The Pros & Cons of Running It Twice
By Bob Garcia
Recently Americas Cardroom made a huge upgrade to their software including one change that will undoubtedly make many players extremely happy. Running It Twice (RIT) is now available at Americas Cardroom!
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, RIT refers to the ability to deal out two sets of cards from the point of all-in, giving each player double the chance to either come from behind and claim at least half the pot, or avoid a nasty suckout.
The format was first introduced to the poker-playing public on the popular poker show High Stakes Poker, where players such as Phil Hellmuth and Gus Hansen have found themselves sweating RIT pots with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. But is there a strategy to running it twice, and if so, what are the best times to use it? Let’s take a look at both the pros and cons of this exciting element of the game.
Running It Twice – Pros
Far and away the most impactful aspect of running it twice is the ability for players to reduce variance in an often-high-variance game. By getting two shots at a runout once all the chips have been put into the pot, players can decrease the impact luck has on their bottom line. Taking a look at a simple example, imagine getting it all in on the flop with pocket aces against a flush-draw. Under normal circumstances, even though your overpair is a relatively dominant favourite, it will still lose the pot more than a third of the time. Therefore, by running it twice, you get two tries to survive at a 65% favourite, with each run accounting for half the pot. This means that you now only have about a 12% chance to lose all your money, reducing your bust-scenario by about two-thirds. Conversely, as the flush-draw holder in the above scenario, you increase your odds of winning at least half the pot, keeping you live in the game.
Running It Twice – Cons
Although RIT has the benefits of reducing one’s variance, there are scenarios where players may want to forgo the option as a way to maximize their edge. Most specifically, when facing a much weaker opponent, players may want to decline their option to run it twice knowing that they likely have a sizable edge in the hand and that it’s important to seize their opponent’s chips before someone else at the table gets the chance to. Besides, if the better player should lose the hand, it’s much more likely they’ll soon have another opportunity to get it back from a weaker opponent as opposed to from a stronger one.
Running It Twice – Other Considerations
The one other important element of RIT is the ’tilt’ factor both from a player’s own perspective, as well as from their opponents’. Simply put, if taking a bad beat is going to put you on tilt and lead you to making worse decisions in subsequent pots, running it twice is a good option, while if not running it twice is going to tilt your opponent, perhaps that’s a strategy you can exploit in your favor. Additionally, if variance is not a big concern for you since you’re properly bankrolled for the game you’re playing in, declining your option to run it twice will perhaps cause the players at the table to play tighter vs you in all-in pots, allowing you to exploit your image.
All in all, running it twice is one of the most fun elements of poker and, when used with purpose and understanding, can be another tool to increase your edge at the table.