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The Ultimate Guide to GTO Poker Solvers - 4. Which is the Best Poker Solver?
At this stage, I hope I’ve sold you on the view that you need to be using a GTO poker solver to stay ahead of the competition in 2019. The next obvious question is – there are so many solvers out there, which one should I buy? Of course there’s no one correct answer – plus things will continue to develop as the various software developers release new features, but let’s take a look at some of the more popular solvers and weigh up their pros and cons.
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.
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
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. 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.
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. 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). 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 allows preflop solving and 2 activations you can move around between machines without limit. I recommend PioSolver to every student who joins bitB Cash, and I recommend it to you too 🙂
I recommend PioSolver to every student who joins bitB Cash, and I recommend it to you too
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, but luckily for us there are more technical 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 – use the code YMB10 for 10% off at checkout if you feel like doing us (and yourself!) a favour.
You can buy pre-solved preflop solutions at https://rangeconverter.com/ and save yourself the expense of a supercomputer – use code YMB10 for 10% off
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 – you 499EUR no longer gets you any kind of software support. So probably another point for PioSolver…
Others: Simple Postflop/ GTO Range Builder etc
Full disclosure – I have never used Simple Postflop, but you can check out their 2p2 thread here if you’d like to learn more. 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.
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! (or maybe Monker) 😀
GL out there!