How Profitable is the “Run It Twice” Function?
Not long ago PokerStars introduced the “Run It Twice” function. The immediate question that has to be asked is – how useful is this function to the ordinary player? Will it help you earn additional dollars per hour or can you just ignore it and instead wait for the next innovation?
What is "Run It Twice"?
This is not a new concept – indeed it was first made available in an online poker room in 2008 in the Merge Gaming network. “Run It Twice” (or RIT for short) began to grow in popularity in 2009, after it had been introduced to Full Tilt Poker.
In brief, RIT is the opportunity to deal the cards in a hand of poker twice, with the provision that all the players play all-in.
Let us suppose that two players put themselves all-in, and both checked the “Run It Twice” check-box. Then, two turn cards and two river cards will appear on the table. Under these conditions, the pot is split in two, each half of the pot going to the player with the best hand following both sets of turn and river cards. RIT is only available for Hold'em and Omaha.
On the following video you can watch the showdown between Patrick Antonius and Andrew Robl. They decided to play the turn and the river not once, not even twice, but four times. The results were slightly comical, as you can see for yourself:
How profitable is using RIT?
The verdict on RIT is split, that's for sure. The opinions of some of the users from the twoplustwo on this topic are given below:
Twoplustwo user Lefort wrote that he never thought about turning on RIT. He expressed an interesting notion: Losses and dispersion overshoots do not worry him, as it is part of the game, but his opponents may start to tilt earlier which allows him to gain an additional benefit. This is a curious approach as it deals with the psychological aspects of play, leaving the number-crunching to one side.
However, the user kabyz does not agree with such an approach. He thinks that both participants in a deal who have RIT turned off increases dispersion in the long term. That means that it benefits you in a game with a certain opponent, which is what Lefort was talking about, but does not make the situation at a distance any better, so RIT is necessary.
Aside from those two opposite points of view, there are others that have to be considered. The user Smellmuth is of the opinion that the opinions of both Lefort and kabyz are somewhat off, as in his understanding it makes no difference. This point of view was dismissed by other users who asked for mathematical proof that this was the case, but none was provided.
Live poker players could not come to a common conclusion either. Dabouch1998 only plays live, and whenever he sits down at a poker table he immediately informs the table that he will never run the cards twice. Dabouch1998 presumes that his gives him the benefit as his opponents play more tightly as a result, not wishing to threaten their bankroll, although he does not have a problem with RIT as, after all, poker is all about gambling.
RunninMan5K expresed the idea that RIT makes no sense when playing online as the game takes place on a large amount of tables and dispersion is an integral part of the game, but with live poker – according to his words – when you have been sitting at a table for a few hours, and in terms of equity an even balance occurs, RIT can be useful.
But in live poker, according to his words, when you have been sitting at the same table for a few hours, and a quite even in terms of equity situation occurs, RIT is useful.
ZeeJustin mentioned that the majority of commentators significantly overestimate their advantage over the field, whilst at the same time they underestimate the possibility of a significant down-swing. The lower the amount of dispersion there is, the higher the bankroll grows.
Eventually it seems, the majority of those who participate in such discussions seem to agree that from a purely mathematical point of view, the RIT option really does decrease dispersion. However, as you can see from the opinions expressed above, there are those who consider that this argument is simply not strong enough for them to check the RIT box.
One is able to sum up the discussion on twoplustwo with DoubleD's words: “As a professional player you have to aim at decreasing the influence of lucky chance on your income.”