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The Ultimate Guide to GTO Poker Solvers - 4. Which is the Best Poker Solver?
You should now realise you need to be using a GTO poker solver to stay ahead of the competition in 2020. The obvious next question is – there are so many out there, which is the best poker solver software? Which poker solver should I buy? This article reviews the best poker solvers currently on the market, and compares advanced poker software to figure out which is best. We start with a review of PioSolver, the market leader, and compare it to MonkerSolver, GTO+, Jesolver, Pokersnowie and Simple GTO. Read on to discover which is the best poker solver!
PioSolver.com – Price $249 to $1,099
I feel it would be remiss of me to start a discussion of GTO poker solvers software with anything other than PioSolver. Over the last few years, ‘Pio’ has become synonymous with solvers in general, to the point where nearly all mid and highstakes professionals I know frequently use the verb ‘to Pio’ a hand the same way people use ‘to Google’ a topic. I distinctly remember seeing PioSolver advertised for sale on 2p2 in early 2015 and instantly recognising that poker study would now necessarily undergo a revolution, as GTO postflop solutions could easily be generated on any generic laptop. This level of certainty had never been within reach before, common knowledge at the time was that poker was too complicated a game to ever be solved programmatically – the best you could hope was to ask a few of your friends for their opinions on a hand, but now all of a sudden you could run simulations to determine with certainty the best strategy in a given situation.
From the outset, Pio gave users the most control over their simulations, allowing users to easily setup scripts with the software and to run aggregate reports over the results without any restriction. Over the years, the head developer Piotr and his right hand man Kuba (based out of Poland) have continued to stay on the cutting edge of what is possible with poker solvers, pioneering (pun intended 😀 ) preflop solving via the use of weighted flop subsets which closely approximate the full game. More recently they’ve released support for pre and postflop scenarios with ICM considerations taken into account, which is a large help if you play tournament formats. The layout of the software is intuitive, it is easy to setup and navigate complex trees and the interface is attractive right out of the box. My experiences with support have been universally excellent, plus there’s an active Discord group who are normally happy to help with any problems you run into.
I recommend PioSolver to every student who joins bitB Cash, and I recommend it to you too 🙂
Which PioSolver to buy?
There are 4 license options in total. Firstly, there is a free version which solves for turn and river situations only, making it of limited use for drawing strategic conclusions, but handy if you want to get a feel for how the software operates. PioSolver Basic is $249, is limited to a maximum of 6 process threads, and does not allow users to script (i.e. set up large sets of simulations for solving over a longer timeframe, see below). The Pro version is $475 allows 2 activations, great if you have both a desktop and a laptop or want to set up on a rented solver, while PioSolver Edge ($1,099) allows preflop solving and 2 activations you can move around between machines without limit.
You can choose to save your solutions in one of three ways – the full tree, without rivers or flops only. If you save the full tree, the files will be very large (around 10x as large as without rivers). The advantage of this is that you can node lock and run aggregate reports on river nodes quickly and easily. Saving without rivers means that PioViewer will generate the river results in real time (‘on the fly’), which takes fractions of a second, but these types of save are less useful for node-locking and aggregate reports. Flop only saves are tiny, but you’ll need to wait a few seconds for each turn node to solve on the fly.
Best Computer for PioSolver
Running PioSolver sims requires two forms of computing resources. The maximum size of the sim you can run is determined by your computer’s available RAM. In order to run a complicated spot (i.e. one with wide ranges, many betsize options and lots of money in player’s stacks relative to the pot) you might need as much as 12GB per sim.
The speed the sims get solved with is determined by your computer’s processing power. More threads is generally better, you can test the speed of your PioSolver installation by running the ‘benchmark’ command through the terminal.
Does PioSolver work on Mac?
Yes it does – you’ll need to run it through Parallels or Bootcamp. It is recommended to try the free version first to make sure you can get it working.
PioSolver scripting works by taking the simulation you’ve built (preflop ranges, stack sizes, bet size options etc) and running it repeatedly over different boards. You can either input which boards you want manually, or you can use one of the many subsets that come pre-loaded. You’ll need at least the pro version to run a script.
PioSolver Preflop Ranges
By default, PioSolver comes with only a few generic preflop ranges pre-saved. To run your own preflop sims, you’ll need the edge version of the software (plus considerable computing power, usually for several days). Or, you can skip all that and buy our PioSolver Masterclass Endboss Package, which comes with 39 treebuilding parameters based off highly accurate preflop sims. This way, you can save yourself $850 on the license cost, plus the time and hassle of setting up and running the sims, and you get a complete walk-through of all the features of PioSolver. For $247, it’s a no-brainer 🙂
MonkerWare.com – Price: € 499
MonkerSolver is one of the newer GTO solvers on the scene, launched in February 2017. To the best of my knowledge, MonkerSolver was the first to support multiway solving (i.e. postflop situations with 3 players or more). This innovation also allowed multiway preflop solving, a considerable step forward for us 6max grinders as suddenly (albeit with numerous quite considerable abstractions) it was possible to simulate and find optimal preflop ranges for a large proportion of spots. This requires an enormous amount of computing power, not to mention technical know-how, but luckily for us there are more computer-savvy people who have setup and run these simulations on the extremely powerful hardware that is able to run them. You can find these guys over at RangeConverter.com where there are a heap of preflop solutions available for sale for many game types – use the code YMB10 for 10% off at checkout if you feel like doing us (and yourself!) a favour. Of course, if you’re looking for 6max NLHE solutions, the you can find them right here as part of our PioSolver Masterclass EndBoss Package.
Pot Limit Omaha Poker Solver
MonkerSolver was also the first solver to support PLO simulations. Again this required some abstraction to greatly reduce the number of preflop combinations that are possible, but no doubt it created a substantial change for those warriors brave enough to play NLHE + 2 cards 😀
For my money, the tree builder and viewer aren’t as visually appealing as PioSolver, but I do like their simple pricing structure – € 499 gets you an unrestricted license for both NL and PLO solving.
Update 30th Aug 2019 – So, it seems as though the author of MonkerWare is done with the project – your 499EUR no longer gets you any kind of software support. So probably another point for PioSolver…
Other Advanced Poker Solvers
Simple GTO Trainer
Full disclosure – I have never used Simple Postflop Solver, but you can check out their 2p2 thread here if you’d like to learn more. I have, however, used Simple GTO Trainer. For $199/year you get the ability to load your PioSolver or Simple Postflop solution trees into a simple interface, and ‘play’ hands/nodes. The software shows you where you made different from GTO choices, which is great especially if you’re learning a new variant. The limitation of this software is that it doesn’t tell you anything about how your actual opponents are likely to play and therefore how you should play different from GTO.
I should also mention that these days, when I want to run a preflop sim, I send the spot to a friend who runs it through Simple Preflop. They use some kind of compression/abstraction which means the spots run considerably quicker without a meaningful decrease in accuary.
GTO+ vs PioSolver
I briefly had a look at GTO Range Builder when it first came out, but I didn’t like that solutions were stored in the cloud rather than on my machine locally – not much point in running simulations when you don’t know for sure that you’ll still have access to them down the line.
I also bought Jesolver around 6 months ago in preparation for running a large batch of sims to a project with BitB Cash. Jesolver is a solver only – it’s built to work with the solution view that comes with PioSolver, but uses a different algorithm to solve to high accuracy several times faster than PioSolver itself. It cost me $499, the developer accepts Bitcoin only and does not offer any support at all. The solutions generated do converge much more quickly than Pio, but I’ve noticed they can be quite buggy – randomly becoming unreadable as you navigate the tree. In addition to this, you can’t open a Jesolver solution with the PioSolver, so I couldn’t really share my sims with anyone. Overall I couldn’t recommend the software in it’s current state, which is a shame as it feels like this add-on is an update or two away from being an excellent enhancement for Pio.
PokerSnowie vs PioSolver
PokerSnowie is a slightly different kind of software to PioSolver. PokerSnowie is essentially a massive preflop sim, which uses fixed betsizes both preflop and postflop, across any and all board textures. For this reason it’s use in high level poker analysis nowadays is very limited – the game has evolved and people have realised that specific types of board textures require radically different betsize options than the defaults used by PokerSnowie. I would not recommend buying PokerSnowie or making substantial changes to your game based upon it.
Conclusion: What is the Best Poker Solver?
That’s it for today, hope you enjoyed this overview of the GTO poker solver market – do drop me a comment if you feel I’ve missed something or if this article was any use to you 🙂
Cliffs: Buy Pio, either basic or Pro license depending on whether you want to run scripts. Also, buy our PioSolver Masterclass Endboss Package 😀
GL out there!