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Crush Live Poker Video No. 304: To GTO or not GTO

Craig Posts: 745Administrator
On his first video, Ki Lee will discuss GTO. What it is, how it is relevant to live poker, why it is important, and some practical applications for live poker setting.

Episode Posts at 11 AM PST.



  • ZambrotAZambrotA Posts: 372Subscriber
    Great Job Ki!
    Definitely interesting all the GTO and balance approach!!
    Keep It Up Man, i hope more videos from you are coming soon...
    by 1KiLee
  • GonzoPokerGonzoPoker Posts: 38Subscriber
    Thanks the video was very informative I can't wait to hear more from you thanks .
    by 1KiLee
  • BlackBoxEquity Posts: 165Subscriber
    Ki...some questions:

    Hand 2 (Cate 22)
    You put together a range of all the top value hands and best semi-bluffs that could cbet the flop and say it's fairly balanced (with the caveat that in 10/20 you may check back your entire range), but your checking range in that spot would be completely made up of marginal hands and weak draws. Sure the betting range alone is balanced (close to 1:1), but the way you are constructing leaves your checking range completely unprotected.

    Hand 3 (Jesse 76o)
    You say the GTO range would be the 1/3 of hands you construct...but that range has the same exact problem as above.

    by 1KiLee
  • KiLeeKiLee Posts: 266Pro

    Great question. You are 100% correct. In the beginning of the video I did say that we won't go into the perfect GtO solutions but look at Roughly what the balanced strategy might look like. During the hand I used statements like "GTO strategy here is..". I should've made that clear.
    The "optimal" range I presented is not in fact a perfect GTO range, but a "live version" where we strive to be somewhat balanced. If I run this on Pio solver it will have us checking some very strong hands some % of the time and putting some weaker showdown hands in our betting Range some % of the time, where we have all of our strong and weak hands in our betting and checking and check-raising range.
    In fact, even on boards like 832, pio solver pretty much has us checking our ENTIRE range. There is actually a video of this. Obviously in live poker this would be completely unnecessary and even perhaps borderline silly.
    For simplicity and practical purposes, I generated a very simple, rough "balanced" range that is somewhere between being completely unbalanced where we only have value or bluffs, and the computer-perfect balanced strategy that is very difficult to estimate on the table, nor practical.

    Thanks for pointing this out, and my bad for not clarifying it in the video that these were not, in fact, perfect GTO solution.

  • KiLeeKiLee Posts: 266Pro
    So a perfect strategy has us perfectly balanced where our range is uncapped whether we check, bet, or check-raise. Depending on the board I resort to putting the strongest value hands and best semi bluffs in betting range and having some medium showdown value hands(weaker top pair hands or under pairs) and some weaker draws in checking range as the PFR. Yes, that checking range is unprotected and an observant and very aggro opponent can pot 3 times vs me when I check and put me in tough spots. But I do have some hands that's happy to bluff catch in my checking range, so vs most of the population, this strategy suffices. If the villain seems to be putting his foot on the pedal a little bit, I may adjust by expanding my checking range to include stronger hands and/or just calling down more with my weaker SDV hands.
    On extreme board textures sometime I resort to something that is closer to the actual optimal strategy. ESP very static and dry boards like A99 or when we are EP PFR and the board comes out like 567ss. I may elect to check my entire range on boards like this.
  • Dak Posts: 31SubscriberProfessional
    I thought your video was great. Ive spent a lot of time using PIO & poker juice(for PLO). You said - when playing live poker, its important to understand GTO & being balanced because we can exploit the players who are not. We don't have to play balanced if they don't understand GTO & balance.. I was just explaining this same thing to a friend but I couldn't articulate exactly what I meant.. What you said sums it up.. There is no for us to be balanced if the players aren't good enough to exploit us for it.. Ive been punishing a casino player pool for playing to tight & overfolding.. I went through a phase where I tried to balance out my bluffs with "nut" hands but I realized its not needed... They simply aren't exploiting what Im doing.. no need to balance... Look forward to your next video!
  • jzerro Posts: 1Subscriber
    I learned a lot from this, Ki. Great video. Looking forward to the next one. I found the clarification above useful, too.
    by 1KiLee
  • Idlecaillou Posts: 121Subscriber
    Awesome video.
    Not what I expected
    Well spoken and easy to follow.
    Well done!
    by 1KiLee
  • MastaC707 Posts: 95Subscriber
    Really good video. The first hand made me realize I'm losing money by checking back under card turns rather than continuing with my planned double/triple barrel on 823r board types.

    I'll plan on double barreling but check on a 4567 as I've been thinking my turn barrel will be somewhat unsuccessful. As they won't be folding TP. While I still think that is true, I haven't been factoring in the pressure on under pairs to TP by double barreling.

    What would be your suggestion on what to think about on what type of frequency I should double barrel in those spots? Like factors to think about.

    by 1KiLee
  • KiLeeKiLee Posts: 266Pro
    Boards like 4567 are generally pretty bad for double and triple barreling. They usually favor the caller's range, and when we are barreling on these boards, we would have to barrel multiple streets with little or no equity. Most of the times I avoid barreling on boards like 456/567/678 etc. I think we can find much better spots like 823/722/T42, etc These boards don't hit people's playing ranges well and it's dynamic so the top card will often change by the turn or river. We can also easily rep all the over cards.
  • KiLeeKiLee Posts: 266Pro
    In tough games, I don't even have any betting range on boards like 456/567. In very very soft and weak games we can prob get away with betting over pairs and checking everything else.
  • neverlearn2 Posts: 2,862Subscriber
    great video man. good way to explain GTO also love the humor.
    by 1KiLee
  • limpingpunch Posts: 3Subscriber
    Great video ki. It make me curious what will be the next topic. If possible, could you deal with more about dynamic and static board situation? I think it is very important topic yet unclear for most of people.
    by 1KiLee
  • KiLeeKiLee Posts: 266Pro
    Limpingpunch, thank you. I'm actually working on a multi-part series on preflop fundamentals. But I will definitely consider covering dynamic vs static board textures on future videos once in done with the preflop videos.
  • MastaC707 Posts: 95Subscriber
    KiLee said:
    Boards like 4567 are generally pretty bad for double and triple barreling. They usually favor the caller's range, and when we are barreling on these boards, we would have to barrel multiple streets with little or no equity. Most of the times I avoid barreling on boards like 456/567/678 etc. I think we can find much better spots like 823/722/T42, etc These boards don't hit people's playing ranges well and it's dynamic so the top card will often change by the turn or river. We can also easily rep all the over cards.
    I was saying an 823 flop with a turn card of 4567. Not a flop of 456, etc.

  • KiLeeKiLee Posts: 266Pro
    Thanks for the clarification. I misunderstood the question. turn cards between 3 and 8 are not exactly the "BEST" for us to double barrel, but often what happens is that the villain picks up a straight draw with his pair and will call the turn and fold the river. So it's a double-edged sword. When the villain makes 2 pairs with 34 or 87 or make a straight, we are going to lose some money. But when the villain only picks up a SD to go along with his pair, we are going to win more money if we follow through with a nice river barrel. There is nothing wrong with choosing to give up in these "marginal spots," but I also like factoring in additional variables in spots like this (live reads, villain tendencies) to swing my decision one way or another. It's hard to assign a specific frequency at which we should be barreling here.
  • MastaC707 Posts: 95Subscriber
    Thanks for the reply. I figured it would fall under the it depends area. It's a really interesting topic. And a little work off the table goes a long way on the table.
    by 1KiLee
  • ls1t56 Posts: 4Subscriber

    Awesome video!!!
    It completely blown me away!
    I never knew how to use poker cruncher in such way.
    It might be too much math for some players but it really help me to begin to understand level 2.

    BTW, have you teach before? if not you are doing a amazing job (at least for me)!
    I am sure you put many hours to make this video.
  • TrevorKirklandTrevorKirkland Posts: 13Subscriber
    Awesome content! This is exactly what I been needing in my life lately. The use of GTO mixed in with an exploitive strategy and reasons why its necessary in the live setting to have knowledge of both is so key these days. You did a great job at explaining the basic reasons as to how to use both exploitive and GTO. The use of tennis and the white lines being out of bounds really sunk in as how it relates to GTO. Thank you! Also... I try to use poker cruncher a lot myself, and would appreciate some more use of that application in future videos because poker cruncher can get a bit overwhelming at times which in turn causes me to shy away from it. Thanks
  • FreeLunch Posts: 1,310Pro
    Well done. Good video. And to be honest, I did not have high expectations as there is a lot of really badly done GTO stuff out there, but you obviously have not only studied the material well, but you seem to have thought about how to teach others well.

    I liked that you defined your terms early, but would like to suggest one use of term that should not be used as equivalent to equilibrium, both becuase in my experience its confusing for students, and also because its not syntactically accurate.

    I'm getting at the term "balance" used as a synonym for equilibrium. I know you are adapting and using commonly used vernacular, but there is a reason why in math and in the better poker theory books the word balance is not used as = equilibrium.

    There are bunch of problems with the term balance. First of all, there are lots of ways to use balance in exploitative play. All good exploitative (not GTO) players use balance in many aspects of their strategy. The term therefore is also used in a lot of non GTO poker literature to mean something other than balance=GTO. At its core - balance is a technique and may or not be an outcome. For example. A basic cbet bluff by a exploitative player who picks his bluff frequency to maximize exploitative profit instead of equilibrium is still using a balanced strategy - just balancing for a different goal.

    Balance - when the goal is GTO, is also an incomplete term since it also needs to be coupled with the right frequencies. Since we can balance for reasons other than GTO, what makes a strategy a GTO strategy is only when the balance also has the right frequencies. There are shortcut terms like "at a balanced frequency" that attempt to combine those terms, but that phrase does not make sense given that its possible and even desirable to be balanced for reasons other than GTO.

    Furthermore, not all GTO solutions require any balance, or at least the frequency is 100%. The easy example is when you are in position with the nuts on the river. You bet 100% of the time. No balance needed and that is the GTO solution. There are plenty of other times where the GTO solution is not balanced.

    The term balance is also not well suited for some of the other aspects of understanding GTO - like the existence of multiple equilibriums for one problem.

    Another potential source of confusion comes from how we use range construction to approximate a real solution but I think that is too heavy a topic to do justice to here.

    You may disagree, but I think your hand exampleS show my point. I view your analysis as a description of how to use balance for an exploitative strategy. Your premise in the analysis is that you are exploiting the preflop ranges of the villain - that is you are assuming the villain did not have a GTO preflop strategy. You are also assuming that your actions postflop will not be responded to by the villain with a non exploitive counter strategy. FWIW its not clear at all what the GTO bluffing percentage would be on the flop as flop play GTO calculations are a lot more complicated then most understand.

    I fully admit I am swimming against the tide with my goals of encouraging people to not use balance=equilibrium, and I dont really expect to make a dent in the way its used, but I do think it makes it easier for students to understand, especially if they want to go to more complicated problems if the terms are kept separate.

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