GTO Poker Solvers in a Nutshell – Expert Tips by Fedor Holz
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The way we study poker has changed a lot over the years, and the introduction of poker solvers was a real game-changer. Solvers are programs that can tell us the best, most optimal play in any given scenario.
You have all the freedom to set up the parameters, and then the solver comes up with the solution.
A solver will tell you what you should do and how often to make a certain choice (at what frequency), completely “solving” any spot we come up with.
Not surprisingly, these programs have had a huge impact on the poker landscape, allowing players to become much more efficient in their studying.
My Approach to Solvers
Like any other tool out there, solvers will only work for you if you know how to use them. This doesn't mean just a technical understanding but also figuring out what approach to studying works best for you.
I like to use solvers to analyze different poker hands I have played and run simulations on them. This is the best way to discover any mistakes and see how you can optimize your play in similar spots in the future.
But, before running a sim, it's always a good idea to first think through the hand yourself again and figure out if you would have done anything differently.
Player images courtesy of PokerGO
Then, we can turn the solver on and see how the output fits our actual play and the potential changes we considered beforehand.
An important point I want to make is that poker shouldn't be just about the grind or learning to do things a certain way every time.
Instead, it's better to make things fun and try to improve our overall thinking process. Try to work with these programs in a way that adds value to you as a player through the process you can actually enjoy!
What Poker Solvers Teach Us?
One big takeaway we can all get from using solvers is just how much we all suck at poker. Most of us think we're pretty good or at least decent, but many players simply set the bar far too low.
You should always question your decisions and analyze your hands after a session. Even if you think you played a “perfect” session, plug some hands into the solver and see what it has to say about it.
What you'll learn is that there is always plenty of room for improvement and so much more EV to be had.
One area where solvers really helped my game was the big blind strategy. I spent a good part of my career playing poorly from this particular position. Working with solvers, I was able to improve a lot, but there is still much more I can do.
There is a lot more to learn about solvers and how you can use them to get better at poker. Check out the video above for some more useful tips and embark on this exciting journey.
You're guaranteed to come out a better player at the other end of it!
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