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The PokerSnowie Video Quiz series aims to answer the question: "what is the right play?" It is a set of poker coaching videos presented by French professional poker player Sharp. In each video, Sharp sets up an interesting hand in the "Scenarios" tool of PokerSnowie and explains how to analyse the situation and learn from PokerSnowie's advice, based on the Game Theory Optimal model.

PokerSnowie Video Quiz: Bluff catching on the river

Bluff catching on the river

How wide should the defending range be from the big blind? When to be sticky post flop, when to give up and when to check raise? Which key factors should be taken into account when bluff catching?

In today's PokerSnowie Video Quiz the hero defended his BB with some suited connectors. After bluff catching on the flop and on the turn with a pair, he is facing a third barrel on the river. Should he rather:

- Fold, because the board texture is too bad for his range?

- Call, since it is not so easy to make a pair?

- Move all in to turn his hand into a bluff?


PokerSnowie Video Quiz

Sharp is a French maths postgraduate and a probability engineer turned professional backgammon player in 1999. French number 1 for 4 years, having won all the largest Backgammon tournament titles, he moved on to Poker in 2004. He has since then built an impressive record and stands amongst the best French MTT players. Nowadays Sharp spends most of his time coaching and producing coaching videos, in particular for, where he is one of the lead instructors.



Another good vid Sharp, only problem was that the villain's bet sizing on the flop and turn were closer to pot than 50% pot. This should probably make our range stronger by the river, so are we still calling 75dd? Also, what hands are we folding on the river? I would have though 75s was close to the bottom of our getting to the river range.
Hello John and thanks for your comment. True, villain is betting bigger than Snowie would have suggest. But that’s actually favor the bluff catcher. A bet close to pot represents a range much more polarized. Villain wouldn’t bet so big for thin value with TT a Q or even a weak ace. So it doesn’t matter so much for hero to hold a Q or a 7, both hands have the same relative value. They are ahead when villain bluffed and far behind when he was for value.
On the flop and/or turn I would expect villain would bet that size with TT or a Q, giving us worse odds w 75, and 75 is def. not the same relative value as a Q on the turn. On the river 75 blocks missed draws the villain could have (65s,54s) and blocks fewer value hands (like AQ/Q8s) , so again, they aren't the same. That's not to say 75 should be a fold but Qx would be more of a call. What hands are we folding on the river?
Hello John, As I said in the video the cut off should not cbet with AQ on the flop. Against those who do I gave a different tip in the video. They are only 2 combos of Q8s, and 57 are blocking 87s in the same way. But I wont argue with you. You seem strongly convinced so I assume your experience told you that a call is not profitable against the average opponents you play against.
Hi Sharp, I'm having trouble understanding Snowie's numbes. I constructed the same scenario on Snowie. then used analysis tools to analyze player 4's decision just like you did in the videos and get the following numbers: *>Villain's range (for betting 29BB on the river - using the "Hand Range" feature): 19.25% highcard, 80.75% two pair + *>my "Hand Strength" : 0.48: which according to Snowie's help document, means that I have 24% equity aggainst villain's betting range, (since this is a heads-up pot, I just need to divide 0.48 by 2 to get my equity) *> Suggested action: to call, which should have an EV of 0.36BB (just like in your video) None of these numbers are consistent with the others: *>If Villain's betting range consists of 19.25% bluff, shouldn't my "hand strength" be 38.5? since I have exactly 19.25% equity vs. Villain's betting range. The EV of calling should then be 0.1925*71.5 + (1- 0.1925) * (-29) = -9.65 BB. Which makes calling river a big mistake. *>If my "Hand Strength" = 0.48 is correct, I have 24% equity vs Villain's betting range. How can I have this much equity against a range with only 19.25% bluff? This is the river so there's nothing that can account for this difference. Also, if we have 24% equity, calling is still a mistake as we need around 29% equity to call with that sizing ... you get the idea. This is a river decision so the interpretation should be straight forward and the numbers must be consistent with each other. It is likely that I have mis-understood these numbers some how, in this case I hope you could clarify these, doing so would greatly help us users understand the inner working of Snowie. many thanks
Hi James, In some situations there may indeed be an inconsistency between PokerSnowie's advice and the opponent's hand range. First of all it has to be noted, that the evaluation (the move advice) is NOT based on the hand range of the opponent. The evaluation is the output of a neural network and has evolved during training. The neural network has been trained over trillions of hands, against various counter-strategies. Therefore these evaluations are very robust and can be trusted most. The hand range, however, is a calculation based on the evaluations of the same neural network. All legal hole cards are considered and the evaluations are used to decide which hole cards PokerSnowie would possibly hold in a certain situation. As a consequence, the evaluation may be different than a conclusion based on the hand range of the opponent. This, unfortunately, cannot be avoided; the problem would only vanish if the neural net was a perfect calculation of GTO (and not an estimation based on pattern recognition). The hand range can be very sensitive to small changes in a previous round. Two very similar situations on the flop may lead to quite different hand ranges on the river, if a group of hands falls out of the range due to a small EV difference on the flop. Similarly, two slightly different neural nets that play almost identically may have significantly different hand ranges. Therefore: a) the right action cannot be concluded from the opponent's hand range b) the evaluations are robust whereas the hand range is sensitive c) the hand range should only be used as an indication of which hands are possible holdings
Thanks for posting another fascinating video, Sharp. I was particularly interested to see how the Q and A coming in reverse order completely changed the EV. Learning little quirks like that will help me improve my game, so thanks for helping me to think more deeply. :)
Hi Arty, and thanks for your compliments.