Strategy Selection for Poker
Computers are getting closer and closer to “solving” No-Limit Hold’em. They’ll figure it out at some point, and then they’ll move on to cracking more complex games like Omaha. We can learn a lot from these computers, but in the end, should we be trying to mimic their poker strategies? Maybe not. Computers can execute these strategies flawlessly, and they don’t have to worry about their bankrolls the way humans do.
Poker players have to know their limits. Even the most gifted savants will make mistakes at the table; the more complex their strategy, the more mistakes will be made. And if they play a fearless, high-variance strategy designed to milk every single dollar from the game, they’re risking their bankroll. Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, their hubris can lead to their poker downfall.
Simplifying your Poker Strategy
That’s why beginners are recommended to learn so-called ABC poker. A simplified strategy will help you avoid making large mistakes while you’re still figuring out the game. It won’t maximize your wins, but at this stage of your poker growth, minimizing your losses is twice as important. Keep your decision tree as small as possible by taking “standard” lines with your hands and folding in marginal situations. This will also keep your variance lower and protect your bankroll.
As you get better at poker and your bankroll grows bigger, you can increase the size of your decision tree to fit its new surroundings. You’ll have more room to take more “creative” lines and play higher-variance strategies while avoiding the big mistakes that most beginners make. Just make sure you’re still playing within your roll.
Even if you’ve got a computer for a brain and all the money in the world, you can still mess things up by bringing the wrong poker strategy to the table. So what if the math says you should check-raise 18.67% of the time with this hand in this position? If you’re sitting at a table of loose recreational players, you’ll be better off pruning that decision tree and playing value-heavy ABC poker. Always adjust your strategy to fit the players at the table – but more importantly, adjust your strategy to fit you.