GTO Strategies :What is GTO in Poker?

Strategies :What is GTO in ?Welcome, aspiring players! Game Theory Optimal (GTO) is a term frequently mentioned in poker. But what exactly is GTO? Why is it so important? And what makes it “optimal”?

Introduction to Game Theory

In poker, GTO refers to Game Theory Optimal. It stems from the mathematical study of strategy interactions proposed by mathematician John Nash. Over the past few years, its application has shaped the development of . Therefore, to win high-stakes poker tournaments, players must arm themselves with knowledge of GTO principles.

“When people discuss GTO poker strategy, they refer to Nash Equilibrium strategies.”

Nash Equilibrium strategies are optimal because they cannot be exploited. All players cannot increase their by changing their own strategies. These strategies can also be described as “balanced.”

Considering each player's possible hole card combinations, potential bet sizes, and subsequent possible card distributions, no-limit Texas Hold'em is a vast game. It is practically impossible for us to manually deduce unexploitable strategies due to its sheer complexity. However, with the availability of poker software today, we can delve into GTO poker strategy.

GTO Strategies :What is GTO in Poker?

How to Find GTO Strategies

With “solver” software, we can design and run simulations to gather data on GTO strategies.

Solvers are powerful computer programs that take the following values as input:

  • Preflop ranges for both players
  • Community cards
  • Target level of exploitability (accuracy)
  • Initial pot size and chip depth
  • Post-flop structures

Since the possibilities for bet sizes are nearly infinite while computer capabilities are limited, you must select a betting structure to provide the solver with enough strategic options to produce meaningful output.

Input Parameters in the Solver

Once the simulation parameters are constructed, the solver iterates strategies for each player repeatedly. Players take turns exploiting each other until neither player's strategy can exploit the other. At this point, we have found the GTO strategy.

The dynamic process of finding the GTO strategy between the button (advantageous position) and the blinds (disadvantaged position) is depicted in the figure below.

Initially, when both players are experimenting with new ideas, there are significant changes in strategies! The closer to balance, the smaller the magnitude of strategy changes, until reaching a point where neither player can exploit the other by changing strategies. This animation is approximately 120 times the actual speed.

Dynamic Process to Reach Equilibrium. The strategy of the player in the disadvantaged position facing a 75% bet.

The Dilemma: Choosing GTO Strategy or Exploitative Strategy?

You may have heard of players being referred to as “exploitative” or “GTO” players. In reality, these two strategies are more like two sides of the same coin rather than opposing viewpoints.

If you don't know what the Game Theory Optimal looks like, how do you know if you are exploiting your opponents or if you are being exploited by them? With a deep understanding of GTO strategy, you can play an invincible default strategy and accurately identify opponents' mistakes.

Poker software like GTO Wizard provides all post-flop strategies and summary reports, making it a great tool for studying GTO strategy.

By observing the data generated by the solver summarized by GTO Wizard, we can understand how GTO strategies use mixed strategies, different bet sizes, and balanced ranges in various situations. GTO Wizard provides tools to understand the preferences for different bet sizes for each hand in different situations, as well as how to mix different hands into different bet sizes or more passive strategies for balance and deception. Studying these strategies and reports will greatly help train your GTO intuition.

Why Should You Improve Your Strategy by Studying GTO Strategies?

So, how does honing your GTO intuition help exploit opponents?

Even when using GTO strategy, there are often cases of asymmetrical ranges, allowing players to take seemingly extreme actions. Here are some classic examples:

  • Betting over pot size to attack capped ranges.
  • Bluffing with all air cards when facing opponents' “give-up” policies.
  • Folding all bluff-catching hands when opponents' ranges do not contain enough hands compatible with the chosen bet sizes.

If you know what your opponent's range should look like, how they deviate from balance, and understand how the solver attacks similar asymmetric ranges in other situations, that's enough to exploit unbalanced opponents.

In summary:

  • GTO can help you understand the baseline strategy.
  • Once you understand this baseline, you'll know when to exploit and how to exploit opponents' mistakes.
  • GTO achieves an unexploitable balanced strategy through Nash Equilibrium.
  • GTO generates powerful strategies without relying on reads or intuition.

A deep understanding of GTO forms the foundation for adapting to any situation in a game and maximizing your win rate. Overall, through GTO Wizard, you can find an invincible default strategy and develop robust counter-strategies after identifying opponents' mistakes.

Scroll to Top