Imaginary Money: Sklansky Dollars : G-Bucks
The term “G-bucks” was coined by Phil Galfond (OMGClayAiken) in his article on conceptualizing money matters. It’s a great article, but it’s also a very long-winded one. In this article I will attempt to condense the theory behind G bucks in to an easier to digest morsel of delicious Hold’em strategy. Tasty stuff.
What are G bucks?
G Bucks tell you how much money you would have won/lost when you compare the equity of one hand against a range of hands.
Remember Sklansky dollars? If not, Sklansky dollars basically tell you how much money you win from a hand vs. another in the long run. So even though you might lose $10 going all-in with AA against KK, you actually win $16.4 from that $20 pot on average due to Sklansky dollars. Go read up on it.
Both Sklansky dollars and G bucks tell you how much money you would have won in a certain spot. However, the difference is that:
- Sklansky dollars – 1 hand against 1 hand.
- G bucks – 1 hand against a range of hands.
So instead of comparing your hand and your opponent’s hand, with G bucks you compare your hand with your opponent’s range of hands. By doing this you can then go on to more effectively work out how much money you will win or lose when calling in certain situations based on your opponent’s range.
Working out G bucks.
Working out G bucks is actually really straightforward.
- Work out an accurate range of hands that your opponent could be holding as best as you can.
- Plug your hand and your opponent’s range in to PokerStove to work out your equity in the hand.
- Multiply the pot size by your % equity in the hand to work out how much money you expect to win on average.
The original article uses a more complicated method for working out the equities of a hand versus a range. However, when you have equity calculators like PokerStove at your disposal there is no need to take the longer route to the same place, especially if you’re lazy.
After finding your equity against your range you just find the percentage equity of the pot that you expect to win, just like you did with Sklansky dollars. The key (and most difficult) part of the whole process is putting your opponent on an accurate range.
As I said, the concept and method for working out G bucks really isn’t that difficult at all. Nonetheless there’s no harm in dishing out a few examples to really drive the concept home.
G bucks example 1.
You’re in a home cash game with a few friends, and as with any home game the majority of them are pretty bad players and/or are fairly drunk. Stacks are $100 with blinds $0.5/$1.
You’re in the BB with AQo. Your old friend Mike from MP pushes all in and it folds around to you. You know that Mike for whatever reason will always push all-in with any two broadway cards and any pocket pair. He likes to gamble.
You have a think for a moment and finally decide to make the call, making the pot $201 in total. Low and behold, Mike turns over AA as standard and the board brings no help at all, so you lose the $201 pot. Was this a bad call given Mike’s range? Surely not.
- In real money: -$100
- In Sklansky bucks: -$93 (worked out with AQo vs. AA in PokerStove)
- What about G bucks?
If we plug in the following in to PokerStove:
- Hand ranges.
- Our hand: AQo
- Mike’s range: Any pair, any two broadway. (22+,ATs+,KTs+,QTs+,JTs,ATo+,KTo+,QTo+,JTo)
We find that our equity with AQo against Mike’s pushing range is 55.1%, which obviously means that we have the edge in the long run.
So according to G bucks, we win $110.75 from the $201 pot on average when we call all-in with AQ against Mike when he pushes.
- Real money: -$100
- Sklansky bucks: -$93
- G bucks: +$110.75
G bucks example 2.
You’re playing $200NL at Full Tilt and call an $8 raise from the CO with your A Q on the button. You know for a fact that Villain is a tight-aggressive player that bets his draws and rarely slowplays. However, he is not a maniac and is generally a half-decent player.
Flop: Q 6 7 - Villain bets $12 in to the $17 pot and you call.
Turn: 3 - Villain bets $35 in to the $41 pot and you call.
River: 3 - The pot is now $111 and villain shoves in his remaining $145. What do you do?
Well firstly, let’s give our Villain a range. Before the flop his range is really wide due to the fact that he is an aggressive player raising from LP. Therefore his range is roughly any pair, any ace, any suited king, any suited broadway, and a bunch of suited connectors. (I used the rough guidelines for a 30% PFR in the range article).
Flop: It’s a standard cbet and we can’t really narrow his range down all that much.
Turn: This is important. On this turn it is very likely that villain would check any 1-pair hands for pot control. The fact that he double barrels this turn indicates that he either has a strong made hand like 2-pair or better or is semi-bluffing with a straight or A/K high flush draw.
River: The final river shove does little to modify our villain’s range, so we’re left looking at either a busted draw or a strong made hand. So on a board of Q 6 7 3 3 after villain has bet on all three rounds, we can assume that villain’s range consists of roughly:
- Villain's hand range.
- 98s,85s,98o,85o – Busted straight draws.
- Axh (except AQh, A7h, A6h), Kxh (except KQh, K7h, K6h) – Busted flush draws.
- QQ+,77-66,76s,76o – Made hands.
After plugging this range in to PokerStove, we find that our equity against villain’s range is 75.67%.
Therefore if we call the $145 bet to win a total of $401, on average we will walk away with $303.44 G bucks (75.67% of $401) for a profit of +$158.44 G bucks ($303.44 - $145) each time. Although the call seems risky and we will lose 1 time out of 4, if we are confident about villain’s range we stand to make more money over the long run because of G bucks.
The result of this hand does not matter, as making the call is the correct play. Nonetheless, if you like a happy ending then let’s say that villain flipped over A J for a busted nut flush draw.
G bucks evaluation.
Even though this may be the first time you’ve read about the term “G bucks”, the chances are that this particular concept has crossed your mind at some point whilst analyzing hands from previous sessions.
The concept of G bucks is more practical than Sklansky dollars because you never truly know the exact two cards that your opponent is holding before you make a call or a fold. Therefore G bucks are a more accurate way of calculating how good or bad a call was (or will be) over the long run.
If you have read the original article on G bucks by Phil Galfond you will notice that Galfond uses the opposite viewpoint by giving our hand a perceived range and our opponent a definite hand. As you can see I have reversed this approach, but either way both methods work out perfectly well.
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