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Thread: bencb789 claims GTO-like play has hurt some players

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    bencb789 claims GTO-like play has hurt some players

    bencb789 tweeted this recently:

    Hot take: Do you think Online Tournament Poker got tougher? Wrong!

    Online Tournament poker has become a lot softer over the last few years despite the rise in educational content available. Why? Many ex-crushers gave up their very profitable, exploitative style to make solver-approved plays. Solver-approved plays that are -EV in reality. Making hero calls vs. under-bluffing players, bluffing in situations where the opponent isn't folding enough, etc. Also, not going for those aggressive plays against weaker opponents in deeper stages. "But Ben, isn't a GTO style the most profitable?" YES, in theory. A GTO bot would crush everyone. But you will never reach that level because you are human, not a bot. Nobody plays a "GTO style". We play FRACTIONS of what is considered GTO. And we can't even get close to what is considered GTO. GTO helps you understand the game. Exploitative poker will make you money. We are very far from playing optimal theoretical poker, meaning there is a TON of room to exploit your opponents. I see many former good regulars punting their stacks left and right. This means more money is left on the table, which is good for those who play a solid style and truly understand tournament poker, which is a lot about in-game table selection, future game, and considering your own edge.

    This is my opinion. Based on studying with friends, going through hand histories from our community in Discord, and coaching sessions with low- mid-high stakes players who went through this journey. From crushing back to breaking even, they had to admit they got lost in the complexity of GTO.

    Remember this: Just because a call is slightly winning doesn't mean it is the correct play FOR YOU. Suppose you consider yourself a good player, are reasonably beating your stakes, and know how to exploit your opponents. Why would you risk your tournament life for a very marginal hero call (unless you have some FG considerations around the money bubble or FT)? You'll get plenty of better opportunities in the next couple of orbits.

    Do I agree with this?

    For the most part, YES.

    Some excellent players who attempt solver-suggested plays often apply them poorly against calling stations and tight players. I've seen this in the live tournament scene during WSOP, where highly respected players made mind-bogglingly bad plays at times, not understanding their opponent.

    The above is also known as "fancy play syndrome" -- a term used long before the GTO/solver revolution in tournament poker.

    This is why it is important to first get down BASIC FUNDAMENTALS of tournament play before attempting to try GTO-style play, and why it's further important to UNDERSTAND EACH OPPONENT before attempting any kind of tricky play or non-standard hero call.

    Sometimes knowing which players call too light and which players never bluff is the most important info you can have at the table, and can inform some very tough decisions. I had some of these decisions of my own at the WSOP Main Event this year, and correctly folded (or gave up bluffing) due to these player impressions, which saved me a lot of chips. In other cases, I called down lightly and won.

    Keep the above in mind before you try "moves" during tournaments. The most important thing you can do is understand each of your opponents, and modify your play based upon their expected styles.

     
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      garrett: interesting
      
      sah_24: big +1

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    Best tournament poker post on here in a long time. Most people are still really bad at tournament poker

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    Seems like this should be standard knowledge.

    I was expecting him to touch base on a bit more.

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    This is pretty basic stuff. First, no one is saying a GTO style is the BEST way to make money. It is a solid style that migbt keep you profitable in the long run.
    Those who have gone into the depths of GTO all realize that you have to be aware of your opponents' flaws and adjust accordingly.
    Studying GTO has changed my perception of some aspects of the game but it is not the basis for basic strategy as a game progresses.
    (I'm about to start Day 2 of PokerPalooza main event in Reno. We'll see how it goes!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilbodoggins View Post
    This is pretty basic stuff. First, no one is saying a GTO style is the BEST way to make money. It is a solid style that migbt keep you profitable in the long run.
    Those who have gone into the depths of GTO all realize that you have to be aware of your opponents' flaws and adjust accordingly.
    Studying GTO has changed my perception of some aspects of the game but it is not the basis for basic strategy as a game progresses.
    (I'm about to start Day 2 of PokerPalooza main event in Reno. We'll see how it goes!)
    Most people attempting to apply the concepts have no clue what they are doing, hence why no one folds anymore ... Ben is correct

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