How to use Game Theory Optimal in Poker?

How to use Game Theory Optimal in Poker?

Table of content:

What is Game Theory?

Game Theory can be best understood by the example, The Prisoner’s Dilemma. In this example, two people are arrested together for committing a crime. They are both whisked off to separate interrogation rooms and are told to start talking and admit to the crime or frame the other person for the crime. The punishment for not doing so is going to jail. The catch here is that if no person talks to the police, they both get off with light punishments and sentences due to lack of evidence. If one prisoner snitches on the other, the prisoner that snitched gets off scot free while the prisoner who was snitched on goes to prison with a very harsh sentence.

If both the prisoners snitch on each other, they both go to prison with very harsh sentences because they both have testimonies against them. This is the prisoner’s dilemma. They can choose to take the first way out without snitching on each other and get off with light sentences or, they can snitch on the other person and get off scot free. This example shows us that in an environment where two people can take advantage of each other, there are less chances of there being a collaborative alliance between them.

What is Game Theory Optimal in poker?

Poker Theory, GTO Poker or Game Theory Optimal Poker is very similar to the example, The Prisoner’s Dilemma that is mentioned above. In the terms of poker, we can look at this with the example of two players playing against each other in a game. This is called the Bubble Dilemma. It is called the Bubble Dilemma because every player benefits in the game from any confrontation that can lead to the elimination of a player. This confrontation does not affect players with huge stacks of chips as they can contribute as much as they want to the confrontation to eliminate the other player without bursting their poker bubble and getting eliminated themselves.

By taking part in these confrontations, the players are doing nothing but hurting themselves by contributing to the pot in the name of eliminating their opponents. Just like the prisoner’s dilemma, in this example also, the players are not willing to agree to a collaborative alliance because of the competitive environment. Poker players react to how their opponents play and how they make their moves. It is very typical of a poker player to change their strategies and play with a more aggressive stance instead of playing with a slightly relaxed stance in reaction to how their opponents are making their moves.

Every poker player has a strategy that they try to implement from the get go in a game of Poker. Every poker player tries to make out their opponent’s strategy taking into account the cards that have been dealt and the moves that have been made. This is what GTO poker and Poker Theory are about. They are about Playing the man to win the game.

GTO Poker Strategies

·  The first GTO Poker and Poker theory strategy to use is about starting hands. This strategy in poker theory is about starting hands should be played in tandem with the positions a player is sitting at. Players having the best hands have the highest chances of winning the game. Also, players sitting at the best positions can leverage those positions into winning the game with their different bluffing strategies. It is not important to have the strongest hand pre-flop in any game. The best hand to have a very balanced hand. This helps you create a strong poker hand post-flop.  Different positions have different types of pre-flop hand combinations that can be used to make the best hand combinations in the end to win the game.

·  The second GTO Poker and Poker theory strategy to use is calculating pot odds. Constantly calculating pot odds is very important as a poker player. This is because players should know what their winning chances are with every bet and move that they make. Calculating the pot odds is very easy. One simple formula is all you need. That formula is-

With this formula we get the pot odds for the game after a move.

·  The third GTO Poker and Poker theory strategy to use to win a game is using the Minimum Defence Frequency. This is a concept referring to the percentage of hands that a player should play with to win and not get tackled by their opponents. Unfortunately, this strategy is a little hard to use during a game but is an excellent strategy to use to improve your decision making abilities and improve your game. The formula to calculate MDF is-

·  The fourth GTO Poker and Poker theory strategy to use is the strategy of finding the balance in the bet sizes. This poker theory strategy talks about the balance between the bluffs and the valuable bets that a player makes. If a player does not adhere to this strategy, there is a good chance that they lose the game along with their money. This strategy mostly applies to the river as bluffing on the river is particularly tricky and hard. A player’s bluffs should be perfectly timed and the bets should be perfectly calculated for the opponents to be put in a tough spot.

·  The fifth GTO Poker and Poker theory strategy to use is the strategy of betting frequencies. All the players tend to observe their opponents while locked in a game of poker. This is because GTO Poker and Poker Theory talk about playing the man. The best way to play the man is to observe them play and then make your move. Watching your betting frequency is very important in poker as it shows how good your cards are. If your cards are good then you tend to bet more and if your cards are bad, you tend to wither or fold or bet low and less. Maintaining a healthy combination of both with a good betting frequency can help you win games faster and more.

Now you know a lot about GTO Poker and Theory. Apply your skills by downloading the GetMega Poker app and playing poker with your friends!

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