Charlie Carrel is No Fan of GTO

5 months ago
Charlie Carrel is No Fan of GTO
08:44
06 Sep

GTO vs exploitative play - one of the biggest questions of modern poker. British poker pro Charlie Carrel weighed in on the subject with a heavily worded video title.

Dany Parlafes folds the second nut straight against Ognyan Dimov’s nut straight in the 2015 EPT Main Event, heads-up for the first prize. There’s two ways to look at it: genius read, “white magic”, as Phil Hellmuth would say it; or horribly negative EV decision, overfolding.

How much should you deviate from the standard play based on your opponents’ game? It’s a question many poker players, professionals and recreational, have strong opinions on. This time Charlie Carrel, a player from London with over $6.2 million in live tournament earnings to his name, shared his.


The content of the video is actually more balanced than the title would suggest. Only a few minutes into his “fuck GTO” speech Carrel actually concedes that if you want to beat the highest stakes you need to have a fundamental understanding of game theory optimal play. However, he stresses that exploitative play - the style he and whole pre-GTO generations played while getting to the highest levels - is still vital.

“When I say fuck GTO, guys, I’m not underestimating how good GTO is as a strategy when implemented in certain situations. In poker, GTO involves finding different parts of your ranges and try to find the highest EV lines possible. (...) But at the same time it wants to balance that strategy so your opponents can’t then exploit it. That means you’re giving up some of the EV of each specific hand that you’re playing”.

Carrel also claims in his video that playing strictly GTO at lower stakes against bad opponents is actually “setting money on fire”.

Another main point of his “thesis” is that exploitative play is a lot harder to master. Thinking that way makes you a better poker player than simply memorizing minimum bet and call frequencies, in Carrel’s opinion.

Daniel Negreanu likely agrees with a lot of what has been said since he praised Carrel’s video on Twitter.


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Marton Magyar is a Hungarian online poker player and writer who covers the latest in poker news.Read more

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