Archive for the ‘Poker Strategy’ Category

Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

We already covered the advantages of GTO strategy in my previous blog, but in order to get the most of this concept, you need to understand the limitations of this approach as well. Therefore, let us cover a few disadvantages that this strategy can bring to the table.

  • It does not maximize your winnings

Even though it is a very good strategy to use as your starting point, GTO play will not maximize your winnings. When you spot your opponents making mistakes, you want to do all you can to extract money from them and, therefore, deviate from GTO play.

  • It’s not optimal vs. weak players

Let’s take an extreme example. If your opponent folds to your c-bet every single time, you should be c-betting all your bluffs and trapping with your strong hands. According to GTO strategy, however, you should still be balancing your range. Obviously, if you know your opponent’s tendencies, it makes no sense to do that. You would have to take the most profitable line and bet all your bluffs even if this would not theoretically be the optimal play in general.

Weak players will be making plenty of mistakes, so your goal is to act on them. GTO strategy is not the best strategy in this case, and you will win much more with an exploitative approach.

  • Implementing GTO incorrectly will cost you money

It is very dangerous to implement GTO strategy incorrectly if you do not have enough practice. Especially if you are just starting out in poker, you should learn the basics and find some advanced poker training based on your preferred format to help you master the game.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read through all of the advantages and disadvantages of game theory optimal strategy, the next step is actually putting the theory into practice. Remember, poker is not a solved game yet, so there’s no person out there who is perfectly employing GTO play. However, you can get very close to it by learning the fundamentals.

Understanding both GTO and the exploitative approach will greatly improve your game and give you the results you’re striving to achieve at the poker tables. So, take your time to study and always choose the best strategies based on your opponents.

 

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Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

Sometimes I feel that GTO poker strategy is almost a myth. Many players are not exactly sure what it means and, more importantly, when to implement it to achieve good results. Without going into complex explanations, I will try to define it in a very simple way.

GTO strategy shows how to balance your range and your value hands-to-bluffs ratio in a way that no one can exploit you. If you can execute GTO play most of the time, you are guaranteed to at least break even against the best players in the world.

GTO Poker Strategy

Therefore, your best bet is to learn GTO fundamentals and use those against very good or unknown players. So let’s figure out what advantages GTO play has and how you can improve your poker stats.

GTO Advantages

The reason top poker players utilize GTO play is that it carries some distinct advantages, namely:

• You’re guaranteed not to lose money

Using GTO play practically guarantees that you will not lose money even against the strongest players in your games. This is obviously a huge benefit and, if implemented correctly, could make you a very tough player. It is probably one of the greatest advantages of GTO play because not many other strategies can help you play profitably against excellent players.

• It’s great against good regulars

Game theory optimal is the best strategy to use when playing against top-level competition. First off, these opponents are not going to be making huge mistakes, so you will have very few chances to exploit them. Most of the time, irregularities in their game accrue because of the variance in their hole card distribution and, if you don’t stick to GTO strategy, you could end up making adjustments that will hurt you.

Moreover, if you drastically change your game to try and exploit someone, that makes you easily exploitable yourself. Obviously, good players will spot this very quickly and make you pay for it.

Using GTO strategy, you will be able to play even against the toughest opponents who try to exploit you. If you can balance your ranges, it’s only a matter of time until your opponents start making mistakes. Thus, it gives you a reliable way to win even against better players.

• It’s the best strategy against unknowns

Just as you are not able to exploit top regulars because they don’t make big mistakes, you are not able to exploit unknowns because you have no idea how they play. So, if you find yourself playing against new players (or at anonymous tables online), GTO is the best strategy to give you an edge over your competition.

• It’s perfect when you are not sure of the proper play to make

When you’re not sure of the right play to make in a particular situation, trying to balance your ranges is the best option and it ought to be your priority. It does not matter whether you are playing against a tough opponent or recreational player.

For example, if you’re considering betting the river as a bluff and are not sure if this is profitable because you don’t know how that player plays in this spot, simply balance your range, choose value-to-bluff ratio according to your bet size, and you are good to go. If you choose another route, you’ll have to guess what tendencies your opponent has and you can easily end up making the wrong decision. Thus, GTO play gives you a huge advantage in this spot and lets you make the most profitable play without making unreasonable assumptions about your opponent.

• Learning GTO can help you find ways to exploit your opponents

Even though GTO strategy is intended to help balance your own ranges, it allows you to exploit other players as well.When you know how a balanced range looks, it is much easier to spot deviations from it in your opponent’s game. Once you spot them, you can attack them. This alone can help you improve your game and considerably increase your win rate.

Conclusion
Now that you’ve read through all of the advantages the next step is to figure out why this approach is not always the answer, and I will cover that in my next article.

For now, remember that GTO strategy will help you make the best decision when you have no information about your opponents or are unsure how to exploit them. Stick to this strategy at the beginning and move to exploitative play only when you see massive leaks in your opponent’s play.

Texas Poker Store Nighthawk Poker TableLearn and practice GTO every time you take a seat at a poker table and your results will improve.

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Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

Learning poker strategy, improving skills and mastering advanced topics is always rewarding and beneficial. However, many players forget that they are not playing alone and leave their good manners at home.

It is becoming a problem in online casinos, but even more so in live games. Now, when the whole poker environment is struggling to build the traction it had before, it is more important than ever.  That’s why it’s so vital to follow some etiquette rules, help new players feel welcome in the game and have some fun.

The following are some poker etiquette pointers to always consider.

Be friendly

Being friendly is especially crucial when encountering new players, who are likely just trying to have fun at the tables. It does not matter if they play badly, make random decisions, call your bluff when they should have folded or do anything else you do not like. You have no right to be rude or berate anyone just because they are inexperienced or play differently. To be honest, you should not do that in any case.

Firstly, you can scare them away or make them feel stupid and wind up discouraging them from playing poker at all. Obviously, this is a disastrous result for you and the entire poker community. It is enough that new players have a huge strategic disadvantage and lose their money at a fast pace; you should never make them feel bad about it.

Instead, try to be polite and open up conversations when you are playing. Have fun and make others feel good in your games.

Do not disturb other players

If you are not in the current hand, talking is almost forbidden. Obviously, you can speak with another player who is not in the hand as well, but that is just rude. You are undoubtedly disturbing players who are thinking about the hand and making their decisions harder. Would you like to hear someone sitting next to you chatting all the time when you’re trying to figure out what to do? Guess not, so do not do it to others!

Moreover, even if someone asks about the hand while it is still live, you should never say your opinion, how you would play it, or even worse, what you had. Saying any of these things while not playing can give away information to others and influence the outcome of the hand. Thus, whatever happens, do not comment on the hand while others are still playing it. If you want to say something, wait until the hand is over.

Pay attention and act in turn

Nothing is more annoying than someone consistently misreading the action and wasting valuable time at the table. If you are not able to see what is going on, or pay attention because you’re  listening to music or browsing your phone, then stop doing that. No matter where you are in a hand, you should know what happened before and when it is your turn to act. Otherwise, everyone ends up playing fewer hands just because of you.

Another crucial point is acting in turn. Even if you have a trashy hand that you are ready to muck, never do it before it is your time. It can easily give an unfair advantage to the players who are sitting before you and is considered one of the worst things you can do at a poker table.

Never slow roll

Here we have it, the most unethical, rude and disrespectful action – slow rolling. If you take away just one thing from this article, I hope it will be this one – never do it.

If you have a winning hand at the showdown, just show it. You should never tease other players and let them think that you lost when it is not the case. Moreover, you should never say anything misleading, making your opponent believe he won when you have the nuts. Just be a gentleman and play in a straightforward and fair way.

Although it’s still done occasionally by some players, I cannot think of any situation where slow rolling is ok, so avoid it at all cost or this might happen to you.

Summing it up

Playing straightforward and in a good manner will help you build a good table image, and you can easily take advantage of that. All weaker players will be more willing to play a hand with you than with someone who is rude or unpleasant, and that is how you can drastically increase your win rate.

Always remember that you are not playing alone and if you can make other players feel welcomed in the game, you will have a chance to get the best out of it!

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Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

Variance, which frustrates many poker players, can be thought of as “the difference between the earnings you expect to have long term and the money you win in the short term.” And, despite the complaints you might hear, variance is really a good thing; it’s what keeps weaker players at the poker tables with dreams of winning big. Obviously, they wouldn’t be playing at all without believing they have a chance to get lucky and win in the short term, so we need to understand that and use it to our advantage.

Your win rate is by far the most important factor when determining your variance and the higher it is, the lower your variance will be. Of course, these days we have much smaller edges than before and naturally encounter bigger down swings. Your opponents get tougher and tougher as well, so it’s important to keep learning, studying and improving your game to stay ahead of the curve and improve your win rate. Nevertheless, there are also some common sense tips to reduce your variance.

For example, table selection is a critical factor that is overlooked by many. Finding good cash game tables or carefully selecting your tournaments, whether live or online, could dramatically increase your win rate, and I am sure you agree that winning is fun!

Obviously, I am not saying you should be chasing around weak players and playing only against them. Nevertheless, playing in the games where you can barely win is not very reasonable either. Do yourself a favor and, for the most part, select good games – it is the only way to win in the long run!

Another tip is to try to play your “A” game, regardless of the skill level of the other players. Of course, no one can play their “A” game all the time, and it is unrealistic to expect that. Nevertheless, you should do all you can to play it as often as possible because the difference in results you have playing “A” vs. “C” games is enormous.

It inevitably requires some off-the-table work and generally correlates with your ability to control your emotions, prepare for your sessions and keep your concentration for an extended period. It is an essential part of reducing variance and winning more. However, it is a broad topic, and if you want to learn more, I highly recommend getting my free poker book on self-management and improve your awareness with it.

A third tip is to quit playing at the right time. Everyone has been in a spot where they won money just to lose it back later. It is frustrating, but part of the game. However, if you start making poor decisions because of other distractions, or your emotions, it’s probably time to stop playing.

So, if you start losing your ability to concentrate, or you’re on tilt because of a bad beat and can’t focus your attention on playing – you should take a break. This way you will save a lot of valuable buy-ins and surely increase your win rate.

If you follow these tips and incorporate them into your approach to poker, you will probably increase your win rate and reduce your variance at the same time.

In the meantime, you must study your game, keep learning and analyzing your mistakes and improving, maybe even get some poker coaching to skyrocket your results. I will be back soon to share more strategy tips with you!

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