You can’t listen to or eavesdrop on a poker conversation these days without the mention of “GTO.”
That doesn’t mean GTO is something new. It’s not.
When it comes to poker, though, it’s often misused and misunderstood.
That’s why a tweet that included a poll about GTO from poker pro Oliver Busquet caught our attention.
What followed was a fascinating conversation.
But before we get to that …
What is GTO?
Let’s start by defining what GTO is and what it is not.
Game theory optimal solutions are specific mathematical definitions to a strategy. In other words, it’s the best, unbeatable solution to a game.
What you need to know is GTO doesn’t really exist in poker. Poker isn’t solved, and because there is no solution, GTO by its strictest definition can’t be applied to the game.
Defining GTO as it applies to poker just means taking the most unexploitable line. While simply described, there isn’t anything simple about it.
Dispelling common myths about GTO
There are some common myths about GTO and how it applies to poker that could wind up getting a player in trouble.
Two of the most common myths are:
- GTO strategy is a profitable strategy
- All the high-rollers use GTO
Let’s talk about those a little further.
GTO play does not guarantee a profit. GTO means you are using a strategy that is unbeatable. The problem is that a GTO approach doesn’t ensure you’ll win against certain opponents.
Technically there is no GTO in poker. When players reference GTO, they are most likely speaking of the best possible strategy.
GTO, as it applies to poker, is a strategy that is influenced by GTO.
Busquet followed up with a request for opinions in addition to voting in the poll. He specifically asked for responses from players that are “very good.”
And the very good (and some not so good) players obliged.
When Busquet asked what he voted for, Linde responded
Busquet was “quite shocked” by the answer and followed up with a response.
Which got Linde thinking.
Daniel Negreanu weighs in.
Are you struggling to understand GTO?
The Evolution of Trust is an interactive guide to game theory and why and how we trust each other. It’s worth a look.