Originally Posted by terryg642
Just stumbled across some videos on you tube on game theory as it applies to poker .Have any of you ever found game theory helpful to your game.
Yes. Game Theory is probably the single most important element in poker.
The misconception that there's an argument to be had about if it is important or if it is not important is mostly because Game Theory is just a name for the math that allows players and analysts to look into complex interactions like the ones that take place at a poker table. Some players "do the math" with intuition. Basically, their brains do a (sometimes only slightly) crappier job of identifying spots that the player may need to take a particular set of actions.
Any player may certainly study or think about the game a little less than someone using advanced mathematics and come out better than his opponent who may not have given particular situations a second thought.
It's kind of like asking does calculus make for a good farmer? Obviously it helps when you're thinking about optimizing fencing placement or irrigation routes, but most farmers can look at the lay of their land and have a fairly good idea of what's going on.
Over time, though, the farmer who "eyeballs" it is going to get pwned by the farmer who crunched the numbers. All else being equal, the number crunching farmer is selling his goods at an effectively higher margin because he has lower upkeep costs on fencing and less energy spent getting water through his irrigation pipes. The same is true for poker. Somebody who eyeballs their frequencies in a spot can certainly do well enough, but without an in depth look at the mathematics of the reasoning, the player is necessarily limited by their own guesses, and guessing exactly right is difficult. Over sufficient time, the farmer or poker player who studies the proper math (Game Theory) will win out.
The counter "argument" is usually something like "Well what about Phil Ivey? Isn't he the best?" There are cases where farmers can eyeball very near to the correct situations for their crops. Ivey is likely a solid corollary in the poker world, but pitted against a Game Theory studying specialist, he might not do so well. For example, in the cap $100k NL games on Full Tilt a few years back, he got lit up. That's because 30bb HU poker is close to solvable with Game Theory as it is many orders of magnitude simpler than multiway deep stacked poker. He sat with specialists in the field and because they knew the math nearly perfectly, no amount of intuition could help him.
The long and short of it all is that math wins out in the long run, but only if it's the right math.