How does GTO win?

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iLoV3P0ker

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Someone posted rock paper scissors as an example earlier.
If you play GTO in RPS it's impossible to win or lose, you will always break even against any other strategy.

I understand GTO does win in poker when your opponent deviates from it, because poker is much more complicated than RPS.
This somehow feels true, but I don't know why or how this works.

What I don't understand is where GTO makes that profit.

Pre-flop it sorta makes sense, if you play too many hands you'll have to fold, call or bluff too often somewhere in the hand to make up for that.
If you play too few hands you're automatically not claiming some of the pots that you should have.


So let's say we're at a table where everyone plays perfect GTO pre-flop.
Only our imaginary hero players perfect GTO post-flop. The other players are just pressing some random buttons.

Our entire game should be perfectly balanced as to not be exploitable right?

So when we value bet, if villains react to the value bet randomly often enough, shouldn't it balance out in the end?
Same for bluffs?

Some of them will call/fold too often, others will do the opposite.
Won't it just balance out like it does in RPS?

I know the answer to this is no, it won't. But I don't understand why.

How does playing GTO "force" opponents into making mistakes that are not recoverable by another opponent making the opposite mistake?


As an example, say we get to the river and we make a GTO bet, we would do this exactly the same every time we get into this situation (even if it's a mixed strategy, we'd apply the mixed strategy exactly the same every single time in this exact situation)

Let's say it's GTO for our opponent to call 50% of the time and fold 50% of the time.
If one opponents calls 60% of the time but another calls only 40% of the time.
We haven't won anything then right?
The 10% mistake one opponent makes is countered by the opposite 10% mistake of the other opponent.
(Or the same opponent in a different situation.)
It seems like this should eventually just even out, why is this not the case?

Is this example wrong? Or is it just too simple?
Or am I just thinking about this in a completely wrong way?
Or maybe GTO just "exploits" standard human poker by default?
 
Nafor

Nafor

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I think you are over thinking this, but it's good that you are thinking and simply not taking it as granted.

I understand GTO does win in poker when your opponent deviates from it...

This somehow feels true, but I don't know why or how this works.
What I don't understand is where GTO makes that profit.

GTO does not work in all situations. If you are playing against people who call with all kinds of hands, call your raises and make it on the river - well, there is no amount of GTO that can help you.

GTO is only one tool in the pack. It is not more or less important than exploitative play. When you are playing against good players then GTO can help you to (at least) lose less or even win. But even then you should keep your eyes and ears open to study your opponent's weaknesses and exploit them. GTO should never be the only tool in use in our games.
 
cardplayer52

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GTO is break even poker. You don't win or lose. It a poker 'strategy' when employed is unexploitable. This strategy accounts for every possible situation that can happen and the likelyhood of each. I still think we are a good way off until poker is "truly" solved.
I like to think of GTO as the centerline. Players that know where the centerline is can better asses what side of that line a non-GTO player is and can more accurately employ an exploitable strategy making for a higher EV.
So to answer your question you dont win by playing GTO. You win by playing GTO when it's profitable. eg HU with an unknown player. You also win with GTO when you use it to find exploitable spots with higher frequency.
 
NWPatriot

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...Some of them will call/fold too often, others will do the opposite.
Won't it just balance out like it does in RPS?

...Let's say it's GTO for our opponent to call 50% of the time and fold 50% of the time.
If one opponents calls 60% of the time but another calls only 40% of the time.
We haven't won anything then right?
The 10% mistake one opponent makes is countered by the opposite 10% mistake of the other opponent.
(Or the same opponent in a different situation.)
It seems like this should eventually just even out, why is this not the case?

Is this example wrong? Or is it just too simple?...


For this example, I think you need to consider the EV of your particular EV play. In this example, if there are 100 chips available to be won, and GTO says that if we have 80EV when our opponent calls 50% of the time. Our opponent would then have 20EV if they call 50% of the time. When they call 60% of the time, me may lose a little EV if we were betting light, maybe we now have 70EV and they have 30EV. Or if they call 40% of the time, then our EV increases if we were betting light and we now might have 90EV and they have 10EV. The EV does average out, but it doesn't mean that our average EV is now a loss, our EV may just be going up or down a little.

This was all speculative, but it shows that EV is the true measure of our average outcomes. GTO seeks to tell us the best EV scenario, when it knows (assumes) what our opponent will do. It is not seeking a 0EV answer. I used to think this was the case, but it really isn't.

Good luck and God Bless.
 
Alizona

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For me, I view a "perfect GTO poker player" as being impossible to read. I don't think that's is a good definition of GTO play, but this is how I like to imagine it.

As I said in another thread... if players are making notes on you that says something like "CAPABLE OF PLAYING ANY TWO CARDS AT ANY TIME"... well that's like the biggest compliment you can ever receive. :D You have essentially become "un-read-able" at the tables, your opponents will constantly be scratching their heads and literally be unable to decide their best move. I'm not a big GTO person (because I don't put the hard work into my poker game like I should), but the only real response to a player like this is to play perfect GTO poker yourself. At that point, you are dead-even with that other player, and that's the best you can hope to do against these players, break-even... and then it just boils down to the luck factor, which one of you will end up winning during that session.
 
Zapahlohotrona

Zapahlohotrona

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Knowledgeable people from high stakes say that you can not hover your GTO brain at least up to the nl200-nl400 limit. There is no point in playing GTO if your opponent has obvious mistakes. Just don’t worry if you’re not a high roller.
 
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