While poker is partially a game of circumstance, your abilities are more important to your eventual success. For example, the ability to read an opponent allows you to make better decisions, such as when to lay down a hand. Additionally, adaptability and strategic-thinking skills let you adjust your play no matter what happens throughout the game.
And since skills are crucial to triumph in poker, one effective way you can succeed is through Game Theory Optimal Poker, which we will be discussing in this article.
What is Game Theory Optimal Poker?
Game Theory Optimal Poker, better known as GTO poker, is a theoretically mathematically perfect way to play the game. It incorporates statistics and probability, allowing you to always make decisions that will be beneficial in the long run.
GTO came out of the desire to find an unbeatable strategy for playing poker. However, since it deals with statistics and probability, an infinite number of poker hand combinations can happen. You need to compute your odds of winning every round using tested formulas to figure out the best strategy.
How to play GTO Poker?
If you’re new to the concept of GTO, one way to learn is through the use of GTO solvers like PioSolver and Simple Postflop. These are computer programs that run a test game and compute your odds using very specific plays made from start to finish. Every turn, you need to input poker game variables, such as how many people are playing, raise sizes, and pot odds.
However, note that solvers are just there to teach you the theory behind it. It can teach you how to arrive at optimal moves given (very) particular circumstances, but it’s still you who decides what moves to make. Further, GTO solvers aren’t usable during actual games, since it has their own AI to make your competitors’ moves. You need to learn how to manually compute these to suit your situation.
While it seems overwhelming, it’s perfectly fine to start slow because, with practice (and solvers!), you’ll soon get the hang of it. To get you started, however, here are a few common GTO formulas you can use in every match:
Common GTO Poker Solutions
One way to play GTO poker is by computing your pot odds. This is the ratio between the pot size and the bet size you’re facing.
(BET AMOUNT / (OUR BET + POT)) = POT ODDS
You must have greater equity than the result that you get in order to make a call that will be advantageous to you.
Mid-play, say that you raise 3bb preflop and then get 3bet by the dealer to 9bb. Since the action then folds to you, you can use the following formula to decide your next move:
(OUR OPEN + 3BET SIZE + SMALL BLIND + BIG BLIND)
The result you get is the pot size. Then, using the pot odds formula, replace POT with the result. You must have equity of approximately whatever percentage you get against the 3bettor’s range to proceed.
Minimum Defence Frequency
This refers to the percentage of hands in your range that you must proceed with so that you cannot be exploited by the other players. The formula to determine Minimum Defence Frequency or MDF is:
POT SIZE / (POT SIZE + BET SIZE) = MDF
To know what hands you must proceed with, take the number of hand combos in your starting range. Then, use the MDF to know how many combos you should be proceeding with.
Poker is a game of skill, so you must practice and use good strategies. And as long as you take your time to learn, GTO is one of the most effective strategies you can adapt to your playstyle. For more articles on poker and other games, keep reading through our website.