What Is a Solver in Poker?


Many professional players suggest that if a person wants to improve in poker, the best way is to play more hands. However, the game has evolved so much that math and probabilities are becoming more complicated for many players. Solvers saw a spike in its popularity because it’s useful in learning faster and efficiently analyzing situations.

Solvers are poker programs that can provide you with game theory optimal solutions to various situations. It uses enormous computing power that provides different recommended actions to a poker player. The user can look at the results and take note of all the recommendations as a future reference.

Due to the simplicity of the term that we use to call it, solvers misled many players to think that it would provide them with the perfect game plan. We’ll discuss the truth about these programs and provide you with detailed insights into whether they can be useful for you.

PokerSnowie is a poker solver.
PokerSnowie is just one out of the popular poker solvers.

Understanding Poker Solvers

One of the programs that we’re using today is a poker solver. It analyzes a user-inputted scenario to provide a user with game theory optimal solutions. In simple terms, it helps a player understand the “optimal” way of playing his range, using the bets and actions at the table.

Many players are using it because poker is becoming more complicated, making it harder to analyze and win. Through the years, we’ve learned that poker can be the most complicated game because of the ambiguity that it creates on the table.

When you’re playing Texas Hold’em, no game will ever be solved. That’s because there are factors that humans use in making decisions that are beyond what any software can calculate. It can be a misleading term for many new players, so we’re using optimal solutions to describe what it does, instead of solving a poker game.

No software is capable of calculating emotions and intuitions—the two most common factors that new players and, sometimes, even professionals use when making decisions.

Different people will play situations differently, making it impossible for any computer program or person to solve a poker game. 

The Trend of Using Poker Solvers

When players learned about poker solvers, many were quick to jump into the bandwagon. They started using poker solvers because of the promised “perfect game.” A poker solver can indeed provide you with game theory optimal plays for every scenario, improving your strategies.

Simple postflop solutions poker solver can be used with weaker computers.
Simple Postflop Solutions works even with weaker computers.

However, computer programs aren’t capable of understanding the complex decision-making processes of a person. That’s why the suggestions that poker solvers provide aren’t necessarily intuitive. The only thing that it can do is harness computing power to provide users tips that they can use as a reference when playing various situations.

Professionals were quick to point out that poker solvers can be misleading, and they won’t be using it as their only reference when studying various spots. It’s a program that can provide accurate calculations, but most of the suggestions that it’ll provide are beyond the standards of how a person should play.

Can You Use Poker Solvers to Play Better?

Poker solvers are highly efficient in providing you with game theory optimal solutions, and anyone can use it to improve as a player. It can help you gain valuable insights with how you should play each hand. Many of these are things that an average person might miss when reviewing histories.

Poker solver is a useful tool that can help you play better, but you should never use it as your sole reference when studying. In fact, many professionals advise new players to focus on learning the fundamentals instead of relying on solvers to improve. Those who are using poker solvers, including us, only use it as one of our references.

There are many reasons why poker has become one of the most popular games globally, and being predictable isn’t one of them. If you’re only going to use game theory optimal solutions to learn the game, solvers suggest that you only play strong hands.

There’s nothing wrong with it, and you definitely should play strong hands because that’s where the money is in poker. However, it also suggests that playing low-value cards (bluffing) isn’t an optimal strategy (and then over bluffing in some spots, where opponents only bet for value). One of the reasons is because solvers aren’t capable of taking into account the intuition of other players.

GTO poker sovler with nash equilibrium.
GTO poker solver uses Nash Equilibrium.

Bluffing is an integral part of poker because it makes you unpredictable. It keeps your opponents guessing whether you’re value betting or bluffing, making it easier to cash in on your value bets.

Using poker solvers will help you play better, as long as you have the right fundamentals. However, if you’re only going to rely on the suggestions that it provides, your plays will be very predictable. If you want to play against the world’s best poker players, your game should be a combination of taking calculated risks, bluffs, and value bets.

It’ll be more effective if you simply use poker solvers as a reference in certain spots, but never as something that dictates how you play the game.

Best Solvers That You Can Use

Poker solvers can help you improve as a player, but not all of them are created equal. If you want to get the most out of solvers, you need to use something that efficiently calculates each hand and provides you with every possible play.

Introduction to PIO Solver and overview of features.

Here’s a quick list of the solvers that most players are using as their reference when studying:

  • PIOSolver – one of the fastest and most flexible solvers in the market. It allows you to study post-flop spots with arbitrary starting ranges, bet sizes, and stack sizes. You can even define the accuracy that it uses to consider intuition and oversight that players might make while playing.
  • GTO+ – uses Nash equilibrium strategies for studying post-flop plays. It allows you to create decision trees, graphs for various plays, and import files for analysis. GTO+ offers the most user-friendly interface, making it easier to use it as a reference for every hand that you play.
  • Simple Postflop Solutions – is one of the few poker solvers that adapts to the device’s computing power. Whether you’re using a weak or powerful computer, you can create local calculations for various situations, including EV and equity. It’ll even allow you to calculate game theory optimal solutions in pre-flop!
  • PokerSnowie – is an AI-powered training program that keeps track of the cash games that you’re playing. Whether you’re an intermediate or professional, it can provide you with strategies that you can use for your games. It adapts to your style of play and learns from your past games, allowing you to improve your strategy quickly.

These poker solvers are the best that you can use to play better, but it won’t help you play a “solved game.” You can use them as a reference but never as a tool to determine how you play games. 

Conclusion

A solver is a poker tool that uses game theory optimal solutions to show you the best ways to play in various situations. You can use it to improve as a player if you already have intermediate-level skills in poker. However, if you’re only starting to learn the game, it would be best to focus on learning the fundamentals.

Unpredictability is one of the things that made poker one of the best games that you can play. If you’re going to use solvers as your sole reference and allow it to dictate how you should play, you’ll be very predictable and easier to beat. That’s why it’s always advisable to use a combination of game theory and intuition if you want to become a better poker player.

Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

Recent Content