My post about poker was more about game THEORY than game PRACTICE, much to the disappointment of readers!  Luckily for us, I have a great, interested student in my class Patrick Nyffeler.  His brother, Andre, is an “avid, online poker player”.   Andre was kind enough to send me the following information below via Patrick.  Thanks Andre!

In the blog he alludes to the fact that there is a game theory optimal (GTO) strategy and an exploitive strategy.  There’s a good article on it that’s on one of the instructional sites I used to subscribe to.  Luckily, I found a copy of it,

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/94/stoxpoker-com/understanding-game-theory-holdem-245479/

Some quick thoughts on each:

GTO

There’s been a team of guys who for the last fifteen years have been working on solving GTO play for heads up limit holdem.

http://poker.cs.ualberta.ca/

They’re getting really good now, as they won the last “man vs. machine” showdown which was against some elite HU LHE guys.

There is some fear bots could ruin online poker.  The idea is that they wouldn’t have to be good enough to beat even good players at middle levels, just good enough to have a tiny edge at the smallest games.  They would run 24/7 and take a ton of money out of the poker economy that normally would filter up to the higher limits.  Luckily, the big sites (with the help of the pro online players) are good at identifying these bots quickly.  Also, the current AIs for NLHE are terrible and it will be a long time before something close to GTO is achieved (although who knows, that could be within five or ten years)

There’s lots of talk about GTO and many solved “minigames” such as that in Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen (the guy with two bracelets who works at Susquehanna).  These give you a good intuition for different aspects of the game as well as a starting point of how to play before you know much about your opponents strategy.

Exploitive

This is what good poker players use 99% of the time.  There’s no way a top poker player is using their watch to randomize his bluffing.  He is using previous history with the opponent, game flow, and psychology to make/not make his bluff and outplay his opponent.  Nobody plays near GTO in games like NLHE so to maximize profit, you adopt an exploitive approach.

If you have some interest/time, here’s two of the best general theory of poker articles I’ve read in the last five years.

Good Poker by Bryce Paradis

http://www.bluffmagazine.com/magazine/What%2Dis%2D%27Good%2DPoker%27%2DBryce%2DParadis-934.htm

G-Bucks by Phil Galfond (this is one kind of dense)

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/poker/columns/story?columnist=bluff_magazine&id=2817110