GTO players require a larger bankroll.

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Contrary to popular belief, GTO players lose their edge and, as a result, require larger bankrolls than exploitative players.

My new GTO book with Dara O’Kearney is almost finished, and I have one of the more intriguing, easily consumable lessons from it yet again.

One of the most common misconceptions about GTO is that it is the most lucrative way to play. It is simply a strategy for reducing your chances of being exploited. At any given stake, a skilled exploitative player will always make more than a good GTO player, but the advantage of GTO is that you can take it to any table and win.

With that in mind, one thing to keep in mind while implementing a GTO strategy is that a larger bankroll is required. When you don’t abuse your opponents, you limit your possible winrate, which means you need a larger buffer against variance.

Let’s imagine a GTO player has a capped 20% advantage in tournaments, even against weak players. In soft MTTs, a good diverging player can have a 100% ROI, yet in high stakes games, a good exploiting player can have a 30% edge. offers free simulations to determine the amount of money required for the two styles. In this simulation, we looked at $50 MTTs with an average of 300 runners and 40 places rewarded. This is a sample of 20 runs from a player with a 20% ROI:

Over the course of 10,000 MTTs, this player would earn $18,498 in the worst-case scenario and $177,285 in the best-case scenario. Their chance of failure was 1%, and their required capital was $14,590.

A good exploitative player with a 50% ROI would perform significantly better:

This player would earn between $165,258 and $339,235. Their probability of failure is similarly 1%, and they need $5,595.

Why bother playing GTO when the exploitative player has far better prospects? GTO is best employed against tough players and unknowns, but you should still deviate versus truly bad players. Another reason to play GTO is that you can increase your tables and stakes without witnessing a significant decline in your winrate.

In principle, a $50 GTO player with a 20% ROI may increase to $500 games and maintain their win rate. We performed a simulation for those games, and the poorest run resulted in that player earning $226,440, while the best run resulted in that player earning $1,870,674 over 10,000 games. Their required investment was $154,137.

GTO Poker Theories: Solomon’s Paradox

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Author: Sara Brooks