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What does playing balanced mean in tournament Poker ?

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  • What does playing balanced mean in tournament Poker ?

    I do understand that you should have on rivers some value hands and some bluffs to be balanced, which ratio depending on stack size

    I do understand that you not should change your open raising size / 3 bet size based on your hand strength

    I do understand that you should have value hands and semi bluffs in your betting range to be balanced

    I do understand that you should have marginal made hands and complete junk and some draws with showdown value in your checking range to be balanced

    Does playing Nash Equilibrium wise in short stack tournament poker also have something to do with balance ? Or does it refer to being "preflop GTO?"

    In another thread people say JL teaches kind of balance poker but with exploitative elements when the weaknesses of villian are well known ......

    What does playing balanced mean in tournament Poker ?

    How are you making the distinction to GTO ?

  • #2
    Ed Miller wrote in Poker 1% the following ratios, which Jonathan has adopted in his teachings:

    Flop ratio 2:1 bluffs:value
    Turn ratio 1:1
    River ratio 2:1 value:bluffs

    The reason for these ratios is that keeping more bluffs in on the flop and turn than balance it would allow you to have enough hands to bluff for balance on the river. If you bet 1/2 pot on the river the 2:1 ratio is perfectly balanced. So any other bet reasonable close to 1/2 pot say 2/3 pot or 1/3 pot should be relatively close to balanced with a 2:1.


    • #3
      My two cent view , balance and GTO difference, GTO is balance in some way , but balance is far from GTO, balance means like what you say you have a number of value hand ,and bluff hand when you play in this way or check this hand, GTO is trying to reach Game theory Optimal , optimal is trying to reach the right or nearest frequency , maybe in certain spot you have your bluff hand and value hand but you are heavily towards value or heavily towards bluff, while GTO have the so call exact right frequency of bluff and value hand so that it can prevent exploit you by overcalling ,overfolding or overraising , and my personal view on MTT we shall not focus too much of GTO in MTT unless you are a famous player that player are targeting you . in the MTT no one is playing you long enough to know that how unbalance you are, of course if villain or opponent know that you are unbalance you are in a very bad spot


      • #4
        Playing balanced is a method to hide hand strength when playing against good players. As skill goes up, villains ability to read hero also increases so structural deception has to be built into game play. This creates a non- card dependent dynamic that is as hard to read as it is to execute.

        Until you get deep into 50t online and 400 live tourneys, don't worry about it.


        • Paul Khoo
          Paul Khoo commented
          Editing a comment
          i think anything less then 1 k buy in live mtt do not need to worried that ,

      • #5
        The reality of the situation is not the buy in amount. It is the thinking level of the opponent. The multi-level thinking theory is presented in this article:

        Basically, level 0 is the new player who barely knows the rules.

        Level 1 thinking is when the players think about their own hand and how it relates to the board.

        Level 2 thinking are the players who are able to put you on a range of hands. This is where I think things start getting murky. My thoughts are that not everyone who attempts to hand read is a level 2 thinker. If the player is attempting to hand read, but is doing it poorly, he is not a level 2 thinker to me. Let's say this is level 1.5 instead.

        But anyway, the good level 2 thinker is the target for a range analysis and balance.

        Thinking about your range and balance is level 3 poker. Level 3 and above is where the range versus range dynamics start showing up. As the article states, you should attempt to play 1 level above your opponent. If your opponent is a level 2 thinker, balance makes it hard for him to nail down your range.

        Why do I say this. Buy in is not the indicator for when you balance. Combating a level 2 opponent is the criteria. You can find some level 2 thinkers in daily MTTs. Granted the higher the buy in the greater the number of the player population will be playing level 2 and above.

        So my point is that even at the lowest levels you might run into a good player who is playing his way up.

        But there is the other side of the coin, if you never need to use these skills in your games is it worth learning? Yes it is. To me exploitation starts with knowing where the baseline is set. Exploitation comes from unbalancing your ranges in one direction or the other. But to unbalance and to have a feel for how much you are unbalancing, you need to know where the balance point is to start with.
        Last edited by jjpregler; 12-23-2018, 05:24 AM.


        • #6
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          • MrFuss
            MrFuss commented
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            flagged for spam