My name is Patrick Howard and I'm a 27 year old high stakes online poker player. I'm starting this blog, Mobius, to offer the community some insight into my approach to the game. If there is enough interest, I may seek out a position as a RIO coach and make some videos in the future.
Most of you probably know my older brother, Nick Howard, who is a RIO Elite Pro. I started playing online poker with Nick back in the Moneymaker era when we were both really young. Nick never left poker, but I took a long break and pursued a degree in physics. After graduating from college, I started a PhD, but quit within a year because I couldn't see a future for myself in science. My scientific background has helped me a lot in poker though. Most of my study time is spent using Hand2Note's Range Research tool on large databases to develop maximally exploitative strategies vs. population imbalances.
After a couple years of post-dropout soul searching, I came back to the poker world in late 2017. I started by helping Nick out with various jobs at Poker Detox and played part time on Nick's stake throughout 2018. At the end of 2018, I created a course called Ether which uses Hand2Note data to quantify the population's bluffing frequencies across the game tree. At the beginning of this year I started playing full time on my own stake on Ignition. I broke even for a couple of months, but things really took off in March and I climbed from 200nl to 2000nl over the course of the last four months. Here's my graph for the year so far:
This blog will mostly be a place to document my musings about poker and the occasional progress update. I may also post hand histories with some technical explanations from time to time. If you guys have any suggestions for additional content, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Finally, I just want to end with some food for thought: There is a lot of talk these days about poker becoming increasingly difficult to beat. It seems like a lot of people in the community think the only way to succeed is to get closer and closer to GTO. If I only get one point across with my content here, I hope it will be that the population is currently nowhere near GTO, even in a lot of the higher stakes games. Exploitative poker and hand reading are alive and well, and I think my graph is proof of that. Of course, highly exploitative strategies are easier to employ on anonymous sites like Ignition, but keep in mind that most of the hands I use for my research are PokerStars Zoom hands, so even those of you who are playing in known pools can benefit from my findings.
I chose the symbol of the Mobius strip for the title of this blog because I believe GTO and exploitative poker are two sides of the same coin and cannot be separated. Rather than attempt to reproduce Pio's strategy (an impossible task) I choose to study the gap between Pio's strategy and the population's tendencies, and how to maximally exploit that gap. This, in fact, is exactly what Pio would do if we were to give it a break from playing against itself and unleash it on human pools. Balanced strategies only make sense vs. balanced opponents, and in the real world, balanced opponents do not exist. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you're looking for strictly GTO content, then you're not going to find it here.
Thanks for reading. I'll be posting my first article soon.