Friday, August 10, 2012

exploiting GTO

In my previous post I talked about the 2 poker rules to 'triage' your game, now we need to follow up and adapt.

GTO (Game Theory Optimal) is something talked about as a style of play, contrasted by Exploitation of non-GTO play as another style.  But I don't believe there actually is GTO unless you allow there to be.  In order for there to be GTO, your opponent must know what ranges you're playing with (note: I'm not saying what hands you have at any given moment, but what range of hands you have).

Going back to the calling but folding > pot odds so that your opponent should bluff, this is assuming they are bluffing at all.  If they're not, you should never call with bluff catchers because they're losing value to your opponent's made hands.  Similarly, if they would bluff just as much if you never folded, you should call with 100% of your bluff catchers.

Again with your own bluffing, if your opponent never folds, you should never bluff (note: until they change by perhaps folding to all your value bets!).  Similarly, if they will always fold too much, you should only bluff (maybe start calling with your value hands instead since otherwise your opponent will fold to your VBets and you'll make nothing from your made hands; more on this in a moment).

What I'm describing is basically how to exploit a GTO player.  All I said with the 2 rules is that your opponent can't exploit you by their bluffs or bluff catchers.  I never said they couldn't exploit you with their value hands.

Pre-flop is the perfect time to knock a 'GTO' player out of any GTO advantage.  OOP is a commonly recognized scenario when you 3-bet.  If you 3-bet with your top 20% (my recommended range) they may start folding (until they do fold, you profit though).  Once they start folding, start 3-betting your connectors and suited connectors 20% of the time, but not your top 20% anymore.  They'll then be folding to your 'bluffs' (which will sometimes still improve and win you a big pot because your opponent didn't put you on that range).  This argument holds true for the SB open-raise too, but with different % amounts.

Why 20% OOP pre-flop?  Because your opponent cannot effectively call you don't when even 1 paint card comes on the flop (note: top 30% is close, so I'd be ok with that too as desired).  This brings up range shifting.  When you move one hand type from one of your ranges (ex: pre-call, flop bet with draws made from connectors) to another range (ex: 3-bet pre-flop OOP), then what happens to your other range?  Well, in this example, you put your higher value in place of the connectors, and vice versa.  Here's an important concept: they can't be in both places at once.

There are common 'arrangements' of hands, such as connectors in the 3-betting and top 20% in the pre-call range.  There are similarly arrangements post-flop.  My next post will discuss these and more.

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