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Someone mentioned Game theory during the tournament Sunday night. I read a little about it on line until my eyes crossed and my face started twitching.

Best I can tell, Game Theory says poker is a game of incomplete information and thus an imperfect game.

Which is how I play, I don't know all I should and I play imperfectly.

But really, if anyone can 'splan it to me so simple a 6 year old could understand or point me to a link or book (by a poker player) that deals with game theory , that would be awesome.

I'm sure GT is the last piece of the poker puzzle I need that will allow me to go pro (tongue in cheek)

Really just curious.

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## Comments

Probably you're talking about GTO (game theory optimal). You can find plenty of videos on youtube searching for "poker gto". Hope this can help. By the way, I'm trying to learn it as best as I can.

David Sklansky's "The Theory of Poker" is a good introduction to game theory in poker and a must-read for anyone who's serious about the game. Matthew Janda's "Applications of No Limit Hold 'em" goes more in depth, get ready for lots of math. You can't get away from math if you want to examine game theory with any kind of depth.

As I understand it, and I have a very simple mind, GTO for poker basically boils down to playing such that you cannot be easily exploited by your opponents. The practical application of that is balancing your range so that your actions don't reveal your hand strength or your strategy. For example, if a player never limps under the gun with anything but pocket aces, but always limps pocket aces under the gun, observant opponents will eventually catch on and adjust accordingly. Game theory would suggest that such a player should sometimes limp other hands under the gun and sometimes raise pocket aces under the gun. The math comes in when determining an exact frequency for "sometimes."

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here. To take nytider's limped AA example further and apply some simple math to it, we can find a Nash Equilibrium. You could balance always limping only AA with always limping 72o with red 7's. AA combos = 72o red 7 combos as they are six combos each and have roughly the opposite expected value if played. One is approximately 80% and the other is approximately 20% (simplifying the arithmetic). If EV (AA) = 1 - EV (72o), the opponent is indifferent to defending or folding. He must first identify what you are doing and then split defending evenly with folding. If he leans too heavily toward either defending or folding, you are gaining EV. There is nothing he can do to exploit you. All he can do is minimize his own cost. If you execute this limping strategy and he counters with a defending ratio that minimizes his cost, a Nash Equilibrium is achieved.

I am not by any means an expert on either game theory or math. But that seems right to me.

However, as far as application to poker is concerned, I tend to think of this specific situation as falling into the category of not being worth the effort. My point being that, in my view, I am simply not going to get those hands in that position often enough for an observant opponent to realize what I am doing. And even if my opponent does start to defend/fold in a very balanced way, or in an exploitable way for that matter, I then have to go through another exercise in determining how far I want to go with my naked bluff when he does raise me. I can't just fold the 72 every time and re-raise the aces every time.

I try to think more about GTO in terms of the big plays that are made repetitively, like achieving some balance in my C-betting, check-fold, check-call, and check-raise ranges on the flop.

Yeah, this AA and 72o example uses the rhetorical trick of using an extreme hypothetical example to illustrate a point. It's not real-life stuff.

Kaspal - How far along are you with trying to learn GTO? Like yourself, i'm trying to learn it as best I can at the moment, and it seems to be helping me beat KGB's Dungeon (6-Max Cash). You wouldn't fancy sharing thoughts and ideas sometime?

It's 2-3 months I'm trying to learn something more about GTO. I'm watching a series of webinar by three of the best italian cash game players. I'm happy your game had a benefit from studying it. Unfortunately I decided to switch from 6max to spin & go. So at the moment I'm studying a ton of new material about this game. I know GTO can be applied to spin & go too but that part will be object of my study in a second phase. Anyway, if we want to exchange some thoughts about GTO I have nothing to object.