…especially at low stakes
The emergence of solvers and game theory optimal strategies was a real breakthrough in the poker world. The way people think, study and play poker changed drastically. However, when used incorrectly, every tool can do more harm than good. Poker solvers are no exception.
In this article, we'd like to give you a few pieces of advice on how to use solvers' solutions correctly.
However, if you'd like to learn more about the basics of poker GTO and how Deepsolver functions first, check out our other articles:
- Game Theory Optimal. Why should poker players bother with it?
- How to utilize the best GTO poker solver out there. A quick intro to Deepsolver
- What is an optimal poker strategy? Game theory optimal poker vs exploitative approach
Whatever you do, always remember that humans, not machines play poker
Well, at least that's how things should be. Luckily, poker rooms are trying to keep it that way.
Anyway, whenever you use a poker solver, or any poker software for that matter, you have to keep in mind that the solver prepares the best possible strategies for both players. Your real opponents strategy almost never will be a perfect strategy. We're all humans, and while we can strive for perfection in poker, we'll never get there (although the best players in the world are amazingly close).
How to use that knowledge to your advantage?
Be mindful when you study poker hands, starting from the preflop
Whenever you study a hand using a solver, you'll have to double-check any assumptions or data you've input.
Let's say you'd like to analyze a few hands from your recent cash games. You've played them at more or less 100 big blinds, same stakes but versus different opponents. Obviously, crafting every poker strategy starts with preflop ranges. While Deepsolver provides GTO-oriented ranges for hundreds of preflop scenarios, you have to consider that many players won't follow those exact ranges. You'll have to adjust them based on your experience and knowledge of the games you play.
If you have access to a poker HUD, it'll be pretty easy to estimate your opponent's range. Always double-check the default ranges with what you think is natural in a particular situation. If someone plays close to 50% of hands from every position, giving him a GTO UTG range seems unreasonable. The same applies to the range of a very tight player on the button, who'll be unlikely to open as wide as they, in theory, should.
An optimal strategy is borderline impossible to replicate by humans
While regular studying will push you closer and closer towards perfection, you will never be able to come up with a GTO poker strategy for every situation on the spot. It may sound brutally honest, but don't worry. You do not have to play perfectly. You have to play better than your opponents.
Keep in mind that sometimes solvers come up with quite convoluted strategies, which are very hard to memorize, let alone recreate in the game. Do not get overly attached to the solver's initial results. Take a moment to analyze whether your actual opponent could use a strategy that has any similarities to the optimal one.
For example, if you'll ask yourself whether your opponent could raise your continuation bet as wide as the solver suggests, the most likely answer is no. Unless you play high stakes online poker versus excellent players, most of the opponents you face will miss some of the bets and raises suggested by the solver.
That's where two of the Deepsolver's functionalities, Nodelocking and Simplifying, come in very handy. Nodelocking allows you to force the Deepsolver to use a specific strategy for a particular hand, more accurately reflecting what your opponent might be actually doing. It also comes with four preset profiles, speeding up the process. Simplifying, on the other hand, allows you to remove low-frequency bets from the solution for both players. It's a quick way to craft an easy-to-replicate and almost-GTO strategy. You can even run the hand with full five bet sizes on each street, then simplify it to sizings that are most prevalent in the whole game tree.
Do not use the solver's input to justify unnecessary call downs…
The higher stakes you play, especially considering online poker, the better your opponents will be. Against such a competition, a strong understanding of game theory optimal strategy is a must. However, we're aware that most of our readers are low-to-mid stakes players, and their average opponent is far from playing optimal strategy based on poker solvers' output.
You also have to keep that in mind. Even the best poker software won't help your game if you follow its output blindly. In low stakes games, calling down bets on all streets with marginal holdings is often an incorrect decision, as a vast chunk of the player pool is unable to find the bluffs required in such situations. Solvers, given that they seek balance, always find some hands to bluff with and some to bluff catch with, which often will not be the case between two human players.
…or fancy bluffs!
The same goes for picking the right hands to bluff with. We've mentioned that the poker population on low stakes bluff less often than it should. Why is it so? Because the same people are quite sticky with their hands. That's another factor to consider while applying the solvers' work at your everyday poker table. Remember, generally speaking, you make money by getting value from your best hands, and bluffing, while necessary to some degree, should be well thought out.
That's another area where poker solvers come in handy. They will help you identify the absolute best hands to bluff with, which will tremendously develop you as a poker player.
With some practice, it'll be much easier to understand what conditions must be met for the hand to be a strong bluffing candidate. You can't study all the possible situations, but with time, working with solvers will make it easier to see the patterns, which will help you to navigate even in the most obscure spots.
Sometimes, you won't be able to make any sense out of the solver's results. We've got you covered. Whenever you're unsure why Deepsolver recommends you to perform a specific action, you can discuss it with us on our Discord server - our Deepsolver tribe is already over 700 people strong!
Sometimes exploitative strategy is a way to go
The thing with the exploitative strategy is that firstly you must be aware of what the GTO strategy looks like, and then you'll be able to exploit your opponents. That's why you can use the solver's output in your poker games even if you do not play high stakes. If you feel like your opponent under bluffs in certain spots, you can use it to improve your baseline strategy and call less of their bets. If, on the contrary, your opponent continuation bets too much, you can adjust your own strategy in the other way and use solutions to find the best yet not-so-intuitive hands to check-raise.
The more you toy with hands depicting certain situations, the faster you find correlations between their most essential components. Willingness to understand why particular actions take place sets aside great poker players from the rest of the pack.
When used mindfully, the GTO strategy provided by Deepsolver is invaluable
Nowadays, poker solver is the best tool to hone poker skills; there is no doubt about it. Having that in mind, we've created a fast, easy-to-use, and accurate solver - Deepsolver.
You don't have to take our word for it. Try Deepsolver for yourself and sink into the world of GTO poker, now with seven days of free trial!