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# GTO vs Exploitative Play

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# GTO vs Exploitative Play

Ed Miller's November 2014 video for Red Chip Poker

Ed Miller's November 2014 video for Red Chip Poker

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### GTO vs Exploitative Play

1. 1. Ed Mi l ler GTO VS EXPLOITATIVE PLAY GET THE VIDEO AT
2. 2. WHAT IS GTO?  GTO me a ns “Game T h e o r y Op t ima l”  Game Theory is a branch of math used to analyze games to develop optimal strategies  GTO has a very speci fic, mathematical definition—most of wh a t p e o p le c a l l “GTO” i s n’ t a c t u a lly wh a t GTO is
3. 3. WHAT IS GTO? (CONT.)  When smar t people refer to GTO and poker, they are talking about using a speci fic set of mathematical techniques to analyze the game in order to derive per fect ( i .e. , optimal) strategies  Real 6- and 9-handed poker is too complex to get per fect solutions for, so most GTO analysis involves making simplifying assumptions and solving for optimal solutions of the simplified game
4. 4. WHAT ISN’T GTO?  Not h i ng e l s e ! I f yo u a r e n’ t u s i ng g ame t h e o r etic te c h niques to a t tempt to s o l ve fo r o p t imal g ame s o l u t i o n s, i t ’ s n ot GTO.  PokerSnowie (not to pick on them, just as an example) is NOT GTO. Snowie d o e s n’ t u s e g ame t h e o r y to d e ri ve i t s s t ra tegy. I t uses neural networks. This has nothing to do with GTO.  My b o o k , Po ke r ’ s 1%, i s NOT GTO. T h e r e i s l i t t le to n o ma t h i n that book, let alone game theory math.
5. 5. WHY GTO?  The al lure of GTO is that it is an unexploitable strategy that beats al l other strategies.  I f one somehow could play the true GTO optimal solution for a g ame , yo u c o u l d p l ay “ l i ke a ro b ot ” wi t h o u t ma k i n g r e a d s o r deviations of any kind and be nearly guaranteed to profit.
6. 6. WHY NOT GTO?  A theoretical person playing a GTO strategy, however, would not be guaranteed to win the maximum in any game.  Whi le GTO strategy is unbeatable, against any other given non-GTO strategy, it is not the maximum winning strategy.  In real games, especially with bad players, EXPLOITATIVE strategies win more money.
7. 7. SO WHAT’S THE FUSS?  The best way to learn to be exploitative is to understand what a GTO- l ike strategy looks l ike.  I n my b o o k , Po ke r ’ s 1%, I p r e s e n t t h e c o n c e p t o f a f r e q u e n c y - based, static strategy  Frequency-based because you are most worried about the frequencies with which you take every action  Static because the strategy doesn’t adjust to how your opponents play
8. 8. SO WHAT’S THE FUSS? (CONT.)  The idea is not that frequency-based, static strategies are the best strategies to use in \$2-\$5 l ive games. THEY ARE NOT.  The idea is that once you understand how to bui ld a frequency-based, static strategy, you can also bui ld a better exploitative strategy. This is what you wi l l use to make more money.
9. 9. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS…  T h e r e’ s o ne p ro p e r ty o f p o ke r s t r a tegies t h a t may s u rp r is e yo u  As soon as your opponent veers away even sl ightly from a GTO strategy, you should play the counter-strategy 100% of the time
10. 10. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS… (CONT.)  The simplest GTO example  \$100 pot. River. Two players. First player checks. Second player has \$100 and can choose between checking back and betting all -in.  First player has 100% bluff-catchers when he checks. How often should second player bet and how often should first player call?  Second player should be 100% of value hands and half as many hands as bluffs. This offers 2-to-1 odds to call and a 1/3 chance to win.
11. 11. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS… (CONT.)  Say second player has 40 combinations of value hands that beat the bluff-catchers that player 1 has. He should bet 60 hands total: all 40 value hands and an additional 20 hands as bluffs.  Second player gets even money on a bluff (betting \$100 to win \$100). Therefore, first player should call 50 percent of the time.  GTO strategy: 2nd player bets 60 combos. When 2nd player bets, 1st player calls 50% of the time.
12. 12. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS… (CONT.)  EV for 2nd player on a bet and cal l is (40(\$200) + 20( - \$100) )/60 = \$100  EV for 2nd player on a bet and fold is \$100  EV for 1st player on a cal l is 40( -\$100) + 20(\$200) = 0  EV for 1st player on a fold is 0  1st player cannot improve by cal l ing more or folding more
13. 13. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS… (CONT.)  But what happens if 1st player decides to fold more regardless?  Say 2nd player has 200 hands total . 40 value hands and 160 t h a t c a n ’ t b e a t a b l u f f -catcher.  At 50% cal l ing rate, if 2nd player decides to bluf f al l hands, his EV is  EV = (0.2) (0.5) (\$200) + (0.2) (0.5) (\$100) + (0.8) (0.5)(-\$100) + (0.8) (0.5) (\$100) = \$30  This is the exact same EV you got when you bluf fed only 20 combos [EV = (60) (\$100) + (140) (\$0) ]
14. 14. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS… (CONT.)  But now look what happens if you drop the cal l ing rate to 45%  EV of the GTO strategy is sti l l the same (60) (\$100) + (140) (\$0) = \$30.  EV of betting 100% of hands, however, is now  EV = (0.2) (0.45)(\$200) + (0.2) (0.55) (\$100) + (0.8) (0.45)( - \$100) + (0.8) (0.55)(\$100) = \$37  Bluf fing 100% of hands > GTO strategy
15. 15. A FUNNY THING HAPPENS… (CONT.)  When one player deviates even sl ightly from GTO ( i .e. , 50% cal l ing rate to 45% cal l ing rate) , the other player should abandon GTO strategy entirely and pursue 100% counterstrategy ( i .e. , bluf fing with 20/160 combos to bluf fing al l 160 combos)  This change happens immediately. The sl ightest deviation from GTO from an opponent demands a complete shi f t to the counter-strategy.  This is mathematically true even i f cal l ing rate is 49% or 49.9%. The correct strategy against a 49.9% cal l ing rate would be to bluf f 100% of hands.
16. 16. A NEW NOTION OF “BALANCE”  What does this mean? In many, many circumstances, the c o n c e p t o f ma i n t a in in g “ b a la n ce ” i s c omp l e te B S . T h e mo s t unbalanced strategy possible wi l l be the best one.  The trick to this game is to know which side of equi librium GTO strategy your opponent is on at al l times. For this, you must have some sense what the GTO strategy might look l ike.
17. 17. SUMMARY SO FAR  GTO is a theoretically optimal strategy that can be derived mathematically (but that is far, far too complex for 6- or 9- handed NLH for it to be calculated already)  The main reason to understand GTO strategy as a \$2-\$5 player is so that you can know which side (cal l too much/fold too much) of GTO your opponent is on so you can play the appropriate counter-strategy.  You wi l l apply this counter-strategy nearly 100% of the time.
18. 18. A SIMPLE \$2-\$5 EXAMPLE  A relatively loose player raises to \$25 from the cutof f af ter a player l imps. Stacks are \$1,000.  You 3-bet to \$75 from the button. Everyone folds to the raiser, who cal ls. This player you expect to cal l nearly 100% of the time.  He cal led too much. But the problem with cal ling too much early is that it al l but forces you to fold too much on later streets because there are only so many good hands on any board.
19. 19. A SIMPLE \$2-\$5 EXAMPLE (CONT.)  T h e r e’ s \$ 16 2 i n t h e p ot a nd \$ 9 2 5 b e h ind. I f yo u b et \$ 10 0 , \$250, and \$575 on the flop, turn, and river, you wi l l keep your bet size on each street fairly close to 2/3 pot.  I f you bluf f with a 2/3 pot bet, it shows an immediate profit i f you win the pot more than 2/5 = 40% of the time.  Therefore, your opponent must defend at least 60% of hands at each point to deter you from bluf fing 100% of hands.
20. 20. A SIMPLE \$2-\$5 EXAMPLE (CONT.)  I n f a c t , i t ’ s wo r s e t h a n t h a t  You are bluffing with equity in most cases, which means that the break-even point for bluffing is even lower.  Your opponent might raise early in the hand preferentially with the strongest hands. These are the hands he would be most inclined to call all three streets with, and he’s eliminating this possibility by raising them early.
21. 21. A SIMPLE \$2-\$5 EXAMPLE (CONT.)  I ’ ve ma d e t h e mo s t b a s i c Game T h e o r y a r g ument wi t h ex t r eme ly ro u g h c a l c u lati o n s, b u t i t ’ s c l e a r t h a t n o s a n e person wi l l defend frequently enough from this point forward to deter you from bluf fing.  T h e r e fo re , i t ’ s c l e a r o n c e t h e p l aye r c a l l s t h e 3-bet l ight that h e wi l l b e , f rom t h a t p o i n t fo r wa r d , i n t h e “ fo l d to o mu c h ” camp.  You can bluf f 100% of hands (or close to it) .  You should without a doubt bluf f al l hands that have any reasonable equity when cal led.
22. 22. FIRE ALL THREE BARRELS?  So I have shown fairly simply that it must be profitable to bluf f postflop i n t h i s s c e n a r io . B u t t h a t d o e s n ’ t n e c e s s ar ily mean that you should fire al l three barrels.  What i f your opponent folds a ton on the flop and again on the turn?  At that point, he may have a tight and strong enough range to defend against the river bluf f appropriately.  He could even be overdefending against the river bluf f at that point, which swings your counter-strategy to a bluf f percentage of 0%.
23. 23.  GTO a nd ot h e r s t a t i c s t r a tegies ( l i ke i n Po ke r ’ s 1%) a r e NOT THE MOST PROFITABLE way to play \$2- \$ 5 . Do n’ t t r y to p l ay l ive games with these strategies.  The purpose for studying them is so that you can understand which side of the optimal strategy your opponents fal l in various situations.  Then you apply your counter-strategy as aggressively as you can. THE BOTTOM LINE
24. 24.  Re a d my b o o k Po ke r’ s 1%. A g ain t h i s i s NOT a GTO b o o k . Bu t it is a good place to star t i f you are brand new to these ideas.  Matthew Janda  Wi l l Tipton FOR MORE INFO