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I was recently reviewing the hands of one of my new students who plays primarily $1/$3 no-limit cash games in live, local casinos. Today I will share with you a mistake he made that many amateur poker players make on a regular basis.

Exploitative Play vs GTO

Passive Exploitation

Does GTO play make money vs bad players?

In a HU situation, if one player is playing optimally vs a suboptimal opponent, any deviation the weaker player makes away from GTO to a worse strategy can only cost him value, which will in turn be gained by the optimal player. This phenomenon is called passive exploitation because the optimal player does not have to do anything besides play his equilibrium strategy to gain extra Ev from the suboptimal player.


Bet Sizing, Part 2

In my last article, we talked about bet sizing, and how you want to skew your bets either larger or smaller, based on your opponent’s inelastic calling or folding ranges.

I gave the example of an opponent who would be indifferent to any c-bet size between $10 and $20 (would always call if he hit the flop, always fold otherwise). In this case, want to c-bet closer to $20 with strong hands, and closer to $10 with weak hands. In the long run, this will earn us more money with our value hands, and save us money with our bluffs.

I was recently told about an interesting scenario that causes headaches for many amateur poker players. In a micro-stakes $.05/$.10 cash game, the player in the hijack seat raised to $.30 out of his $10 effective stack and our Hero 3-bet from the button to $.90 with K-K.

I was recently told about a hand that illustrates a common bet sizing mistake that many amateur poker players make on a regular basis. In a $2/$5 nine-handed cash game with $575 effective stacks, first position, third position, lojack, hijack, and small blind all limped. Hero checked J8 from the big blind.

Book Excerpts

To Solve or not to Solve

We are delighted to announce that the forthcoming book The Pursuit of Poker Success by leading poker journalist Lance Bradley is now at the printers. This is a fascinating book and a must-read for anyone who is interested in how the greatest players in poker achieved their success.

If there was no betting in poker and players were forced to go all-in every hand, the expected value for each player would be their hand equity times the pot.


Example: In a gambling HU game each player has to ante $100, and there is no future betting, Player1 gets dealt 44, and player gets 98 What is each player’s expected payoff?


Encouraging a Tell

Here at D&B we are very excited about the new book (Excelling at Live Poker) that Alex Fitzgerald is currently working on. Alex’s previous book, The Myth of Poker Talent received rave reviews and explained in great detail exactly how poker situations should be analysed.


I was recently told about a hand from one of my students that illustrates a detrimental flaw in the strategy of many amateur poker players. In a $20 buy-in online tournament with blinds at 20/40 with a 5 ante, everyone folded to a tight, aggressive player in middle position who raised to 80 out of his 1,200 effective stack. Our Hero decided to call on the button with 98. Everyone else folded.

Game Theory Non-Optimal Play

With the current availability of powerful poker solvers such as PokerSnowie and Pio Solver, much poker theory nowadays revolves around Game Theory Optimal (GTO) play. These are all good and fine for establishing a solid baseline to play from. However, sticking rigidly to a GTO-style could mean that you are missing out on some very profitable opportunities.

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