The Benefits of GTO Poker Strategy in Postflop Decisions

gto benefits postflop

5 minutes

Last Updated: November 8, 2021

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In the early days, poker used to be a game where everyone was looking for an edge in exploiting the tendencies of others and outplaying their opponents.

This has all changed a great deal, as many of the world’s best players have switched to a game theory optimal (GTO) strategy, which in theory should make a profit against any player regardless of how they are playing.

The GTO poker strategy offers many benefits to players both before the flop and on every street afterward.

In this article, I will focus on how playing a GTO poker strategy will help you win more on postflop streets, assuming you already know how and why to apply it before the flop.

I will also briefly discuss how and where you can learn how to apply the GTO strategy for all situations you may encounter in poker, especially if you are playing heads-up games.

How to Learn the GTO Poker Strategy?

Most people learn how to play poker in a very simple way by sitting down, learning the basic poker hand rankings, and getting right into the mix.

However, it is important to remember that there is plenty more to poker than just knowing which hand beats which.

GTO poker may not be the most intuitive way to think about the game, but it is a way that cannot be beaten by any exploitative strategy.

In theory, you could learn how to play GTO poker yourself by running your own hands through a poker simulator (known as a solver) and seeing what the computer comes up with, memorizing the various plays in various situations.

However, there are easier ways to become a savvy GTO player, and using GTOBase is one of them. This tool will help you understand GTO and get to solutions faster than you would yourself using a solver.

Learning GTO postflop strategy

In either case, it is important to understand that learning how to play GTO postflop will be a grueling process.

There are simply so many different hands you can have on a variety of different boards, and you will need to learn at least the basic concepts to use in the most common situations that arise.

How GTO Poker Works Postflop

GTO poker strategy before the flop is fairly straightforward. The solver will tell you what hands you should open from which position, which hands make sense as a 3-bet or 4-bet, and which hands you can defend with.

However, once the flop is dealt out, things get significantly more complicated.

At this point, a number of different options and solutions become available, and the GTO solver can help you figure out what the best move is in each spot.

The way it works is that the solver will offer you all the options you can take with each of the hands you are supposed to play before the flop, depending on the flop you are trying to solve.

For example, if you imagine the flop coming Kh Kd Jc and insert this into the solver, it is going to offer you a number of solutions for each possible hand you could have.

While you may expect the computer to offer a simple check, bet, or fold option in each situation, this is not exactly what you will get.

Instead, the solver may suggest that you bet a certain sizing 30% of the time, another sizing 25% of the time, and check your option 45% of the time.

When learning GTO, you will need to learn about checking and betting frequencies and how to use them to balance your range in every given situation.

Why GTO Poker Works Well Postflop

Once the flop is out, you could choose to play the GTO strategy, which will remain the same against all players. Or, you can go for an exploitative one that will change dramatically depending on the opponent you are playing against.

Advantages of GTO poker

Using the GTO strategy in postflop situations will give you an edge in every poker game out there, regardless of who is in the game or what strategy they are applying.

This is exactly the biggest advantage of this strategy, as there is no real way that your opponents can exploit your plays.

By keeping a well-balanced range all the way from preflop to the flop, turn, and river, you are going to get the wanted results more often than not and profit in any kind of a lineup.

Of course, this also means you may miss some opportunities to exploit weaker opponents. This is why deviating from GTO may be beneficial in some scenarios but also detrimental in others.

For all intents and purposes, GTO is the only poker strategy that can truly guarantee a profit in any kind of poker setting and environment. Other players will be making mistakes against it unless everyone is playing a theoretically optimal game.

Can I Really Play GTO Postflop?

Playing a GTO poker strategy is great in theory, but there is only one major problem with it. No-Limit Hold’em is too complicated for a computer to solve completely as there are too many variables in play.

For this reason, any attempt at playing GTO will be only approximate, and the only game in which it will really work all the way is heads up.

Trying to play GTO in a six max is not impossible, as you would need to account for dozens of different variables on every street.

The truth is that no player has the mental capacity to remember all the possible scenarios, bet sizings, and frequencies that could arise in multiway pots.

For this reason, you should really only think about the GTO concepts when playing heads up or when you get the hand down to two players in a poker game while trying to play a theoretically sound but still exploitative game in most other scenarios.

The reason to run the simulations using poker software and learn about different postflop scenarios during your study sessions is the fact you will learn about many important poker concepts this way.

It will help you play a fundamentally better game, regardless of the poker format you eventually end up playing, resulting in better long-term profits.

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