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Midstakes MTT Discussion and analysis of midstakes MTT strategy

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Old 03-01-2017, 03:11 AM   #51
cicakman
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

Still agree with betgo on balance stuff minus the whining.
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:13 AM   #52
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

yeah I've heard your opinions stranger

and yours too cicak, but what's the case for the negative? your entire argument seems to be that you can't be bothered balancing because it's hard
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Old 03-03-2017, 01:10 AM   #53
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

Say every decent regular knows you have the nuts when you take a certain line. Then you should use that line over and over as a bluff until they catch on that you are doing that. You don't need to balance your play. You balance against the way other people play.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:40 AM   #54
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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Originally Posted by betgo View Post
Say every decent regular knows you have the nuts when you take a certain line. Then you should use that line over and over as a bluff until they catch on that you are doing that. You don't need to balance your play. You balance against the way other people play.
The rule is this, you spot a man's tell, you dont say a ****** word. I finally spotted kgb's, and normally id've let him go on chewin those oreos till he was dead broke...but I dont have that kinda time. Ive only got till morning
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Old 03-03-2017, 04:01 AM   #55
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

And when he knows you're bluffing, you adjust
And when he knows you've adjusted, he adjusts, sometimes
And when you know he's adjusted, you adjust, except for the times he doesn't, but sometimes he didn't adjust the first time and adjusts now, but you've adjusted twice and he's only adjusted once
And when you know that he knows that you know your head just exploded and turned to mush and he's standing on the table laughing as he scoops in your chips

Or you could just play unexploitable balanced lines that avoid this nonsense. because you can only cash in that 'ah-ha i know that you know' chip once, and then it's pure guesswork.

Hence, balancing - that doesn't require your opponent knowing what you have, or when you're playing late stages against a group of players who regardless of skill levels are feelin good and playing levels above how they normally play - is good.

That's the second half of the Doug Polk video you didn't watch. Or maybe you did watch it, but didn't understand what numero uno was talking about.
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Old 03-03-2017, 11:13 AM   #56
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

The higher stakes you play, the less likely it is you're going to find obvious exploits on your opponents. Of course there are weak players at every level, but normally the number of weak players decreases the higher the buy-in.

So IMO, it becomes important that we can implement a balanced strategy that maximizes our EV regardless of opponent. It doesn't mean you don't deviate from that strategy if your opponent has a weakness you can target.

But I think there's a danger in assuming that all players are bad at lower stakes and easily exploitable until proven otherwise. I'd prefer to take the other approach and assume a player is reasonably competent until proven otherwise, unless I have ironclad reads to the contrary.
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Old 03-03-2017, 12:33 PM   #57
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

My point is that you mainly need to balance versus the way most players play. You don't actually have to be balanced, as it is unlikely that MTT opponents have enough information on you to spot when you are unbalanced. If balancing helps you not be readable, that is good I guess. If you are unbalanced in a way that is readable, that is a major leak. However, it isn't necessary to be protecting ranges and so on, even against a good reg in a $100 online MTT, who isn't going to be paying attention to the details of how you play.

In general, you want to represent the opposite, appear strong when weak and weak when strong to paraphrase Sun Tsu. Obviously, you don't want to do that in an obvious way that is a tell. It is important to misrepresent as well as to be balanced. I know balancing is really in now, but I don't see the point in taking it too far in MSMTT.
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Old 03-03-2017, 12:47 PM   #58
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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Originally Posted by jpgiro View Post
So IMO, it becomes important that we can implement a balanced strategy that maximizes our EV regardless of opponent. It doesn't mean you don't deviate from that strategy if your opponent has a weakness you can target.
I'm probably nitpicking, but I don't think the idea of GTO is to maximize our EV (although I get the "regardless of opponent" part, which kind of makes it true). The idea is to minimize (or even nullify) all our opponents' EV against us, by being unexploitable.
Sure, in a vacuum against an unknown player, playing GTO will be EV+. But say we have machines from the future all playing perfect GTO against each other. All machines' EV in the long run will be 0 (well, minus the rake...)
So in order to gain value, we need to exploit something. Playing GTO automatically exploits some of the GTO deviations from our opponents, which is the reason why GTO will be EV+ in a real-life setting. But if playing GTO against a specific opponent is EV+, it automatically means that this opponent is deviating from GTO, thus there are flaws in his game that I can exploit by deviating from GTO myself to be even more EV+, hence really maximizing my value.

Maybe a good image is a sport like soccer. GTO is like the perfect defense. There's no way anyone can score against you. And you just wait for your opponent to make such a big mistake in his defense that you can score yourself, almost by opportunity. But if you actually get out there and exploit your opponents' weaknesses, to the cost of being open to a small vulnerability yourself, you could actually score much faster if you do it right.

I guess some people are thinking that I am high right now :-p
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Old 03-03-2017, 01:23 PM   #59
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

If good regs are all playing balanced and GTO, then why do we have to be balanced? They aren't going to adjust to our play or exploit some inbalance.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:34 PM   #60
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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If good regs are all playing balanced and GTO, then why do we have to be balanced? They aren't going to adjust to our play or exploit some inbalance.
Good regs will always exploit "some imbalance" whether they are "playing balanced" or not. They just won't do it until they see the pattern. And remember that if a "balanced" good reg decides to bluff you because they know you are bluffing they can balance the rest of their bets accordingly. Similarly when they value bet you thin because they know you are weak, they can balance that with checks and/or bluffs at a later time.

The point of playing balanced, as I see it, is twofold:
1) When playing against unknowns you make it difficult for them to take advantage of you. You are optimized against whatever they choose to do. You may show down an individual hand and subsequently their sample size against you will be small. So they may think you play unbalanced in the direction you took. So you have to weigh that against how good you think they are. And if they are good, how good you think they think you are (again with limited sample size). For me this is the choice of playing poker or Rochambeau (Rock, Papers, Scissors)

2) When playing against known good players, you are still making it difficult for them to take advantage of you. But they know this because they are good. And whatever the results of a particular hand it won't change the dynamic against you. As your play is balanced, they will play fewer hands against you. Because you are unexploitable. And you might even hear them say, under their breath, "I never know what you have." At which point you have reduced them to playing Rochambeau and Go Fish. Or more to the point, if they are capable, they will play in a balanced way against you as well. And you might also realize that you do better to play more hands against the inferior players at your table. Or that when you play against balanced players that you need to have consistently better ranges of hands and/or position.

My suspicion is that for you Betgo, if you start playing in a more balanced way, you will catch some regulars off guard and will improve your results. You will see them fold to bluffs in situations where you rarely if ever bluff. And you will see them call you down with losing hands in spots where you used to check or predominantly bluff. That has been true for me in the past two years or so.

I have a feeling (opinion) that very few people play in a truly balanced way. The reason I suspect this is because people talk of ranges on 2+2 as if they can exclude certain hands or include a hand from a range because they have seen it or a lesser hand played. Yet many people given a hand pre-flop in an identical situation may choose to play it or not play it. Or play it differently. Just to mix things up. So ranges aren't a strictly one dimensional list of hands but rather are two dimensional matrices of the hands themselves and the % of time that the hands will be played (in that way)

Last edited by Mr Rick; 03-03-2017 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 03-03-2017, 03:09 PM   #61
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Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

Quote:
Originally Posted by betgo View Post
If good regs are all playing balanced and GTO, then why do we have to be balanced? They aren't going to adjust to our play or exploit some inbalance.

This suggests that you don't really understand what GTO is. If good regs are capable of playing GTO, they'll be 100% unexploitable. This means that any divergence we take from a GTO strategy will be "exploitable" by them (even if they're not consciously making an attempt to exploit us). Over a large sample/infinite number of hands, this will result in us losing chips and them gaining chips. If we're playing GTO also, no one will gain chips.

Last edited by tboneparte; 03-05-2017 at 01:24 AM. Reason: appologies for reiteration of schier's post that I admittedly didn't read 100%
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:34 PM   #62
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

Say you see a good situation to 3-bet bluff, as your opponent is raising light, you have a good hand for it, etc. Do you need to make sure you are balanced in terms of value 3-bets to bluff ratio? No, you mostly need to make sure that typical regs are not unbalanced in this situation. In online MTTs opponents don't know the details of your play that much.

Tbh, as people keep mentioning my game, that is a big strength, being very hard to read. I try to play pretty balanced. I just don't see the point of taking it to an extreme.

Playing balanced is good, but there are many other aspects of being difficult to play against. You definitely want to play your opponent, and without knowledge of the opponent, play a typical opponent of that profile.
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:46 AM   #63
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

Well, yeah. An hour or two on a table with same players might warrant deviation from balancing. But most players will see your gutshot w bdfd the same as 0 equity hands or whatever. That's a good thing.

And this "and without knowledge of the opponent, play a typical opponent of that profile."....?? no, play balanced.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:14 AM   #64
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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Originally Posted by scheier View Post
I'm probably nitpicking, but I don't think the idea of GTO is to maximize our EV (although I get the "regardless of opponent" part, which kind of makes it true). The idea is to minimize (or even nullify) all our opponents' EV against us, by being unexploitable.
Sure, in a vacuum against an unknown player, playing GTO will be EV+. But say we have machines from the future all playing perfect GTO against each other. All machines' EV in the long run will be 0 (well, minus the rake...)
So in order to gain value, we need to exploit something. Playing GTO automatically exploits some of the GTO deviations from our opponents, which is the reason why GTO will be EV+ in a real-life setting. But if playing GTO against a specific opponent is EV+, it automatically means that this opponent is deviating from GTO, thus there are flaws in his game that I can exploit by deviating from GTO myself to be even more EV+, hence really maximizing my value.

Maybe a good image is a sport like soccer. GTO is like the perfect defense. There's no way anyone can score against you. And you just wait for your opponent to make such a big mistake in his defense that you can score yourself, almost by opportunity. But if you actually get out there and exploit your opponents' weaknesses, to the cost of being open to a small vulnerability yourself, you could actually score much faster if you do it right.

I guess some people are thinking that I am high right now :-p
The exploiting is already being done passively by playing closer to GTO than them . The opponents Deviation from gto is what we are exploiting.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:12 AM   #65
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

So if it is the bubble and people tend to play tight, we shouldn't modify our approach to take advantage of that unless we have a big stack and can correctly put ICM pressure on them?

If a big stack is raising light late in a tournament, should we 3-bet or 3-bet shove against him more than against someone who is playing tight?

If there is a situation where a 3-bet looks strong to most opponents, should we exploit it, or just make sure our 3-bet range is balanced between bluffs and value 3-bets by situation?

Why is balancing more important if people don't know your play? I would think that if they are familiar with you play in MTTs it would be more important to be balanced so that you are not readable.

Is this playing balanced just copying the way GTO software would play? The software doesn't understand anything about the players and how people typically play.
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:27 AM   #66
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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The exploiting is already being done passively by playing closer to GTO than them . The opponents Deviation from gto is what we are exploiting.
True! But my point was that once there is a deviation from GTO by our opponent, it implies that there is a more EV+ way to exploit it than "just" playing GTO, and that is what we should consider maximizing EV, I think.

Also, there are situations, typically the push or shove situations, where a non-GTO opponent will not profit you as the pushing player, but profit the rest of the table (while you and villain lose chips compared to GTO, even if you're playing GTO, well especially if you keep playing GTO). Then again, you are entitled to be "the rest of the table" just as often as the rest of the other guys. But for example, if the most GTO-deviating player is one seat to your left and stacks are short, you better adapt your pushing range to his tendencies, otherwise you just don't get your due share of the chips.
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:59 AM   #67
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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True! But my point was that once there is a deviation from GTO by our opponent, it implies that there is a more EV+ way to exploit it than "just" playing GTO, and that is what we should consider maximizing EV, I think.

Also, there are situations, typically the push or shove situations, where a non-GTO opponent will not profit you as the pushing player, but profit the rest of the table (while you and villain lose chips compared to GTO, even if you're playing GTO, well especially if you keep playing GTO). Then again, you are entitled to be "the rest of the table" just as often as the rest of the other guys. But for example, if the most GTO-deviating player is one seat to your left and stacks are short, you better adapt your pushing range to his tendencies, otherwise you just don't get your due share of the chips.
Edit: with chips earlier I mean value
Edit2: if anybody wonders, Kill Everyone explains the concept above much better than I do

There is another (extreme) example of this from the top of my head. There are players who, after a preflop raise/call, flop b/c, turn b/c, river bet, will only raise your river bet with the stone nuts. If there has been raises in previous streets, this is even more likely in msmtt. If you still feel like you have to call the river raise with the appropriate percentage of your river betting range, you are just straight out losing money in situations like that, against a non-GTO opponent.

All this circles back to my first post that GTO is only really meaningful if you adapt your GTO to the opponent. If you play GTO like you should against a GTO machine, first you don't maximise your value (considering your opponents are not playing GTO), second you actually lose money in some spots.
If you consider this, you can come back to the initial OP argument and compromise by saying that adapting to your population, if you consider that it is simpler for you than to find the 43 out of 68 combos of hands from your range that you should call with to a raise in a very specific situation, is a very efficient way to play in today's game (msmtt). Ultimately, if you're getting really good at GTO AND reading your opponent, you absolutely need to pick 61 out of 68 combos against some opponents and 3 out of 68 combos against others... That's how you make money imo and that's why at high-level HU stakes, they analyse their opponents play and adapt their own. If they just play GTO, they're not really going to win anything, given the rake.

Well, that's my two cents.

Last edited by scheier; 03-06-2017 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:49 AM   #68
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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If good regs are all playing balanced and GTO, then why do we have to be balanced? They aren't going to adjust to our play or exploit some inbalance.
Why wouldn't they?
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:47 AM   #69
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

One thing I think is a bit of misconception among people who think like Betgo, is that trying to play GTO, playing balanced, is missing tons of exploitative value. Playing GTO really emphasizes card removal when considering your bluffs and value bets, so your bluffs get through the most and your value bets get called the most (for the right price). This exploits the living hell out of most human beings. Libratus soul crushed some of the top NLHE players, not by trying to outthink what they were doing, but just by patching any exploitative leaks of its own to play unexploitable.

As stated elsewhere in this thread, this style also allows you to win the pot more often than most styles that are trying to exploit (outside of a few rare instances, such as money bubbles or big pay jumps. Although I think if we could have a super computer capable of calculating full-ring bubble play "GTO", taking into account everyone's chips, potential ROI%, it would be very aggressive with a big stack).

GTO gets a little murky full-ring, multi-way, etc. It's not solvable. Collusion does make it so you can play perfect but won't profit. So I think sometimes people overemphasize balance in multiway pots where we do sometimes get to the river with zero bluffs. With our brains I think this will happen often and that's ok, we can still raise the 4th nuts with no bluffs in our range because the other human we are playing won't exploit this. But overall, GTO = $$$.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:31 PM   #70
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

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1. But overall, GTO = $$$.

2. One thing I think is a bit of misconception among people who think like Betgo, is that trying to play GTO, playing balanced, is missing tons of exploitative value.
Agree on 1.

Disagree on 2.
I am not sure at all that I think like betgo, I would need to have a discussion with him for that. I am mostly trying to phrase things in order for everyone to live in peace :-p
But I will state again in a different form again that playing GTO like you should against a GTO machine is less EV+ than adapting your GTO to the opponent's statistics.
I am not saying playing "blind" GTO it is bad! I am not saying it isn't EV++! I do say that you will earn even more money by adapting your numbers to your opponent's numbers.
My previous points were merely to say that playing anywhere close to GTO is very very difficult for some players (well for me it is), so a first, more efficient step, may be to read your opponent.
GTO would then be the next step.
And adapting your GTO play to your opponent reads (a skill that you conveniently got familiar with earlier on the road) would be yet another step.

Edit: UsedToBeGood, your post was very sensible, reasonable and pretty accurate. I'm not trying to pound on you, which I realise my post may give the impression. But I'm just pointing out where I don't agree.
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:02 AM   #71
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

Sorry to kind of necro this thread, but I think it's an interesting and important topic and I have watched the video posted by gregz again and an easy way to express my thought came to me.
There are a few things bugging me in this video, but I get that D. Polk doesn't have time to cover all ground in such a short video, so I won't delve into that. And the video is really good anyways!

Nevertheless, if we go back to the good ol' Rock-Paper-Scissors example.
GTO play in this game is to just completely randomize our play, with a distribution of 1/3-1/3-1/3. That way, no mind games, no levelling, we are completely unexploitable. And I also do agree that while this doesn't net us money in the rock-paper-scissors game, this type of strategy does net us money in a poker game if we can apply it well.

However, if we just know for a fact that our rock-paper-scissors opponent is going to go for scissors 50% of the time (and not adapt in any way to our plays), it would be just stupid not to take that into account! Right?
Those are the assumptions that D. Polk recommends us to throw out the window!

But I still believe that between stats, player population, meta and situation, there are spots where we can make assumptions about our opponent's deviations. And not profiting from them is foolish in my eyes.

And again, in this post I'm actually making the assumption that we are already playing close to GTO and want to win more. (which I don't, I will probably need years before I play as close to GTO as gregz and others, because I don't have the time/courage to work on it enough)
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:44 AM   #72
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Re: Don't understand the importance of balanced ranges in MSMTT

I recently explained my thoughts on GTO on another forum.

I used a line as an example. GTO is the point 0 on this line. We should strive to learn where 0 is on this line. Then as we examine our opponent's try to figure out where they lie in relation to the point 0. If they are making a play at point -2, then by us staying at point 0, we will make profits from him by the amount he is off from point 0. If however, we adjust our strategy to point +1, we can maximize our profits against this player. If we adjust too far, say to point +4, as too much of an over adjustment, we will end up losing money against his strategy.

So it is important to study GTO. It is just as important to study when to deviate and how much to deviate if maximizing your profits is your goal.
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