The Poker Tournament Variance Simulator calculates variance for poker tournaments, MTTs and SNGs. Enter your tournament(s), hit calculate and let the simulator do its magic. An explanation how this simulator works can be found below.
Beta Test: Please note, the new Tournament Variance Calculator is in beta. In case of errors, malfunctions or if you have feature requests, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If nothing works, you can still access the old Tournament Variance Calculator:
How does the Poker Tournament Variance Calculator work?
Let’s go through an example simulation.
First, you need to enter the poker tournament (or SNG / Sit-and-Go) schedule. Let’s say you’re playing the Sunday Million regularly and want to check what variance you can expect. That’s how the settings can look like:
- Players: Number of players for the tournament. We assumed 5,750 players (entries) for the Sunday Million.
- Structure: How many places get paid. Standard payout tables are used. You can also choose satellite structures.
- Buyin and Fee: In any currency you fancy – buyin must be greater than zero. Buy-In for the Sunday Million is $215, but for this calculator we split up the real buy-In ($200) and the fee ($15).
- ROI: In percent, any value greater than -100% is ok. Let’s just assume, we have an ROI of 50% in the Sunday Million.
- How many are you going to play?: How many tournaments should be simulated. For this example we want to know what results we can expect over the course of one year. That’s roughly 50 weeks and 50 Sunday Millions.
- Sample size: How many samples should be simulated – higher numbers yield more accurate results, but also take longer to compute.
Click on Calculate and the Poker Variance Calculator does its magic. It simulates whatever tournament schedule you have entered over as many samples as you have entered. In our example it would simulate 50 Sunday Millions 10,000 times.
This distribution shows the cumulative likelihood function for the results. In this example it shows you that about 70% of all samples had a negative result and only the top 5 percent of the samples showed significant winnings.
By clicking the the “N”-Button inside the diagram you can compare the distribution to how a normal distribution (with the same expected value and standard deviation as the original distribution) would look like.
Poker cash game results are, if played over a couple of thousand hands, normally distributed. Playing only a few (50 in this example) tournaments yields quite different results:
20 sample tournament runs
The next graph shows 20 sample runs from the simulation as well as the best and worst run over all samples. In this example, in at least one sample we managed two first places (not that unlikely over 10,000 samples) and most other samples show much lower winnings.
Poker MTT Variance Statistics
Lastly the Tournament Variance Simulator shows some interesting statistics, like your probability of loss, your 70, 95 and 99.7 confidence intervals as well as the statistical standard deviation, skew and kurtosis.
In our example, 50 Sunday Millions, the probability of loss is a whopping 71% despite having an ROI of 50%. Obviously, since poker tournaments are so top-heavy it needs a lot more than just 50 tournaments to turn this ROI into a secure income.
All those numbers are derived by Montecarlo simulation, thus they are not completely accurate. But going with a decent sample size (1,000 or more) they are correct within a 2%-margin of error.
You can enter up to 10 different tournaments, MTTs, SNGs or sit-and-gos and the Tournament Variance Simulator will simulate the whole schedule. By clicking on “Compare tournaments” you can compare the distributions of the different tourneys you entered.
Should you have any questions, remarks or feedback, please leave a comment!