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.

PokerSnowie Video Quiz: Understanding GTO theory preflop with KK Under The Gun

We hold KK UTG - why open with this hand?
In the PokerSnowie quiz today, hero is sitting UTG and holds KK.
Since everybody knows already that it is correct to open, the question is: for which purpose?
1.     For value?
2.     As a bluff?
3.     To steal the blinds?
4.     Because it is likely to be the best hand?
Sharp uses the hand to illustrate the principles of GTO and preflop theory.



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.



It is chapter 21 in the Mathematics of Poker. Chris Ferguson argues similarly in the book "Poker Strategy Guide" in chapter 3. I predict that everyone will open like Snowie in a couple of years. But it still amazes me how ignorant the poker world is about Snowies impact.
Hi, Thanks for your support and the references. I read "Poker Strategy Guide" too long ago and I had forgot this was also in it.
Of course, I said #4. Kicking myself now because once you indicated the answer to be #3, I remembered a Daniel Negreanu video, where he said that ultimately, tournament poker was a battle for the blinds. And I guess that's actually been my most profitable strategy over the years: Play multi-table turbo SnG's. Play tight until the antes kick in. And then start open shoving 12BB or less to try and average more than one blinds steal per orbit. (Of course, now I've seen PokerSnowie resisting a shove, very often until his hand gets down to only 4 or 5BB, I will be taking a different approach next time I play).
Hi, I haven’t played SNGs for a while but I think raise folding is a better strategy than open shoving down to 6BB. Below that stack size I would open shove. I saw some good pro having a raise and fold range when all the stacks are 4 or 5 blinds. Also don’t forget ICM considerations are huge in SNGs. You cannot build your strategy only on Snowie recommendations. Good Luck.
you claim that MOP has some material that supports opening small from all positions and larger on the BUT. can you please provide the page numbers so i can read more about this - thanks
Hi, I am sorry I am travelling around the world and poker books are a bit heavy. Post this question on your favorite poker forum, I am sure you will be able to find someone to help. Have you tried chapter 21?
I am using Snowie for I few months and it has helped my game a lot, especially in a way of balancing my ranges. However I am not sure that raising small from early and big from button is correct (this is the only strategy I do the opposite of Snowie). Even if it is GTO, I am pretty sure it is not the optimal way in 0.5/1$ online games. However I am also skeptical Snowie preflop sizing is GTO, simply because Snowie is artificially limited by only two resizable pref-lop sizes: Half pot or full pot. I am sure at lest slightly different size would be found if other sizing would be allowed. Further on, Snowie has same limitation on later streets, so he might not be able to extra optimal value. For example what I do a lot is value betting very small on the river with 1/3 to 1/4 of pot size (mostly in position, doing the same also with very strong hands when sensing opponent is week and might bluff). This is something Snowie currently is not able to to, and it can influence play on every street - including getting more value from stealing the blinds from Buttton compared to getting vale because of playing in position. So what I think is Snowie is very close to GTO in a game where only 3 raise sizes are allowed, but I am sure some value is lost because of this limitation. I heard also that Snowie is taking rake into account - that should mean ranges are not same in small stakes, where rake is practically 5 % unlimited as it is bigger games where rake because irrelevant (higher the rake more tight play should be). Also most pro players have rakeback, so amount of rakeback should also influence what GTO is. When mentioning rake, I have another comment regarding GTO: All mathematical derivation of GTO assumes zero sum games, which Poker with rake is not. So there might be some changes in strategy where both players might benefit (any decrease in paying the rake would do that) and that might have some serious implications on GTO mathematics (is there necessarily Nash equilibrium in such a case)?
Hi Sreco, About the preflop sizes preflop and PokerSnowie's limitation to 3 betting sizes I agree with your points. However, we noticed that there is only quite a small difference in terms of EV over the whole hand range in most cases, whether the bet size is 0.5 pot or 1.0 pot. The reason is, that the ranges for each bet size are different. Even though a different bet size may in theory be better, our analysis suggests that PokerSnowie's performance would not change much by introducing more bet sizes. It is also clear that against online opposition non-GTO bet sizes may be more appropriate, given the playing style of the opponents. That's a good direction to exploit the opponents without giving up your balance. The rake is an important part of poker, especially at low limits. That is why we incorporated different rake levels into PokerSnowie's brain. PokerSnowie plays tighter and more aggressive at low stakes, due to the rake. If you are concerned about the rake-back, you could set up a position at a slightly higher stake than you usually play, where the rake is proportionally the same as the rake at the lower stake including rake-back. Then you can examine the difference in strategy due to your rake-back. Johannes Levermann
For years, I was using a strategy of raising bigger in EP and smaller in LP, and I recommended beginners did the same, so I was surprised to see Snowie uses the opposite style (smaller raises in EP/MP, pot on the button) but now I understand the reasons why and have altered my play somewhat. Thanks for another great strategy lesson! I'm looking forward to the next one.
I do not understand resons for raising small early and bigger on later position. Can you explain?
Hi Sreco As I said in the video all the point to raise small is to be able to open with a larger range. It is a sort of pot control thing; we don’t want to build big pot when we are out of position. If you don’t feel comfortable to play with a large range from early position, you should keep on raising big. On the button we are now sure to be on position and we can raise with a larger size. The idea is to not give good odds to the player in big blind. If your opponents are not defending correctly it is fine to raise small in order to be able to steal their blinds with a larger range.
Hello Arty, Thanks for your comment. If I was coaching a beginner, I would recommend him to start opening with a tight range, in order to avoid difficult situations post flop and then to open with big sizing. I wanted to warn you it is very difficult to transition and opening small from early position. People wont call or 3bet with same ranges. And if you open with a large range from early position you will have to check on a lot of flops. If you had built your game with big sizing upfront and small sizing in late position, even if it is sub optimal, it is perfectly fine and you can still be balance. It might even be a better plan at some limits. I will discuss this in a future video.