Anything But Hold Em

There\’s More to Poker Than Texas Hold Em

Mason Malmuth on Stud Variance

Posted by pmpoker on April 4, 2006

From the 2+2 December 1997 Archive Digest:

According to Mason Malmuth, your stud variance relative to your (bah) hold em variance depends upon your skill level. An expert hold em player will win more consistently and have a lower standard deviation than an expert stud player (assuming equal opposition), but the stud player will have a higher win rate. For merely good players, the reverse is true, with the stud player having the lower variance.

Malmuth suggests it might be due being able to read hands better in hold em because of the shared river card. I have my own theory. In hold em, I think that the expert player’s advantage over the merely good player comes more from saving bets (in an earlier message, Sklansky, Malmuth, or Zee–I forget which–said that at high level hold em, most of your profit comes from better preflop selection against opponents who play equally well after the flop but make the mistake of thinking they can get away with playing more hands because of their skill). I’m not yet an expert player in stud, but while a merely good player is one who has learned a lot of the “automatic” plays, the expert is probably has an edge by knowing additional spots in which to call or raise when there is actually a very mild positive expectation. Taken as a whole, additional wagers that are +EV but only slightly would lead to the result of a higher win rate at the price of a higher variance.

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