variance inborn in the game and go through downswings successfully. At Lotus365, we know the significance of striking this balance to maintain strategic advantage and positive attitude even when you are unlucky. In this blog post, we will talk about luck’s role in poker, managing variance and dealing with downswings well.

Understanding Variance in Poker

Variance describes the natural fluctuations of short-term results due to the inherent randomness of the game. Even best players often oscillate between winning periods (upswing) and losing ones (downswing). Realizing that poker involves some level of variance is crucial for staying afloat.

The Impact of Luck

Short-Term vs Long-Term: In the short run, luck can easily influence what happens during single hands or sessions. However, on a longer term basis skill takes over. Knowing this helps avoid being too emotional while playing poker.

Bad Beats and Coolers: Every bad beat or cooler one goes through makes them stronger as they test mental resilience; remember bad beats refer to losing strong hands to weaker ones that end up improving while coolers imply having powerful hands only for those stronger than them come along. This acceptance will improve mental strength.

Positive Variance: When there is negative variance it may cause downswings, but positive variance can create upswings too. Do not start playing loosely after several successful games because good play still matters most in winning consistently.

Managing Variance

Bankroll Management: Proper bankroll management remains one of the most critical aspects associated with controlling variance. You should have enough money so as not to lose everything due to downswings happening all at once within a given time period. For cash games have minimum 20-30 buy ins and more for tournaments.

Emotional Control: Variance can be emotionally exhausting as it may lead to several undesired outcomes. Learning to control emotions and keeping calm during both upswings and downswings is vital. Do not act impulsively based on temporary results.

Focus on Decision Quality: Make the best decisions you can rather than dwelling on individual hands’ outcomes. Good choices are a sure way of long-term success despite short-term luck.

Handling Downswings

Stay Positive: Poker encompasses downswings too; keep upbeat about it while realizing that variance will balance out over time, which helps in maintaining focus and motivation.

Review and Reflect: Use downswings as an opportunity to review your play. Analyze your hands and decisions to identify any mistakes or areas for improvement. This reflective practice could turn a negative experience into a learning moment.

Take Breaks: When faced with a negative mental state as a result of downswing, there is need to take some time off playing poker. It is good if you let your mind clear up after which you can come back refreshed.

Strategies to Minimise Variance Impact

Adjusting Play Style: During periods of high variance, one should consider adjusting their style of play. By choosing to play tighter or less risky poker game during variance periods, this reduces the impact on your bankroll.

Game Selection: Select games and stakes appropriate for your level of skill and bankroll size. In case you are losing money, do not try playing higher stakes thinking they would help in recovering losses faster since this could make things worse than they already are.

Continuous Learning: Study and practice to improve your skills. The more you know and can do, the better you will be equipped for variance as well as capitalizing on mistakes by competitors.


Luck and variance are part of poker game that a player has to go through. At Lotus365, we hold that comprehending these aspects and formulating ways of managing them is a key factor towards long-term success in this game. Mitigating the effect of variance and handling downswings effectively is possible through focusing on making good decisions, maintaining emotional control, and practicing proper bankroll management. Keep in mind that in the end it’s skill that counts most. So, keep working on your skills, stay positive and maybe your next session at Lotus365 will bring victory to you!

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