Inside PokerSnowie's brain reveals the work of the Snowie AI Team. It explores first hand how the brain of PokerSnowie evolves and learns advanced strategic concepts, on its own.

PokerSnowie's ultimate aim is to produce the perfectly balanced game, find the ultimate un-exploitable equilibrium for all No Limit Hold'em configurations. Join us on this fascinating journey, which is just starting, into the future of poker.

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.

How does PokerSnowie handle bet sizes?

Choosing the right bet size is an important component of the correct Game Theory approach. How does PokerSnowie handle bet sizes?

Among the many questions we receive about the inner workings of PokerSnowie, how PokerSnowie handles bet sizes must be one of the most common.

In this article, we explain how bet sizes works for PokerSnowie and what it means when you analyse your results with PokerCoach.


How does bet sizing work for PokerSnowie?

In any situation, PokerSnowie has three discrete options for choosing its bet size: 0.5 pot, 1.0 pot and 2.0 pot

This bet size depends on the specific game actions, the amounts of chips at the table, the community cards, etc… It does NOT depend, however, on the given hole cards. That means PokerSnowie chooses the bet size for its whole range of hands that it can hold at this time.


Why does the bet size not depend on the hole cards?

Imagine the following example: in a certain preflop situation you raise with AA and KK 0.5 pot (to not scare away your opponents), with your medium hands 1.0 pot (to extract good value) and with your weak hands 2.0 pot (to make the opponents fold most of the time). This strategy may work for a few hands, but once your opponents become aware of what you are doing, it is very easy for them to exploit you.

A more efficient strategy is to use just one bet size for all hands and not give away any hints about your hand strength.

Even though theoretically it can be occasionally correct to have multiple bet sizes in one situation (with different, separately balanced ranges), in practice this would be very hard to implement.


Does the bet size change the raising range?

Absolutely! PokerSnowie has different hand ranges for each bet size. PokerSnowie has learned in the following way:

a) if my bet size is 0.5 pot, what is then my raising range?

b) if my bet size is 1.0 pot, what is then my raising range?

c) if my bet size is 2.0 pot, what is then my raising range?


Only after defining those 3 ranges can the next question be asked:

d) Which bet size gives me the best EV over my whole range of hands?


What is the main difference between the raising ranges?

In general, the higher the bet size, the fewer the hands that can be used to value-raise.

A hand that is a marginal value raise with the bet size of 0.5 pot, will be called only by better hands if it is raised with a bet size of 2.0 pot, and effectively becomes a bluff at a high bet size.

The higher the bet size, the more bluff hands can be added to each value hand, because the pot odds for the opponents become less attractive with higher bet sizes.

If your bet size is 0.5 pot in the BB on preflop, for example, you should choose hands for bluffing that have enough potential when you get called. The probability of getting called is quite high, so the potential of your hand is really important.

If your bet size is higher, the priorities shift a little. If your bet size is 2.0 pot, most of the times the pot ends after your raise and the potential of the bluff hands is less important. Instead, the hands with good potential can be used for calling.

Overall, the raising ranges are constructed very differently, depending on the bet size. In general, the 2.0 pot range is much more polarized than the lower bet sizes.


Does the bet size depend on the stake level?

Yes! Whether you play $0.10/$0.20 or $10/$20 makes a huge difference with regards to the rake. The lower stakes you play, the more severe the impact of the rake. Obviously, the higher the rake impact, the more you want to end the game already on preflop (no flop no drop), so in general PokerSnowie's proposed bet sizes are higher for low stakes.


It is unusual (as of today) that players use 2.0 pot as their bet size. Why would that high bet size be correct?

PokerSnowie uses the 2.0 pot bet sizes mostly in the following situations:

-          When 2.0 pot is all-in and 1.0 pot is not all-in, there is a clear advantage for 2.0 pot: it kills the options of the opponent, he cannot re-raise anymore and is limited to fold or call.

-          When 2.0 pot is almost all-in, then the case is similar to the one above. While not killing the re-raise option completely, this bet size at least cripples the power of a re-raise.


Why is there no bet size 0.75 pot?

The available bet sizes is a design issue. In retrospective it would have been good to have also a 0.75 pot bet size, as it is a common bet size among players. On the other hand, all our simulations and calculations show that this addition would not have a significant impact on the overall performance of PokerSnowie.

However, it is planned in the future to add this bet size anyway. Unfortunately this involves quite a long training process, as not only  do we need to train the bet sizes again, we also need to train the correct ranges for a 0.75pot


Does PokerSnowie play well against unusual strategies?

The training algorithm is designed in such a way that the resulting strategy is very close to Game Theory. That means that it performs well against all kinds of counter strategies. That also includes counter strategies which use overbets, mini-bets and bet sizes between the ones that PokerSnowie proposes.


I see "Suggested bet size 1 pot" while at the same time the suggested action is a fold or a call. What does that mean?

As explained above, the bet size is chosen for the whole range of hands. This bet size is displayed for information only, even when the right action with a specific hand is not a raise.


(article based on an old version of the AI from year 2013. All the concepts are anyway still actual)

Inside PokerSnowie's brain

PokerSnowie's ultimate aim is to find the ultimate un-exploitable equilibrium for all No Limit Hold'em configurations. Join us on this fascinating journey, which is just starting, into the future of poker.