Poker Strategy: What Is Exploitative Poker?

Poker is an absolute staple in casinos all over the world. Many host high-stakes poker tournaments and cash games with absurd prize pools and buy-ins. Poker is also popular among casuals, either online poker from home or physical poker with friends. Part of the reason why poker is so ubiquitous is its simplicity. Anybody can learn poker quickly, requiring minimal setup, especially online. The luck aspect of poker sometimes causes beginners to believe they could get a lucky win in a high-stakes tournament, similar to winning the lottery. It may be surprising to know that this notion is completely wrong.

Despite being very beginner-friendly, poker is undoubtedly a game of skill. The best poker players know how to make a consistent profit, regardless of their luck swings. Poker strategy is complex and intricate, as poker is often known for taking minutes to learn yet years to master. Since poker has been around for almost two centuries, strategy has greatly evolved. Today, we will look at one of the two main types of strategy: Exploitative poker. This poker guide will review the pros and cons, along with tips on using this strategy in your games.

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Exploitative poker

Exploitative poker is one of the two main types of poker strategy and is the counterpart of GTO poker. GTO stands for “game theory optimal” and is considered the least exploitable poker style. You play an incredibly well-balanced range, so it is hard for your opponents to find weaknesses in your strategy. In contrast, exploitative poker does not focus on proper balance. Instead, it is based on reading your opponents and molding your plan to exploit their weaknesses.

A great analogy would be a game of rock-paper-scissors. A GTO strategy would be to play each option one-third of the time, meaning their style of play is solid and hard to exploit. An exploitative process would instead involve analyzing the opponent and choosing options based on this information. Against opponents who like to play scissors, you might decide to play rock 50% of the time and the other options only 25% of the time. You get to win more against that particular opponent, but you risk getting exploited.

Benefits of exploitative poker

Exploitative poker can be a powerful strategy when performed correctly. It shines against inexperienced players, who often make mistakes you can use to your advantage. Some benefits of exploitative poker include:

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Common leaks to exploit:

In poker, leaks are mistakes that consistently cost you money, akin to “leaking” it out. Exploitative poker is built on finding these leaks, so here are a few examples you might spot in your games:

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Play poker online

We hope this article taught you how to play poker in the exploitative style. This style comes with risk and can be challenging to learn, so you must practice on sites GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Online poker can be convenient for playing exploitative poker because of access to poker trackers and heads-up displays (HUDs). They display invaluable information like the F3 (fold to 3-bet) percentage mentioned earlier for both you and your opponents. You get to plug your leaks and identify your opponents’ leaks. While most poker software is paid, GGPoker offers free poker trackers and HUDs to every user who signs up. Sign up at GGPoker today!