The Ultimate Guide to GTO Poker Solvers – 6. Six Ways to Study More Efficiently With PioSolver

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The Ultimate Guide to GTO Poker Solvers - 6. Six Ways to Study More Efficiently With PioSolver

Today we wrap up my mini article series, modestly titled the ultimate guide to GTO poker solvers. It’s my hope that this article will be the most valuable to you of them all, as we explore some often overlooked ways to get more value from your poker solver study sessions. I’ve identified 6 features of PioSolver (my own weapon of choice) that players typically don’t think to use, some of which took me years to find and start using regularly. Let’s dive in!

1. Strategy and EV

The magical strategy and EV button in PioSolver

You’ve set up a simulation in hopes of improving your strategy. You want to know whether you should fold, call or raise a specific combo, so you run the sim and you find out. You’re finished here right? Far from it. Always, always, always, check the EVs. In my opinion this is the single most valuable button in the solution viewer, yet most beginning users don’t think to click it. The strategy and EV button still shows you the frequency that Pio wants to take each action, but it also shows you the EV of each action. This allows you to quantify how good or bad the options are, relative to one another. If you’re using the 1BB = 10 chips convention, the EV of call in this spot with KQcc is 13bb higher than the EV of fold. The EV of all 3 options is roughly the same with KQhh. Paying attention to the EV of different options allows you to quantify the errors you’re making, plus it helps inform your guesswork with regards to exploitation. It’s worth noting that the EV differences between options are typically very small on the flop, and very large on the river. This makes sense because hands don’t change in relative value after the river is dealt.

Not all mistakes are equal. Your river fold might’ve been 0.1bb worse than calling, or it might’ve been 10bb worse. Hitting the Strategy and EV button will help you develop intuition for what is close (and therefore more likely to be a spot where you can deviate from what Pio suggests to exploit your villain) and what is not.

2. Range Explorer

Let’s say you’re playing some spot and the turn completes a flush draw. Which player’s range contains a higher proportion of flush? What proportion of their betting range should be a flush? Or, how often should a flush bet/check?

All of these high level questions can be answered using Range Explorer.

Range Explorer

3. Runouts EV Comparison (Hotness)

Clicking through nodes in PioSolver doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Firstly, did you know that you can hold CTRL and navigate Up/Down card ranks, and Left/Right to change suits? Or you can view all possible runouts using the hotness tool (CTRL + H).

Pio’s Runouts EV Comparison (Hotness)
EV Comparison Example

Using this feature, we can quickly see which turns are going to be bets, for what size and at what frequency all within one view. You can see here that a high heart is a bet for a small size just 15% of the time, 85% check, while a low brick uses a big sizing around 55% of the time and a small bet never. This is the only where you can see a strategy overview across all runouts, and therefore focus in on those that are most surprising to you.

4. Turn Solves (Subtree Configuration)

This is a feature I often use when evaluating a low frequency, big pot, big stacks line I’ve taken – such as single raised pot overbet flop or check/raise flop. You’re happy with your flop heuristics, but you want much more detail and/or accuracy on how to play that range on the turn/river. You can sidestep letting the whole simulation run to more accuracy by creating a subtree configuration.

This allows you to focus in on one particular part of the tree and solve to near perfect accuracy in seconds. In this way you can test the effectiveness and value of different strategic options, without having to wait minutes per iteration.

5. Parameters

Especially useful if you have saved preflop ranges you use repeatedly, PioSolver gives you the option to save your tree structure parameters for re-use later. This can save you a whole lot of repeated range inputting, box-ticking and typing out of betsize options.

6. Scripting

Last but by no means least, there’s scripting. You’ll need at least a pro license to use this feature, but I’d estimate over 90% of the sims I run are run via a script. Rather than setting up your parameters, clicking ‘Go’ and waiting for the results to generate, scripting allows you to send instructions to the solver sequentially. This means you can set up 5 or 10 or 1,755 simulations to run one after the other, and let your machine do the heavy lifting for you while you’re off eating caviar.

If you’re happy with your tree structure and you’d like to run simulations across a bunch of different flop textures, scripting is really the only way to go. In the script generation panel you can choose to generate X random flops, load a pre-installed preflop subset which closely approximates the full game, or shoot for the stars and go for the magic number, 22100 flops i.e. the full game. You can also set the accuracy, choose how much of your solutions to save (it’s worth noting that full saves are around 10x bigger than small saves, which delete all river nodes in favour of solving them on the fly), specify where to save them and set up a break between solves if your machine is prone to overheating. Scripting is a super powerful feature when used correctly, but my advice for those new to solving is to start small and focus on learning as much as you can per solve, rather than trying to solve everything ahead of time.

And so concludes the ultimate guide to GTO poker solvers article series! I’ve enjoyed writing these articles surprisingly much, and I hope you enjoyed reading them. If you feel like giving something back, leave us a comment, or share this article around with any other poker enthusiasts you think might get something from it. I’m going to keep writing articles, so in particular if there’s a topic you’d like to see me write about, do let me know.

Thirsty for more poker knowledge? Check out my new article on The Best 6 Poker Books in 2019.

GL out there!


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