GTO Poker

The Beginner’s Guide: GTO Poker

| November 27, 2023 | Poker

Are you here for GTO poker? Well, you did the right thing, my friend. This article will look at the basics behind GTO and will see how it will stack up against other poker strategies. Keep on reading to know all the fundamentals that govern the strategy of GTO in poker. 

What Is GTO Poker?

What Is GTO Poker

Over the years, poker as a game has evolved substantially. And this stands true for Texas Hold’em Poker as well. One of the major shifts that we have seen in the world of poker strategies and hands is moving from exploitative play to Game Theory Play which is also known as GTO. Understanding this strategy is more crucial than knowing how the poker hands rank or what is a poker flush. In fact, knowing this will give you an edge over most other pro poker players you will encounter in real life or on online poker platforms like 4bet, Global Poker, etc. 

To explain GTO in the simplest of terms, it is an attempt to play poker in the most mathematically perfect manner. Unlike the exploitative method, you are not banking on other’s mistakes to win a game of poker. Rather, you are trying to play the game in the most mathematically perfect way imaginable. This will automatically give you an edge over other exploitative players who are looking to exploit you. 

Even though the sound of playing Poker using the GTO methods sounds cool and all. Experts believe that it is nearly impossible to play perfect GTO hands. To perfect the GTO strategy, one has to be really good at the basics of poker. Therefore, this is something that beginners will find difficult to replicate. But if you are clear about the basics of poker, you can easily learn the GTO poker strategy.

GTO vs. Exploitative Poker: Which Is Better?

GTO vs. Exploitative Poker

Since the time immemorial, poker players have primarily banked on exploitative play to get an edge over their opponents. In an exploitative poker play, players are looking to exploit the mistakes of their opponents in order to sail through. Now, if you think closely, exploitative poker play is not really a strategy at all. It is just you hoping that your opponent commits mistakes that you can exploit.

On the other hand, GTO poker is a tried and tested method that looks at poker from a mathematical POV. It looks at the game in a way a mathematician looks at a problem sum. In GTO, there is no room for considering or including subjective information like tendencies, strategies, and probable situations. Instead, you are primarily concentrating on the numbers and the probability aspect of the game. Some players call it a much better way to play the game of poker. 

Fundamentals Of GTO Poker Concepts And Strategies

From the initial looks of things, it might seem that learning the basics of GTO is one of the most daunting tasks of your poker career. But take it from a mathematically challenged player like me, it is easier than it might seem. However, you need to be clear about certain concepts and ideas in order to be better at the game you are playing and executing GTO play. 

The first and foremost thing that you need to master is knowing how to read a preflop opening chart. This will provide you an idea about the hands to open raise and the hands you need to fold. In fact, there are some preflop charts that are better suited for more complex poker situations. 

The next thing that you need to know is to understand and read pot odds. Understanding this will help you to predict which calls are profitable and which calls are not. You can also use an equity calculator to determine your overall equity on the table. 

The final thing that you need to master is to study the minimum defense frequency or the MDF. This is especially useful against aggressive opponents. To know your precise MDF, just divide your pot size by the total sum of pot size + bet size. And then multiply the answer by 100.

The formula will look like (pot size/ pot size + bet size * 100).

How To Play With Poker Solvers?

This is something that is specifically true for online poker players. If you are serious about learning poker and mastering the GTO strategy, the biggest and most viable investment that you can make is a poker solver

As the very name of the investment suggests, the job of a poker solver is to analyze and assess various gameplay situations in poker to find the right one to go forward with. Couple this with whatever you learn while studying GTO, and you will be able to build a tough-to-beat strategy.


As impressive as GTO might sound or seem to new poker players, it is certainly not a ‘perfect strategy.’One major drawback of this form of play is that it can be a fairly rigid approach to employ for all of the opponents. In fact, if you keep employing a specific strategy for everyone, you will notice that things are becoming monotonous and mundane pretty soon.

Another limitation is that this is not at all a passive strategy. In other words, just as you are stopping your opponents from exploiting you, in the same way, you are not exploiting others as well, and where is the fun in that? The very game of poker is about exploiting your opponent to edge over them. This strategy can make the game more rigid and without any fun. Therefore, employing the GTO Poker strategy is a double-edged sword that needs to be wielded with caution. 

End Note

With that, we have reached the very end of our discussion on GTO poker strategy. It is an innovative and amazing way to play the game of poker using mathematics as the primary weapon of choice. But as we have seen, it is not a perfect strategy to employ. I mean, if you are going to employ this strategy be ready to accept the drawbacks as well. For more such content and news, keep following our page.

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samik ghoshal
samik ghoshal

Samik has been a literature student all along and uses his fluidity to write about multi-niche topics. Aspiring to be a professional writer, he tries to analyze his topic from a critical standpoint but still adds a hint of personal perspective to the end product. Being a person having a general inclination toward global politics and documentary filmmaking, he also wishes to write and document more about numerous conflicts that are brewing in the different corners of the globe.


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