Running it Twice in Poker – is it Worth it?

running it twice

Running it Twice

Anyone who has watched the popular show “High Stakes Poker” will have been introduced to the concept of running it twice. When playing for hundreds of thousands, the idea of losing it on a peel of the deck or to a bad beat is pretty brutal. That’s why you’ll notice many players will run it twice or more, as an insurance policy against bad luck.

Phil Hellmuth, actually bets against himself as insurance too. This is definitely – EV and results in him being mocked and mathematical minded opponents happy to accept his wagers. 

Does Running it Twice Effect Table Image?

I’ve often thought that running it twice or more is detrimental to one’s table image. Players are more likely to stack off or shove on you if they know you are happy to run it several times if called. This is something opponents will be aware of both consciously and sub-consciously and they will use it to their advantage. I think it’s better to refuse deals, for the most part. It will act as a deterrent to those that like to gamble. They will definitely think twice before shoving on you, unless they’re sports betting poker sites like OlyBet. Players on sports betting sites won’t be put off like serious poker players.

Barry Greenstein famously refuses to run it twice. The Robin Hood of Poker understands how important image is in poker and will not jeopardise that for less swings of variance.

Bankroll Management and Running it Twice

Playing with a sufficient bankroll is critical to long time earning. However, we know that some people play beyond their means and this won’t change. If this is you, then I recommend running it twice in poker. Your bankroll cannot sustain the swings and to reduce the variance, you may want to give up a small percentage of edge to keep yourself in the game. This is not ideal approach for the long term, but I appreciate many players will play with under 20 buy-ins and that is not going to change.

If you’re playing with a large bankroll and generally very conservative you should almost definitely decline any deals with opponents and not run it multiple times. Why would you want to give up edge? Even if your hand is the underdog, you will win it from to time to time and scoop. But, if you accept deals with the weaker hand, you are almost certainly not going to scoop. So, refusing a deal is probably wise regardless of your odds of winning. I’m not sure if this mindset is accepted by all professionals, but it is my 2c for what it is worth.


Running it multiple times is ok if you’re anxious about money or taking a shot at higher stakes. But, if you’re employing good bankroll management, I recommend avoiding it. The whole point to running it several times is to reduce variance and insure yourself against bad luck. If you have the bankroll to sustain swings in luck, you don’t need to forgo some of your edge in the short-term.

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“Poker 1” by adam.croft is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: