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Head Games: Understanding Exploitive Poker vs. Game Theory Optimal Strategy in No-Limit Cash Games

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Feb 18, 2015

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With Reid Young, Paul Ratchford, and David Benefield Craig Tapscott: What should serious poker players spend more time focusing on, playing exploitively or playing game theory (GTO) poker?  Reid Young: Today, near-optimal play in poker games with variable bet sizes can only be approximated by the world’s most advanced computers. Game theory optimal poker is, for now, impossible to know for games with deep stacks and variable bet sizes like no-limit Texas hold’em. However, studying abstractions from complex games that show simple lessons learned from available applied computational power, and studying simple game theory concepts, is by far the more important use of a player’s focus. The reason to structure your study around the parameters of any given game rather than a particular type of player is because exploitive adjustments are a byproduct of an understanding of the mathematics of the game. In other words, once you understand a game, only then ...


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