Poker is a game that continues to evolve, and in order to keep pace with the changes, players have consistently been on the lookout for new ways to improve their strategy and gameplay.
In the past, the top poker pros would normally adopt an aggressive approach which included reading their opponents at the table and using bluffs to defeat their opponents. But as the game of poker evolved and the stakes went higher, modern players have abandoned the traditional strategies claiming they no longer work effectively in high-level competition.
Modern Players Prefer GTO
Modern poker pros are more inclined to using game theory optimal (GTO) play, a new strategy that focuses on poker mathematics, enabling players to become stronger at the table and shake of many of their vulnerabilities which in the past could be easily exploited.
A number of highly successful poker pros rely heavily on the GT strategy. Some of them include German poker star Fedor Holz and his fellow countryman four-time WSOP bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche.  Both players have recently established their own poker training platforms – Holz started Pokercode with his friend Matthias Eibinger, while Nitsche developed the poker coaching app DTO Poker with his student Markus Prinz.
Pokercode and DTO Poker share a similar goal, which is to teach players about GTO, how to incorporate it into their respective strategies, and how the method can significantly improve their win rates. The GTO concept revolves around crafting solutions for any given situation by analyzing frequencies relating to bluffs, folds, raises, calls, etc. A GTO-based strategy allows players to arrive at the best possible solution to any given spot.
The Risks Related to GTO
GTO’s widespread popularity has given rise to the development of solvers, charts, and other tools that aid players in making decisions at the table. This has become a cause for concern for some as these programs can potentially be used as a way to gain an illicit advantage against other players. Online poker in particular is more prone to these scenarios. In fact, a cheating scandal has recently erupted involving the use of solvers in online cash games.
The controversy resulted in GGPoker banning a total of 80 accounts found to be using real time analysis (RTA), with over $1 million in funds confiscated. While many were delighted with the move, some expressed doubt over how effective GGPoker would be in banning the use of RTA, since RTA also includes the use of starting hand charts.
Nitsche also raised this issue in a recent tweet, saying it would be impossible for GGPoker to strictly enforce the RTA ban, given that around 90% of its user base was using pre-flop range charts.
Partypoker ambassador Patrick Leonard responded, saying that the ban should work as players would now hesitate to use the charts in the middle of their games as they know that GGPoker is taking action. The fact of the matter is that it is going to be very difficult for any online poker room to ensure that their online players are not using RTA.
Negreanu Against Polk Using RTA
Meanwhile, GTO has also become the subject of Daniel Negreanu’s latest social media outburst against his long-time rival Doug Polk. The two are set to take part in a highly-anticipated heads-up grudge match which kicks off on November 1.
Negreanu is against Polk’s demand to use a cheat sheet for the upcoming match. The Canadian poker pro has agreed to play against Polk under the latter’s set of conditions. Negreanu suggests the battle should just take place live so Polk cannot use a cheat sheet.
A number of the old poker pros have fallen behind in recent years as their old strategies don’t seem to work very well in the online poker arena. However, the modern poker pros who use a GTO strategy to win at online poker games have also taken some of that confidence and done well at the live tables.
For now, it looks like GTO is here to stay and those players that shun it are going to fall behind.

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