From Daniel Negreanu's MasterClass

Daniel discusses Game Theory Optimal poker and provides tips on how to calculate pot odds and fold frequency at game speed.

Topics include: Understanding Game Theory Optimal (GTO) Poker • Use a Hybrid of GTO and Exploitative Play • Set a Baseline and Adjust • Calculating Pot Odds • Calculating Fold Frequency • Quiz: Calculating Fold Frequency

Daniel discusses Game Theory Optimal poker and provides tips on how to calculate pot odds and fold frequency at game speed.

Topics include: Understanding Game Theory Optimal (GTO) Poker • Use a Hybrid of GTO and Exploitative Play • Set a Baseline and Adjust • Calculating Pot Odds • Calculating Fold Frequency • Quiz: Calculating Fold Frequency

So the latest trend or fad in poker, and the latest evolution of it, is understanding game theory optimal play. So what exactly does game theory optimal play mean? Well, essentially, what it means is you create a strategy that is unexploitable. So let's use a real life example. You all know rock, paper, scissors, right? You throw a rock, you throw paper, you throw scissors. Well, now, what would be the game theory optimal percentage to throw each one? I'll let you think about that for a second. Well, obviously, throwing one third, one third, one third would be the game theory optimal approach. The problem with that is while you won't lose, you also won't win if you stick to that-- unless you get lucky, of course. But that's not an exploitative strategy. Now, what if you find-- you notice that your opponent throws rock a lot? You start to notice a pattern of he's throwing rock. Let's say he's throwing rock every time. Well, what should you do? So obviously, you throw paper. The question is, with poker, how often should you throw paper? Do you throw paper 100% of the time? That seems logical. The problem with that is if you start throwing paper 100% of time, he notices and says, I caught on to something you're doing, so I'm going to adjust as well. So what you want to do is instead of doing 33%, 33%, 33% across the board, if he's throwing rock 100% of the time, you up your paper to maybe 40% or 45% of the time. So you're going to exploit the weakness in his strategy, but you're going to do it while he doesn't even realize you're doing it. Because every time you deviate from a game theory structure, you become exploitable as well. Another way to look at it, really, is game theory is a defensive strategy. It ensures that I'm protected. There's no way that you're going to be able to exploit me. Now, exploitative play, which is something that I've been doing for 20 years before I fully had a understanding of game theory, is always looking for the mistakes in my opponent, and going on the aggressive, and trying to take advantage of them. Now, of course, a byproduct of that is, well, if they're being perceptive, they can start exploiting me because I'm willing to give up on the defensive side to play aggressively. So it's very important to have a mix of both, starting with a baseline of game theory and then exploiting from there. So there's a debate in poker, which is which is the better approach. Should we be focusing on playing strictly game theory optimal, or should we focus on playing strictly exploitative? And I think the right answer is somewhere in the middle. So you take what you can from game theory and then adjust to your opponents. Because if you're not doing that, you're not going to maximize profit. So for example, if you have Player A, who plays game theory in a game full of recreational players, Player A is going to win. But if you're a Player B, and you're using some of that game theory, but you're also exploiting...

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

4.7

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

In the first run through all of these things have been helpful. As I go back through I think the early sessions on position and hand range will be most beneficial at the outset.

Leonard B.

I learned a lot in this course that I did not know, including position, range, and tells. Great information presented in an interesting and fun format!

Staci M.

Thank you Daniel for person, player, and teacher that you are.

Kevin L.

Great class, but you should have some basic knowledge about Poker before start the class.

Niran P.

mustafaer

The statistics given for to catch a flush when you have the suits in your hand given that you have two suits on the flop is misleading. It should not be 36%, it should be roughly 20% (9/47)

0 likes

John H.

I am not very good at math. Is that going to be a problem trying to understand pot odds in the middle of a hand? I kind of get the basics of pot odds, hopefully it just becomes second-nature.

0 likes

Jason

I am no math wiz and all this really makes my brain hurt but am I right in saying the fold frequency of a bet is actually the inverse percentage of the pot odds? Wouldnt just looking at the pot odds as a simple ratio give you a quick and easy ball park estimate of both without the brain numbing math when "in the field"?

0 likes

Michael K.

So I was playing A2 offsuit from the small blind and had a straight draw on the board. I was looking for a 3 to complete the draw, and out came the 3 of clubs on the river to complete my opponents flush. My A-5 straight got gutted by my opponents J high flush on an all in, and that was the end of my stack for the night. This was a 1/2 NL 9-max table. Should I have folded or was it a good decision? It was a new player at the table so I didn’t get to consider plate tendencies.

0 likes

David S.

This lesson has cashed me many tourneys. At the end of the day, I was telling my opponents what they had as I folded JJ.

0 likes

Michael K.

So I was playing some table poker last night and on one hand, I had something like J6 Suited (Clubs) and there were 3 suited clubs at the river. The villain next to me bets big and I call. He too had 2 suited clubs with an Ace. Should I have folded or raised instead? He just arrived at the table, so I couldn't gauge his tendencies prior to.

0 likes

www W.

So fold frequency minus 1 = percentage of ranked hands you SHOULD play? Ex 1 - 75% fold freq. = play top 25 hands?

0 likes

Leo M.

Could someone please explain to me GTO, but with a poker example instead of rock, paper, scissors. Thank you.

0 likes

A fellow student

Please correct me if I’m wrong with this, but I don’t think the term pot odds really doesn’t have much to do with odds at all, and that’s where I find it confusing. It’s a ratio of a bet to a potential profit, which produces a number that, when compared to the probability of drawing the card(s) you need, tells you if a call is warranted. So, if you need to call $20 in a pot that’s $80, that’s a ratio (expressed as a percentage) of 25%. If the odds of drawing a winner is greater than 25%, you should call. If the odds are less than 25%, you should fold. Do I have this correct? Appreciate the help.

1 like

Lesson Plan

01

Introduction

02

Understanding Position

03

Hand Ranges and Board Texture

04

Ranges: Hand Review

05

Game Theory and Math

06

C-Betting

07

Check-Raising

08

Three-Betting

09

Three-Betting: Hand Review

10

Detecting and Executing the Bluff

11

Executing the Bluff: Hand Reviews

12

Bet Sizing

13

Overbetting

14

Multi-way Dynamics

15

Mixed Strategy

16

Mixed Strategy: Hand Review

17

Pre- and Postflop Mistakes

18

Tournament Strategy: Early and Middle Stages

19

Tournament Strategy: On the Bubble

20

Tournament Strategy: Late Stages and Final Table

21

Universal Tournament Strategy

22

Cash Games

23

Masking Tells

24

Spotting Tells, Part 1

25

Spotting Tells, Part 2

26

Spotting Tells: Hand Reviews

27

Table Talk

28

How to Think at the Poker Table

29

Managing and Exploiting Tilt

30

Table Image and Metagame

31

Table Image and Metagame: Hand Reviews

32

Player Profiling

33

Game Selection

34

Bankroll Management

35

Off-Felt Training

36

Life as a Poker Player

37

Closing

38

Bonus Material: Online Play

Hi, I had a couple questions: In which cases should you make a decision to call or fold based on "Pot Odds" vs making the decision based on "Fold Frequency"? Or, are they two different types of methods and people should choose what suits them? Also, a question regarding the math on pot odds. Let's say I'm on a flush draw from the flop and so calculate my odds to hit, by the river, at 35%, my odds with the pot are 2:1 so based on the math I would call. However, I know that my opponent almost certainly will raise on the turn 2-4x his last bet if I do not hit my flush on the turn. Does this change the decision to call in this case or is it always right to call, from the flop, based on odds to the river? Thanks!