1. Raise more from the Small Blind
One common mistake that a ton of players make is not defending enough from the Big Blind. Many players will additionally fail to raise enough from the Big Blind, after the Small Blind limps to them. GTO ranges (available in the Tournament Masterclass) show us that the Big Blind should be raising around 41% of their range when the Small Blind limps to them. Now, do you really see players raising this much at low/midstakes?
No, of course not!
Most players at these stakes play very conservatively in the Big Blind, rarely attacking Small Blind limps/raises unless they have a premium hand.
If we think critically about GTO ranges, they start to make a lot of sense. You as the Big Blind are going to be in position on the Small Blind throughout the entire hand, so you can raise and barrel off across runouts effectively with a wider range of hands.
Most players will fail to do this properly, checking behind and playing way too passively out of the Big Blind. They won’t know how to attack you effectively when you start raising more out of the Small Blind. If we know that they will only be raising us with premium hands, and will be overfolding when they have air, we can begin to attack their Big Blind very effectively by raising much more often.
2) Flatting Too Many Hands In Early Position and Middle Position
According to strict GTO principles, we should always be able to find bluffs to balance our value bets right?
However, most players at low to mid stakes are, in one way or another, calling stations. Let’s break this down real quick. When your average low/midstakes player has a decently strong made hand (two pair+) they will not want to fold their hand! This is because most players at these stakes haven’t put a ton of study into dissecting their relative hand strength.
They will have a hard time recognizing spots where you have an incredibly strong range, and will call down more often than they should. This means you will get paid off by these players when you have a very strong hand, but you’ll rarely get them to fold when you are bluffing.
The easy exploit?
Value bet more often, shut down with your bluffs. Deviating from a balanced GTO strategy will be incredibly effective, since they will most likely not notice that you are heavily weighted towards value bets. They’ll keep calling when you have it, and you can just shut down in some situations where you may have tried to bluff a stronger opponent.
3) C-bet aggressively when you have the range advantage
Many players at low/midstakes don’t even know whether they have the range advantage or not, so this one is a no brainer. When you have the stronger range on the flop, you can c-bet even more than GTO tells us to!
This is because your opponents will rarely notice that you’re exploiting them and will tend to over-fold when they don’t have anything. This tactic will literally print you money in some situations where your opponents are just not meeting the Minimum Defense Frequency required.
When you hit a favorable flop for your range, not only should you be c-betting at an extremely high frequency (sometimes 100%), but you should be sizing up a bit larger than you might be used to. You want to give your opponent every reason to let go of their hand on the flop. You can mix these larger bet sizings between value hands as well as bluffs, because your opponents will be much less likely to check-raise you with bluffs. If they aren’t going to punish you for it, might as well bet big!
Now, at first it might be a little uncomfortable to c-bet big with a crappy backdoor draw on a favorable board for you. However, you will quickly start to notice that some opponents will simply keep check/folding to your aggression, allowing you to easily capitalize and scoop the pot.
Long before solvers and GTO, aggressive poker was the key to success and parts of that strategy work as well now as they did back then. Incorporating a high frequency c-bet strategy is an easy way to capitalize on population mistakes.