Many poker players like to make this analogy. While some of these players seem to actually be chess players, they don't seem to understand how chess actually works.

Here are some quotes from the article.

"The purest example of a game with no variance is chess."

This is simply false. In fact, the formula that calculates a chess player's rating is more or less the very *definition* of variance. In a typical chess game, you are playing a player with a rating within 100 points of yours. If you're playing someone 50 points below you, you have a 35% chance of winning and 21% chance of losing (the rest is chance of a tie.) At 100 points, it goes to 46% and 18%. (The draw percentages are actually a little misleading, since games among lower rated players end in draws much less often than games among higher rated players.) In fact, meeting certain percentages is *how* your rating is determined. In other words, the entire rating system is based on variance. It's not more unlikely that you lose 3 games in a row against an equally skilled player than it is that you flip 3 heads in a row (not accounting for ties.)

"If you played Gary Kasparov and you were not an international grandmaster, it would be next to impossible for you to win unless he made an uncharacteristically large blunder."

Well, yeah. This is about as interesting as saying "If you flop the bottom end of a straight flush in Holdem, it would be next to impossible for you to lose. There is basically no luck and no variance in the game." In that scenario, true. But how realistic is that scenario? How much of your actual playing time does that scenario represent? How many players that are not international grandmasters has Kasparov even played in the last 20 years?

"There is basically no luck in the game."

This is another misconception. Just because chess is a game of complete information, it doesn't mean that the players can actually employ that information. Theoretically, it can be done. However no human or computer has accomplished that feat.

Until everyone can, chess will remain a game with luck, variance, and yes... even bluffing.

## Comments

5,828AdministratorLeadProBart

10Subscriber7,085SubscriberPots. There my variance has been brutally negative for years. And yes it really bugs me. The sample is small because u dont get into 400 bbs pots often but this is another aspect of variance. I am probably winning more than my equity in the smaller pots and losing in the bigger ones.

Well all i can do is keep plugging away and hopefully it should geavitate to the norm eventually.

215SubscriberIs there some variance? Yeah I guess. But IMO comparing it to the variance seen in poker is pretty laughable.

591SubscriberHere is how it breaks down in this example:

Chess

1. A game played between 2 people using a board, pieces and yada yada yada.

2. A competitive game where people are ranked in a system of yada yada yada.

So to really see the Fallacy of Equivocation it is easy if you re-write it as... there is no variance in chess1. But this is not true because when you are playing chess2 your opponent...

1,048ProThe purest comparison is if a rookie were to play Phil Ivey in a 100bb HU freezeout, he has a chance of winning, whereas a rookie has close to zero chance to beating even like a 1500 rated chess player.

57Member57Member57Member57MemberIf you want to compare an amateur beating Kasparov (or let's say Carlsen) in one game, then the equivalent would be to play Phil Ivey heads up for about a month.

Just because the games even out over different time intervals does not mean that a game of complete information doesn't have luck or variance in the real world.

997Subscriber215SubscriberAre there any examples in the history of a game like chess where a top player consistently lost to an inferior opponent? This...

5,828AdministratorLeadProBut to be honest, I get these types of non topical responses to my articles on twitter all the time. What does the chess analogy have to with the poker message that is being conveyed? It seems like you came on here just to argue to prove that you were smarter than everyone else who may not know chess as well as you. Is there variance when me with a 1200 rating plays against someone with a 2600? Maybe. I might win 1 out 5,000,000 or whatever the correct number is. But if I play against the best in the world HU in a 200BB blind match I may have a 45% chance of winning. So yes, poker and chess both have luck by your definition. It is just that poker has an unquantifiable amount, almost infinitely times more when two players confront of disproportionate skill levels which allowed me to comfortably say that chess has no luck in it as compared to poker.

1,048Pro237Member591SubscriberIn chess, there is no "Fog of War". When you move your Rook to the 7th row you do not discover after the fact that the piece was hung. In poker, when you have KK on the button the blinds combined have roughly a 2% of having AA. You can go all-in only to discover that this was a mistake.

If you consider that a player playing below their expect performance is variance, then I would argue that you have weaken that word to a point of being meaningless. Then all the world is variance and we have to make a new word to make the distinction between games like chess and poker.

As far as the chess ranking system, and matching system, etc... Yes that has tons of variance.

57MemberThe luck in chess is the same as the luck in golf or the luck in poker. It can take many forms. At the Masters last year, Tiger hit a near perfect shot on #15 - far more precise than anyone else had. And yet it bounced off the flagstick and into the water and he bogeyed instead of eagled or birdied. That's one kind of luck. Another kind is simple variance. Golfers birdie holes all the time that Tiger has only parred, etc etc etc It doesn't mean they're better, it means they got a little lucky that hole.

Luck in chess occurs when your opponent doesn't see something he usually sees, or gets into a line he's uncomfortable with just by coincidence, or gets into a line he just happens to be an expert at just by coincidence, or gets distracted and blunders, or forgets to hit his clock and lets time expire, or........

57MemberThat's why I keep making the comment about timeframe. A heads up freezeout match is perhaps equivalent to 1 putt in a golf match. Maybe playing heads up poker for a year would be about equivalent to a round of golf. This does not imply that there is no luck or variance in golf or chess, just that it gets to the long run quicker.

57Member57MemberBy definition, it's impossible to play to your performance level in 1 game of chess*. The rating system proves that. Just like it's impossible to flip a coin 1 time and match the EV of the event, or draw to a flush 1 time and match the EV of the event.

*The only exception I can think of is the rare situation where you happen to be playing someone of the exact same rating, and you happen to draw. Maybe this would be like flipping a coin and it lands on its side :-)