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Old 06-15-2021, 06:08 PM   #51
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Originally Posted by zinzir View Post
33% is not the best strategy, it is just the safest strategy against a player of superior skill, and, as we both agree, a losing strategy if rake is applied.

If you watched two brothers playing RPS you would notice that one of them crushes the other almost every time, and would be a consistent winner even with rake. He does that by exploiting his brother's tendencies, not by using the 33% strategy.

Poker is vastly more complex than RPS, but if the 33% example is a simplified version of GTO strategy, it raises a question about the much advertised GTO profitability claims IMHO. Not based on GTO knowledge which I don't even have, just on simple logic and common sense.

I am not by any means questioning the value of studying GTO here, just the ubiquitous claims on internet poker forums that "GTO is all you need to be profitable". GTO knowledge is a great tool in one's arsenal, but far for being enough by itself, that's what I personally understand from the RPS 33% example.
I've never seen a single person on the internet say you should only try to play GTO
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Old 06-15-2021, 06:11 PM   #52
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Let's assume that your statements are correct. Who has more knowledge and could play closer to GTO than the game theorists who created and are perfecting it? Everyone else is a step behind.

If GTO knowledge "in and by itself" would make one a huge winner, how come that the game theorists are not crushing the high stakes games in Vegas? Are they not allowed to play or don't they like money? How come the final table at the WSOP Main Event is not full of game theorists?
Nope, Game theorists aren't the ones who can play closest to GTO, the same way a given sport coach isn't necessarily one of the best players. People who grind solvers for hours on end every day are, and they are the ones crushing high stakes at Vegas and everywhere else.
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Old 06-15-2021, 06:32 PM   #53
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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I've never seen a single person on the internet say you should only try to play GTO
Here is one quote from a post in this thread, on page two: "Playing anywhere near decent GTO will make you a huge winner in nearly every poker game.
In and by itself, no questions asked".

However, I suspect my problem is the following: since I do not understand how GTO works, I might take statements like that at face value while they might not be meant to be interpreted literally, and that's why it does not make sense to me. I have posted a new thread under "Beginner Questions" entitled "Question about GTO". When you have the time, could you please read it and tell me what you think? It would be very helpful to me, and I thank you in advance.
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Old 06-15-2021, 06:34 PM   #54
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Originally Posted by zinzir View Post
Here is one quote from a post in this thread, on page two: "Playing anywhere near decent GTO will make you a huge winner in nearly every poker game.
In and by itself, no questions asked".

However, I suspect my problem is the following: since I do not understand how GTO works, I might take statements like that at face value while they might not be meant to be interpreted literally, and that's why it does not make sense to me. I have posted a new thread under "Beginner Questions" entitled "Question about GTO". When you have the time, could you please read it and tell me what you think? It would be very helpful to me, and I thank you in advance.
That quote is true. He is not saying you should do that.
Humans can't play close to GTO and never will

There is the descriptive statement that GTO beats every human to a pulp, that's just a fact.
And then there is the prescriptive statement that you should only focus on playing as close to GTO as you can and ignore everything else, which I've never seen anyone say.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:48 PM   #55
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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That quote is true. He is not saying you should do that.
Humans can't play close to GTO and never will

There is the descriptive statement that GTO beats every human to a pulp, that's just a fact.
And then there is the prescriptive statement that you should only focus on playing as close to GTO as you can and ignore everything else, which I've never seen anyone say.
Well that was the problem. I understood the above quote and other similar ones as a claim that playing close to GTO is perfectly achievable and assumed there were players doing it already.

When you say GTO beats every human to a pulp, do you mean a computer with software that has incorporated only the GTO library or the GTO library on top of all the other poker moves available?
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:20 PM   #56
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Well that was the problem. I understood the above quote and other similar ones as a claim that playing close to GTO is perfectly achievable and assumed there were players doing it already.

When you say GTO beats every human to a pulp, do you mean a computer with software that has incorporated only the GTO library or the GTO library on top of all the other poker moves available?
The "GTO library" alone would beat every single person.

I don't understand what you mean by other moves available
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:44 PM   #57
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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I don't understand what you mean by other moves available
Sorry, never mind. I kind of remembered that you said in my beginners thread: "GTO: Every aspect of a strategy that uses its range composition to deceive Villain from knowing the hand we're holding.
Things like using the same sizing with certain parts of your betting range on a given spot, being careful to neither bluff too much nor too little, being careful to not station nor overfold... ", and I was thinking the computer cannot win by doing only that, but now when I went back, I read your statement on top of that and got it, the library contains all the moves from the simulations, not just the ones categorized as GTO-type. Thank you for all your help!

Last edited by zinzir; 06-15-2021 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 06-17-2021, 07:02 PM   #58
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

i post this in basically every thread but think of GTO in poker like Chess rather than RPS. The difference is chess doesn't have mixed frequencies, however the similarities are that it is extremely complicated, too complicated for any human, but anyone who can play close to it will crush
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:12 AM   #59
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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i post this in basically every thread but think of GTO in poker like Chess rather than RPS. The difference is chess doesn't have mixed frequencies, however the similarities are that it is extremely complicated, too complicated for any human, but anyone who can play close to it will crush
Wouldn't chess GTO still have different openings available?
Could call that mixed strategy.
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:21 AM   #60
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Wouldn't chess GTO still have different openings available?
Could call that mixed strategy.
Probably no. I imagine as computers get better it would eventually converge into one opening having slightly higher EV than others.

Even if there were multiple max EV openings, it wouldn't really be a mixed strategy in the same sense that poker is, because every game in chess is completely independent while in poker, ranges are determined by how you play multiple hands
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:54 AM   #61
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

There's no "higher EV" in chess GTO in that sense, it's purely deterministic. Any given position either results in a win, a loss or a draw for white if both players play perfectly from that point forward. It's just one single outcome 100% of the time.

If there is any opening that can force a win with white then all openings that can force a win with white (against a perfect opponent) are also GTO and any mixture of these openings is also GTO.
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:56 AM   #62
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

Ya there are no are mixed strategies unless its like "ok if i choose option A, its a draw, and if i choose option B, its a draw" and the computer random picks one in that case

There is no imperfect information like in poker so it is unnecessary to have mixed strategy
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:01 AM   #63
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

I know very little of chess, I'm probably like a 900 elo player (since I basically almost never play)

I do like reading about it though, currently reading a biography on Magnus Carlsen.

From what I understand there are hundreds if not thousands of openings available to the currently top rated human players.

I'd imagine at least a few of those, if not quite a lot, would be capable of forcing a win with white in a GTO match.
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:06 AM   #64
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

Isn't GTO in poker mixing just as a result of each specific hands EV?

I know GTO doesn't try to balance.
The balancing (mixing?) just results from playing each hand at it's maximum EV, knowing your opponent knows exactly how you will play each hand.

I think chess GTO would be similar, as in a lot of equal options being chosen at random, because they all lead to the same result.
But like I said, I'm bad at chess.
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:12 AM   #65
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

I think the chess comparison is kind of flawed as we are comparing a perfect information game vs imperfect information. Mixing is most likely required in poker GTO, in chess it is definitely purely optional.
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:14 AM   #66
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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I know GTO doesn't try to balance.
It does, that's why specific hands have specific frequencies for same EV actions. If not, frequency wouldn't matter
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:24 AM   #67
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Originally Posted by aner0 View Post
It does, that's why specific hands have specific frequencies for same EV actions. If not, frequency wouldn't matter
Quote from Modern Poker Theory:

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Equilibrium strategies are maximally exploitative when played vs an unexploitable opponent, so they inherit all the properties of MES, which are:

- Individual hands are always played in the most profitable way possible, and so GTO play never involves playing a hand less profitably than it should be played for the sake of balance.

...
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:56 AM   #68
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

Maybe the most profitable way to play a hand is to do something 60% of the time and something else 40% of the time, each resulting in the same EV. You do it not to be balanced but to not be exploitable.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:10 AM   #69
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Maybe the most profitable way to play a hand is to do something 60% of the time and something else 40% of the time, each resulting in the same EV. You do it not to be balanced but to not be exploitable.
GTO isn't trying to be non exploitable either
It's trying to maximally exploit it's opponent, but in practice that ends up pretty much exactly the same.

That's exactly what I meant in my previous post though.
GTO isn't trying to balance, the balance is just a result of trying to maximize value with each individual hand against a GTO opponent.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:20 AM   #70
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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GTO isn't trying to be non exploitable either
It's trying to maximally exploit it's opponent, but in practice that ends up pretty much exactly the same.

That's exactly what I meant in my previous post though.
GTO isn't trying to balance, the balance is just a result of trying to maximize value with each individual hand against a GTO opponent.
I would be careful with trying to see it that way. You will eventually hit a wall, in my opinion. GTO assumes the opponent is also GTO. If this prior is not true, then your statement becomes false. If the opponent is way off, then it can be said that GTO is “trying” to be balanced, and unexploitable, with the bonus that the opponent can not even examine your strategy and deduce a counter strategy, other than “git gud”.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:39 AM   #71
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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I would be careful with trying to see it that way. You will eventually hit a wall, in my opinion. GTO assumes the opponent is also GTO. If this prior is not true, then your statement becomes false. If the opponent is way off, then it can be said that GTO is “trying” to be balanced, and unexploitable, with the bonus that the opponent can not even examine your strategy and deduce a counter strategy, other than “git gud”.
Yeah true, but not because GTO is trying to be balanced.
GTO is balanced and unexploitable as a result of trying to maximally exploit a GTO opponent.

This is not my view btw, it's literally stated like that in Modern Poker Theory.
Unless I'm interpreting it wrong.

Note that when I say GTO I mean NE, but I think you got that.

But yeah I agree, against a non-GTO opponent, GTO is balanced and unexploitable.
Well it's also balanced and unexploitable against a GTO opponent for that matter :P
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:44 AM   #72
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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Yeah true, but not because GTO is trying to be balanced.
GTO is balanced and unexploitable as a result of trying to maximally exploit a GTO opponent.

This is not my view btw, it's literally stated like that in Modern Poker Theory.
Unless I'm interpreting it wrong.

Note that when I say GTO I mean NE, but I think you got that.

But yeah I agree, against a non-GTO opponent, GTO is balanced and unexploitable.
Well it's also balanced and unexploitable against a GTO opponent for that matter :P

Just to be clear, I disagree with the author on that point. So long as the GTO is unchanged, it does not matter how you attribute intent to the strategy. However, since GTO does not change for any reason no matter the opponent, I do not see how it is rational to attribute the intent of GTO to maximally expoit anything.

GTO just is GTO.
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Old 06-18-2021, 10:00 AM   #73
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

Re:chess. I am an international master with 30 years of experience in trying to improve at chess while making a living with poker.

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From what I understand there are hundreds if not thousands of openings available to the currently top rated human players.

I'd imagine at least a few of those, if not quite a lot, would be capable of forcing a win with white in a GTO match.
Well, the top engines are so good nowadays that the openings have evolved a lot even in the past 10 years. Knowledge in every sensible opening has grown so big that I'd describe it as a bluff if someone plays an opening that leads to a clearly worse position, assuming best play by both sides. Chess is an extremely drawish game (because it's a draw, duh) and it usually takes several small mistakes or one big mistake to actually lose. Humans lose because they make a lot of mistakes, same as in poker.

All in all, I'd say a tiny portion of modern openings might be winning for white with best play, but we are talking about 1% or so. Of course also depends a bit on what we define as an opening. But lets say positions after 12 moves that have arisen more than twice in the past 3 years between top players.

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I think chess GTO would be similar, as in a lot of equal options being chosen at random, because they all lead to the same result.
But like I said, I'm bad at chess.
Yes, the starting position is a draw, but even if you had a perfect solution, all moves leading to a draw are not equal. Some drawn positions are such that one side needs to make 10 exact moves in a row to get the draw while the other side has no legal moves that lose the game. Thus I think it's better to assess chess positions not with "white wins, draw, black wins" but with something that describes the equity both players have. For humans, this is, perfect play vs perfect play is not interesting as it's always a draw.

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Originally Posted by plexiq View Post
I think the chess comparison is kind of flawed as we are comparing a perfect information game vs imperfect information. Mixing is most likely required in poker GTO, in chess it is definitely purely optional.
Agreed. In chess top players mix, because they don't want to be predictable, but instead test the opponent's knowledge in a different branch of the game tree. Thus mixing is great in practice, but has no meaning in theory.
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Old 06-18-2021, 10:05 AM   #74
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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perfect play vs perfect play is not interesting as it's always a draw.
So all the top AI's are just drawing vs each other mostly?
You're saying a perfect GTO strategy (most likely?) wouldn't result in a win for white, but a draw?
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Old 06-18-2021, 10:22 AM   #75
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Re: In theory, GTO cannot win

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So all the top AI's are just drawing vs each other mostly?
They have stopped AI vs AI matches starting from the initial position, years ago. Probably two reasons:

1. no need for a pre-built opening library which is a bit problematic as it's human built anyway. I guess they could force the engine to build the opening library by itself or ban any use of prior opening knowledge.
2. probably the percentage of draws would be huge, like 99%.

So AI vs AI competitions are today organized so that they play from a few pre-determined positions (with reversed colors) which sometimes favor white greatly, just to get some wins.

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You're saying a perfect GTO strategy (most likely?) wouldn't result in a win for white, but a draw?
I am totally convinced chess is a draw. Or let's formulate it like this: everything I've seen indicates that perfect play leads to a draw, and that there are several ways for black to achieve it.
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