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Learning effectively the GTO based strategy

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Posted by posted in Mid Stakes

Learning effectively the GTO based strategy

I am a bit uncertain about my studying methods and I am really courius what do you think about it.
I have been playing cash games as a hobby from the beginning of 2020 started from 5nl and at the end of the year I am trying to despise my feet on 100nl with less success yet. Unfortunately, I do not have poker buddies, nor a coach, just me. So in one person, I have to be a motivator, a coach and a player. If you have ever tried to locate and repair leaks in your game on your own, you know how difficult it is.
But that's it, this thread is not about complaining.

My general study plan seems like this:

SPECIFYING THE GOAL
1. Find a topic to be improved in ( like cbetting, 3betting, defense against cbets, etc. )
2. Break down the topic into sub-topics

STUDY THE SUB-TOPIC ( at least for a week )
1. Make a new tag in HM3 for the specific sub-topic
2. Collect the right media related to the topic ( videos ).

On an active day (passive days = no poker)
1. Watch a video and take notes.
2. Review hands connected to the topic from your previous sessions.
3. Play a session (max 90 minutes) and tag hands (only those connected to the topic!!!)
4. REST
5. Play a session (max 90 minutes) and tag hands (only those connected to the topic!!!)
6. REST

It seems easy, right? Well, NO, if you are learning on your own.

My main problem comes from hand reviewing.
Lets take the following topic fot example: cbetting from BTN vs BB
the subtopic is: Cbetting on middle connected flops.

The process:
1. I open HM3 and take a look at my first tagged hand.
2. I open flopzilla and select from the predefined preflop ranges.
3. I try to split the ranges into big bet, small bet and check range and find the somewhat correct frequencies for each and try to place my holding in the correct subrange.
4. I check the GTO solution and usually get frustrated by the mixed strategies on the flop :)
5. Okay, move on. In case of cbetting, i try to define a defending range for my opponent and split BB's range into calls, folds, and raises.
6. Lets say, I am trying to give him a raising range of what percent? I dont know any mathemtical formulas which can be solved by the human brain on the fly to give the approximate raising frequency OTF for the BB. Okay, never mind, I have played a lot with my solver, I know that I should check/raise that specific flop ~5% of the time against a big cbet. Now, I have to just construct the range from the best combos. But wait, how many bluffs should I add to BB's raising range? Open up solver, try to find the universal truth, the common ground between these spots but I only see mixing, mixing and a little more mixing... ( Usually that is the point, where I would rather shut down my laptop and leave poker for a while :) )
8. With a somewhat frustrated mindset, I finish the review.
9. Then I open up the solver and try again to solve the specific spot but now, with nodelocking with more simplification (ignoring a ton of mixing, where i dont loose ev).
10. I examine the specific spot, but I feel, I have just learnt almost nothing from that review. I can see the exact solution, but I have a ton of unanswered "why"-s... Then i realize that the most usefull part of my day was watching that video in the moring...

I've a ton of unanswered questions all the time, like:
* how should I construct my bluff to value ratio in that spot with my range against my opponent's cbetting range? I don't know, I can check it in my solver, but it is just self-deception, It does not give me universal thinking.
* after checking back the flop, on a turn which favors my check behind range, how often should I attack and with what portion of my range with what bet size?
* on a flush turn, how should I construct my 2nd barrell range, how often should I continue and with that bet size?
* what hands are the best to semmi-bluff with on the turn? with what freq?
* etc, etc, etc.

All in all, I obviously have some clue about different spots, but what I am unsure, that when I am constructing ranges, how could I know, that I am not overbluffing, or underbluffing a specific flop for example? Do I really have to study the right frequencies for each possible holding in a specific spot? On the river, if were are in a jam or fold situation, math is simple, counting combos and taking blockers into account not mega-hard. But playing well balanced lines (especially, knowing that the line is not just somewhat balanced, it is WELL balanced) is really hard.
I can check the exact GTO solution of course, but - as I said - it does not give me a usefull formula what can be used in the future. In only gives a situation specific solution...
How can I be sure when playing (or reviewing), that my chosen line is +EV or -EV on the flop, or even on the turn? I feel, studying with a solver is more about studying the exact solutions not about studying the "why"-s...
I am seeking answers like this: If i check raise this specific turn with 6 combos of sets and 16 combos of straights, how should i balance my range with bluffs? I know these formulas have a lot of variables ( position, spr, ranges, etc.), but without knowing the numbers, how can we certain about our review results? How should I cange my studying method?

Sorry for the long post.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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