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Game Theory For Overachievers

中文

gameTheoryForOverachievers

No more guessing and levelling games. Learn the secrets of how to approach every single poker situation without constantly doubting yourself.


Sometime in 2012, I was struggling to make steady profit. I was still in my final year in University. I had already made the decision to turn pro and not bother too much about my future career prospects but some negative thoughts started to linger in my head.

“What if I failed to make it?” My parents had the highest hopes for me since I was young. I definitely did not want to disappoint them.

“I’m going to be mocked by others if it doesn’t work out.” Many around me were skeptical about my choice to turn pro.

“How can I take my game to the next level?” I continued reading different books and sieving through hand forums, hoping to seek out some valuable nuggets of wisdom, but to no avail. No one truly gave valuable advice for free during that time.

Prior to a bad run of hands in 2012 which wiped out a quarter of my bankroll, I was feeling pretty confident in my ability to work harder and make significantly more when I graduated and started playing full-time. But after that mega downswing, and no proper framework and process to work on my game, the “light at the end of the tunnel” was starting to dim for me. I was genuinely worried about the future for the first time.

stressed

2012 went by in an instant, and in 2013, I decided to seek out Internet for coaching. Back then, I really admired his coaching videos on PokerVIP and PokerStrategy. He was always sprinkling various tips and ideas about GTO play, and it was very clear that he had a proper framework and game-plan for most of the spots he encountered during his live play videos.

“Given his large 3bet sizing here in this spot, I wouldn’t want to have a calling range here. I would just 4bet the top 28% of hands here.”

“Open-limping in the SB is a great way to increase your win-rate and play many hands that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to open with a raise. You’re getting 25% pot odds preflop and you should be able to win more than 25% of the pot postflop with many weak hands.”

“When the opponent bets out around half pot here, we need to defend approximately 2/3 of our bluff-catchers.”

I was hooked onto this guy’s thought process. I was very willing to pay this guy lots of money to learn how he approached the game. Prior to this, I often found myself in spots where I had no clue what to do.

Example 1 (common spot): SB fires 3 streets on a Js Ts 6d 5h 4c board. I have J8 in the BB and I don’t know whether to call or not. The exploitative method of analyzing this hand has its limitations (compare pot odds with pot equity) because it was often hard, if not impossible, to put the villain on a range when we are unsure about his bluffing frequency and bluffing combos.

Example 2 (weird spot): I 3bet from the SB against the BTN with AJ and he calls. The board is Ah 9h 2d 3s 7s. I bet the Flop and he calls. The turn is checked around. I bet the River with Top pair 3rd Kicker and the opponent raises here.

“How can I play like you?” I inquired. “GTO seems to be the new in-thing and buzzword that everyone in the poker community is talking about, but I truly believe that this stuff works. I want to learn GTO from you”

“Hey Galvin, I have a GTO course here. I’ve already taught it to multiple students of mine, and the general feedback was really great.”

internet

And they say, the rest was history. With my “newfound powers”, I was able to attain SNE in 2013 and 2014 with ease, and for that, I am ever grateful to Internet. For the first time, I was able to be more self-reliant when it came to performing my own analysis. I knew what factors to consider, how to shape my defending and attacking ranges, and was more confident than before in myself and each of my plays. With a much higher win-rate than before, I found myself getting into fewer gut-wrenching and heart-breaking downswings. I was a lot more consistent, and was better able to multi-table more effectively after having formulated game-plans in most commonly occurring situations. No more over-reliance on stats, when you have game-plans prepared vs an average, unknown player. I was confident enough to start playing without a HUD on new sites like Fulpot and Bodog.

Now, it’s my turn to pass on the greatest piece of poker wisdom that I have attained throughout my entire poker career. I am not one to make bold, exaggerated claims, but with this, even surpassing the old school pros like Dwan, Negreanu and Ivey in NLHE cash games is going to be very doable. In fact, I would say that the 3 of them would not be able to beat the modern NL500 Zoom game at Pokerstars today at their current skill level.

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Course Content

This is a modified version of the course I was taught by Internet in mid-2013. I cut down on parts which were a little confusing, expanded upon practical play and exploitative plays, and added videos of different format, including the use of GTO software, to ensure that the student has a clear idea on what to work on and progress through the limits.

Module 1 – Theory Videos

Module 1 covers the technical aspects of GTO gameplay. We discuss the importance of the indifference concept in deriving optimal ranges in poker, the way to properly switch gears between “exploitative” and “GTO-balanced” modes, proper bet-sizing, and using blockers to select the best hands for bluff-catching and bluffing with. After module 1, you will have a rough understanding of how to relate math concepts to actual poker play.

1. GTO Mindset
2. Poker Math
3. Optimal Bet Size Formula
4. Limitations of the Optimal Bet Size Formula
5. Multi-street Poker with Static Hands
6. Blockers
7. GTO Game Planning
8. Using GTO Concepts to exploit your opponents

Total Duration: 6 h 20 min

Module 2 – Hand Review Videos

Studying the theory videos is not going to be enough. When I first learnt basic GTO concepts, I did not have a complete understanding of GTO so I was often misapplying certain principles in the wrong places. Here in Module 2, I walk you through 6 different videos where I analyze many hands on a deeper level, fully utilizing both the exploitative and GTO concepts taught in the course to deduce the decisions with the highest EV.

Hand Review TwoPlusTwo 1 MSNL
Hand Review TwoPlusTwo 2 SSNL
Hand Review TwoPlusTwo 3 MS/SSNL
Hand Review Pokerstrategy 1
Hand Review Pokerstrategy 2
Hand Review Pokerstrategy 3

Total Duration: 4 h 20 min

Module 3 – PIOSolver Videos

Most of today’s world-class players use GTO software to study optimal strategies on a regular basis. But for someone who is new to GTO play, they might find software such as PIOSolver or GTORangeBuilder overwhelming. In Module 3, I provide a step-by-step guide to making good use of PIOSolver for analysis, with suggestions on what different categories of boards, stack sizes, and ranges to work with to gain a better understanding of optimal strategies at work. I also spend some time interpreting the results displayed by the software and provide some useful tips and mnemonics for approximating GTO strategies in practice.

Introduction
List of different variables for analysis
PIOSolver 0 – A short demo
PIOSolver 1 – 4b/5b pots
PIOSolver 2 – Analyzing the impact of different stack depths on our strategy
PIOSolver 3 – Monotone runouts
PIOSolver 4 – Straight runouts
PIOSolver 5 – Normal boards in single-raised/3b pots
PIOSolver 6 – Limped pots in SB vs BB

Total Duration: 5 h 47 min

Module 4 – Live Videos

Many students often ask how I am able to do all my calculations and permutations so quickly while playing so many tables at once. Much of it is constant and deliberate analysis and practice off the tables. But a huge portion of it is just being able to quickly guesstimate one’s own ranges in a particular spot and come up with a pseudo-optimal strategy on the fly. In the live videos, I explain my thought process in great detail, shedding some light on how to think on one’s feet with a limited amount of time at the tables.

Zoom 1 – NL200/500
Zoom 2 – NL200/500
Zoom 3 – NL500
Zoom 4 – NL500
Zoom 5 – NL500

Total Duration: 2 h 58 min

Bonus Videos

Homework – SB vs BB on 852rKQ
Why betting and bluff-catching with balanced ranges yield the highest EV against perfect opponents?
Using Tells in Online Poker – Valued at $80

Total Duration: 3h 3 min

Access to Private Facebook Group

All students will also gain access to a private Facebook Group, where I will be available to answer any questions you might have. Fellow students can also band together to help one another with their game-play and explore Game Theory Optimal play together.

FAQ

Q: Who is this course for?

A: This course is for NL50+ players who wish to take their game to the next level by using Game Theory concepts as a framework for analyzing and playing top level poker. It aims to teach students how to compare the EV of each option, select appropriate bet-sizes, balance betting and bluff-catching ranges, and take exploitative lines vs different opponents. 

This course is not for players who expect magic bullets, shortcuts and quick fixes and expect to magically produce instantaneous results. An over-emphasis on such tactics will often cause the student to be no longer able to beat the games in the future as the meta-game shifts and everyone starts to become better at the games. I do share some quick tips and tactics which can yield immediate profit at the tables (such as small changes in bet-sizing in some spots) but the road to success in poker cannot be achieved overnight.

I strive to build courses that can stand the test of time, so that even 5 years down the road, the content about building game-plans and constructing strategies against different opponents shared in this course will still remain relevant. This allows us to maintain our confidence in our play when running bad, and also allows for the automation of common decisions, which will enable us to play faster, increase the number of tables and avoid timing out too often.

Q: I heard that GTO strategies only allow us to break-even in the long run and that if we want to maximize our winnings, we should instead stick to good old exploitative strategies. Why should we bother learning about Game Theory then?

A: This common misconception is often propagated due to several factors. The first of which is the classic Rock Paper Scissors toy-game that is used to relate the indifference concept to poker. Both players in RPS will be breaking even against each other if one of the players start to employ the strategy of playing R/P/S with a 33%/33%/33% frequency each. The main difference in poker is that both players will not be in equal starting positions. One player (the Preflop Raiser) will have the stronger and more polarized range. Positions, as well as dead money in the pot, also affect the strategies of both players. Just visualize a poker game whereby you are raising a solid range preflop and your opponent is playing every single hand. We can guess that in the long-run, since you are playing a lot closer to the GTO strategy than your opponent, even though you may not necessarily be actively exploiting your opponent, you will be winning money from him in the long run.

Those who often claim that Exploitative strategies are superior to GTO strategies because they can maximally exploit their opponents also miss the point. Exploitative and Balanced strategies are not mutually exclusive and often go hand-in-hand. The GTO strategy aims to maximally exploit the perfect opponent. It assumes that one’s opponent will eventually be able to know what one is doing, and make the perfect counter to one’s strategy. It then preempts any possible counter-exploitation and gets straight to the point. Certainly, if one’s opponent had massive leaks and was completely incapable of adjusting, then exploitative strategies will help one to maximize profits. But the truth is that against the majority of regulars, we have to maintain some degree of balance in our strategy, and how far we can actually deviate from what is optimal in order to exploit our opponents really depends on the size of our opponent’s leak.

Exploitative vs GTO

Contrary to popular belief, the strategy we employ lies in a spectrum. We should start to design our strategy with GTO concepts in mind, then deviate accordingly based on the size of our opponent’s leaks. GTO and Exploitative play can work hand-in-hand.

To give a simple analogy, imagine that you are playing Tennis or some other racket sport. If you had faith that your opponent would always return the ball back to your forehand, you should always stand on the right side of the court. But if you expect your opponent to eventually figure out what you’re doing, the best plan is to always return to the middle (or at least go slightly closer) so that you are able to cover the entire court. The same logic applies for studying GTO strategies. We use GTO knowledge to plan robust, well-balanced game-plans that can work against anyone and then deviate accordingly from it based on the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. The larger our opponent’s leaks, the more we can afford to deviate from the optimal strategy. There is a huge limitation as to how far one can go, purely relying on gut feeling and “soul-reading” as a baseline for making one’s poker decisions.

Q: Why should I purchase this course when I can learn something similar from other GTO books such as The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen/Jerrod Ankenman, Applications of NLHE by Matthew Janda, or Expert HUNLHE by Will Tipton?

A: If you are short on cash, and want to gain a basic understanding of GTO concepts at work, I would strongly suggest reading these 3 books. They certainly helped me gain a much better understanding of GTO concepts in 2013.

However, I believe that learning GTO play from these sources have their limitations. Firstly, many people find it easier to learn from a video course as compared from a book. Secondly, I think that MoP and EHUNLHE are books which are a little too heavy on the theory side and many players find it hard to reconcile GTO concepts with practical play. Also, most (if not all) of the book authors are not actively playing poker, are out of touch with the current meta-game and are not presenting too many ideas on using GTO play as a starting point to exploit the leaks of others.

My course addresses the limitations of these books in several ways. The Hand Review videos demonstrate how GTO and exploitative concepts are used to analyze actual poker situations in depth. The Live Videos allow me to share my insights on using GTO ideas to estimate the highest EV decision on the fly. I also present some of my thoughts on how to interpret the information from GTO software in the PIOSolver videos. These different types of videos, along with the theory lecture videos, ultimately ensures that the student gains a holistic understanding of how to draw a link between “optimal poker” and maximizing his profit at the table.

Q: Couldn’t I learn GTO on my own?

A: Yes you certainly could, especially with the books mentioned in the previous question. But the information presented in those books are really dense, and many of my friends who tried studying Game Theory Optimal play on their own found themselves misapplying what they have learnt. They found themselves without a complete and holistic understanding of Game Theory because they had no one to guide them and answer any queries and doubts that they had. It’s also going to be more time-consuming to figure out everything on your own, so when you take into account your opportunity costs as well, I do believe that the value of the course is much higher than its cost.

Q: The course is really expensive, do you provide discounts?

A: This course provides significantly more value for its price than any other poker course in the market. Most of the top poker course content makers have already been retired from professional poker for quite a while and tend to oversimplify many spots in poker. My promise to my students is to not withhold any information from them and share as much cutting-edge information as I know about the subject matter.

Currently I am charging $250/hr for private coaching. With over 20 hours of content, this course would easily be valued at $4000 and you would only have to pay a fraction of that price to learn about GTO play. Besides, with a much greater understanding of GTO play and how to go about exploiting your opponents, this course will definitely pay for itself many times over in the future. Do not be afraid of investing in your own education if it can accelerate your learning significantly. Personally, back in 2013, I paid my coach Internet $2000 to learn about GTO theory over ~8 hours and it was by far the BEST investment I had ever made in my entire life.

If you are playing NL25 or below, I highly suggest you go buy one of the GTO books to get started and come back later when you have built a more sizable bankroll.

Q: Is this a practical or a theoretical course?

A: This course contains a good balance of theory lectures as well as practical advice on how to put the concepts taught into use. This ensures that the student will actually have a logical framework for thinking through about every decision in poker, but at the same time know how to use the stuff learnt to make more money.

Q: Why are you the right coach for me?

A: There are coaches who make more than me, but lack the proper skills to present their ideas clearly and coherently to their students. Other coaches are too “theoretical” and are out of touch with the game. I believe that I am one of the few coaches who possess a good balance between poker theory and practical play. This allows me to share my knowledge effectively with my students, allowing them to improve at a fast rate.

I also have a wealth of experience when it comes to producing poker training material. I have written 3 books, produced over a hundred poker training videos, and evaluated over 12 000 hands at the Pokerstrategy forums.

Q: Can I have a sneak preview of the course?

A: Sure! Please check out my YouTube channel. I am releasing parts of the course for free, as I am confident that the material shared is top-notched and highly valuable.

What others have to say about the course

testimonials

YJT (Translated) – Before meeting Galvin, I was merely grinding many tables of MSS. My knowledge of poker stagnated and remained the same for the past 5 years. Many times, I feel that I could only win when I was running well, and most of the time it was really difficult and agonizing when I was playing poker, which led to me starting to dislike and dread playing the game that I used to love so much. I have tried seeking coaching from a bunch of different coaches but none of them really helped me make huge improvements to my game. After getting to know Galvin, and receiving many coaching review sessions as well as attending the GTO course, I finally realized the joys of playing poker. We can use Math and Logic to gain an edge and defeat our opponents. After around 15 hours of coaching, I managed to move up from NL25 to NL100 within 45 days and the process has been very smooth. Galvin has been very patient when coaching me which is really worth of respect. Even when beginners ask many “no-brainer” questions, he is still able to use a wide variety of methods and examples to explain his thoughts. Galvin is one of the top poker players within the Chinese-speaking world. With his understanding of poker, together with the math and logic behind each plays, he is unrivaled by most.

YJT

Nemesis (Translated) – “I was fortunate enough to attend bmlm’s GTO course. Previously my understanding of GTO was incomplete. After attending this course, I gained a much clearer understanding of GTO play. Whenever I am faced with different situations in poker, I have a clearer plan in mind on how to tackle them. I learnt that when faced with a certain bet size, I should be defending with a certain frequency, and after which, I can adjust my strategy based on my opponent’s tendencies. I also learnt how to adjust my bet-size based on the strength of my value hand, as well as my bluffing frequencies based on my bet-sizes. I no longer play based on my gut feeling without any theoretical backing.

Before I attended the course, I wasn’t completely sure on how to select the appropriate bet-sizes and I usually didn’t have a clear plan on how to build the pot with my value hands. Whenever I was bluffing, I also didn’t adjust my bet-sizes well and often wasted too many chips unnecessarily. After the lessons, I am now better able to tailor my bet-sizes better to suit the situation and maximize my winnings. I also learnt a lot about creating robust game-plans and I started thinking a lot more about blockers now.

In short, the course was extremely invaluable for me. Explaining this in terms of Chinese KungFu, what bmlm taught us is akin to exercises developing one’s inner strength. When your inner strength is well-developed, you can start to develop and create different types of fighting styles. Also, bmlm also did a great job, teaching us how to use PIOSolver so that we can learn independently and seek the answers on our own. My only suggestion is that I hope he can come up with some exercises so that we can practice using the software to come up with the answers on our own.”

Nemesis Testimonial

Tanwei (Translated) – “This is undoubtedly one of those courses that will change your entire poker career. I used to play poker in a rash manner and followed my gut feeling without my decisions being based on sound poker theory and statistical information. This led to me losing a lot of money. However, after I met Galvin and attended his GTO course, I regained my love for poker.

My biggest takeaway from the course is that I now have a game-plan for most common situations in poker. I know what to do with every single hand in most situations and maximize my EV. This includes knowing what hands to bluff with, what hands to hero-call with, and what hands to give up with. Galvin’s GTO course gave me new knowledge on how to play poker. If you wish to become an outstanding poker player, GTO is something that has to be learnt. Having balance in one’s game allows one to reduce one’s leaks, and avoid getting exploited by others. GTO isn’t the end point of poker, but the starting point of poker. We start off with a GTO strategy to design our ranges, and make the necessary adjustments as we pick up information on our opponents. This allows us to spot the leaks in our opponents’ games more easily, enabling us to stay ahead of the curve and maintain an edge over our opponents. ”

Poker is no longer the same as it once was many years ago. It now requires a significant amount of dedication, hardwork, and a logical approach, in order to actually be able to make a decent living from it. Games are drying up faster than before, with sites like Pokerstars implementing new measures to increase the rake. Information about GTO play has been heavily popularized since 2013 but the truth is that many SSNL players still have a very half-baked understanding of these concepts and are misapplying them. Given the pessimistic climate for online poker looking forward, it’s ever more important to eek out an edge over your opponents.

As a poker player, I have always disliked guessing games. I like to be certain about my decisions at the poker table. For the longest time, I was following vague guidelines and general rules-of-thumb taught by training videos and guidebooks. But finally after learning GTO play, I gained the ability to make good decisions in a logical fashion and not rely on gut feel. If you feel the same way, constantly doubting your plays, or being completely unsure on how to take your game to the next level, I welcome you to join us in this GTO course.

Payment Options

You can purchase the GTO course for $800, via one of these payment options:

Pokerstars (bmlm)
Skrill (galvin_bay@hotmail.com)
Alipay (galvin.bay@gmail.com)
Paypal (galvin_bay@hotmail.com)

Do drop me an e-mail upon purchase and I will send you the download links as soon as possible.