In poker Nash Equilibrium is when a players seem to be playing at a very similar level and both can’t seem to gain any advantage if they change their play style. This leads to a stalemate as whichever player deviates from their followed decision making might lose. The player that deviates from Nash is allowing the other to re-adjust their ranges. Although this is the theory behind Nash, following it is not optimal in many situations.
Nash Equilibrium Calculator
A Nash Calculator is a tool or software that can be used while playing online poker. What it does is calculate your optimal ranges by taking the pay-out, stack sizes and blinds into account to generate the ranges. The ranges will vary as the game moves along and can tip you about decisions other players might be taking if they are following Nash as well. The tool will calculate the ranges for all players and not just yourself.
Nash is used by professional online players at very high stakes games. It would be insane not to know all about Nash at this level. If you are playing low stakes, knowing Nash is a huge advantage against other players. It is a simple tool that can tip you on the best possible decisions to take on each turn.
The calculator will suggest open push and over call ranges, which is perfect for stake games. When other players are not using Nash take care of calls against single open push ranges. Nash becomes inefficient when opponents are not making calls according to it. Push Fold charts are a great complementary source of knowledge to use in conjunction.
Since Nash takes into account stack sizes compared to pay-out, it makes it easy for new poker players to determine ranges. Take for example, Nash will suggest a wide push when the big stack is pushing into the middle stack on the bubble, while a tighter range is more appropriate when shoving as the mid-stack into the clear big stack on the bubble.
The Nash calculator can be used for almost all situations during an online tournament; like open pushes, calling single pushes and calling multiple opponent pushes. Not only will it assign optimal ranges for the player, but also incorporate over call ranges for the other opponents.
When to use Nash
Nash is mostly used during HU at high blind levels against opponents that are hard to beat. By applying the ranges you limit the edge of your opponent and any move you make is un-exploitable. By using Nash, your opponent must also use Nash to avoid being exploited.
During these situations were both players seem to be tied, the caller has the advantage since their range is tighter. During all-in situations the caller will have a stronger range.
Why use Nash when it can end in a tie-break situation and does not seem to offer a winning solution?
Nash is used as a backup strategy against tough opponents that you know are going to be hard to beat or already have an edge over you in stack size. This strategy levels the game and buys you some time.
Implementing Nash against weaker opponents is not an optimal thing to do. If you are already with an edge, stealing blinds pre-flop and picking up pots easily; then don’t level up the game with Nash. Keep doing what you are doing.
Also consider these flaws from Nash Equilibrium
- Nash assumes that your opponent is using Nash ranges to make decisions. This can be highly unlikely in reality, although the use of these calculators has become wide spread on the experienced online community of poker players.
- Nash assumes play is limited to push/fold, which again is not very realistic.
- Nash also fails to consider the opponent’s skill level and their tendencies.
Nash for beginners
These are far more reasons to implement Nash only at certain times when you need to pull back and corner yourself while a better play comes into hand. Nash Equilibrium is an excellent starting point for new online poker players. It will help understand typical ranges and what they can push on certain spots. With experience the player will begin modifying his ranges to his style of play and learn to adjust against rivals.