Fast Track To Success - Lesson 12
Micro Stakes Poker (12)
- Becoming a good poker player requires effort and dedication
- Keep the cost of learning to a minimum
- If you want to become a winning player, with this advice, you can definitely do it
It's Critical That You Start At The Easiest Stakes To Beat
We've discussed several important elements in getting off to a good start in the micro stakes. So I wanted to look to put things together in one final article. So the first and probably the most important piece of advice I could give you is to make sure that you are playing the smallest stakes possible until you've shown that you can beat those.
Then you gradually move up stakes, you continue to look to beat the stakes that you are at before you look to move up. In addition to demonstrating to yourself that you may have the skill to move up, you also need to make sure you have a comfortable bankroll at the higher stakes.
If you don't, then that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take a shot at the higher stakes anyway, but if this is the case, make sure you're only committing a fairly small percentage of your bankroll to the higher stakes. If things don't go as planned, do not hesitate to drop back down.
You may not be where you need to be yet, and it's better to back off and wait to take on the new challenge when you are more prepared, rather than hurt yourself by biting off more than you can chew. Your decisions to move up are never permanent, and it's very important that you realize that.
Pay Close Attention To Variance As Well
It's perfectly fine to try out various types of games, such as full ring cash, shorthanded, heads up, various types of sit and go's, and multi-table tournaments. Keep in mind though that multi-table tournaments have a very high variance and should be viewed as a means to practice without investing too much in them.
This can't be your bread and butter game unless you have a huge bankroll, and if you do, well you probably should still be playing something else at this point in your development. The reason is that as you get better you'll have the bankroll to move up much more quickly than you would at the big tournaments.
Freerolls and low buy-in tournaments can be a very good source of experience, where the cost is low and that will often get you several hours of play. You need to realize that your top priority at this stage in your development needs to be to improve your game as much as you can while keeping your costs of learning down.
What gets most new players in trouble is that they tend to overestimate how much it will take to become profitable, and don't pay enough attention to putting them in a position to survive the learning period. Unless you're prepared to deposit over and over and over again, and lose a serious amount of money over time, it's far better to keep your losses small as you look to get better.
Keep Your Costs Of Learning Down If You Want To Stick Around
Speaking of getting better, in this series of introductory lessons I've provided you with some basic yet valuable tools to do so. If you can learn to play your opponents properly at the micro stakes, you will greatly reduce the learning curve and the time it takes to start making money at this game.
The reason why that is so important is that until you do become profitable, poker just becomes an expense. You have to keep depositing regularly and have to watch your bankroll disappear time and again, and that's simply not a lot of fun, as well as it being pretty costly.
Poker is fun in itself, but it's a lot more fun when we win. So getting to that stage isn't the most important thing, it's the only thing. So as you go along, you're going to want to spend a fair bit of your time away from the table looking to improve your skills, whether that's reading articles like this, watching videos, thinking about the game, and so on.
Make Sure You Learn Away From The Table As Well
A lot of the instructional material out there is of fairly questionable value, and as you improve your understanding of the game, you'll be able to better tell what really makes sense and what does not. Mastering poker isn't so much learning things from other people as it is learning to think for yourself.
Of course, at the same time, you need other people to help point the way for you, which is what I'm looking to do in this series and the larger one on mastering online poker, featured elsewhere on this site. Keep in mind though that what this does is hand you the ball and give you some good plays, and it us up to you to take the ball and run with it so to speak.
Poker is essentially a game of reactions, where we anticipate a certain action by a player and look to counter it with an appropriate action of our own. Within the sphere of actions from our opponents, there are two main ways we can take advantage of them.
Focus On What Your Opponent Does As Well As Your Cards
We can show down better hands than they have, while looking to build pots where we have the advantage, or we can get them to fold and win pots that way. So this comes down to their either being loose to showdown, or tight to showdown.
It's really how many times they show down their hands that matters, and if they are loose earlier in the hand but tighten up as far as how many they take all the way, then they are essentially tight. So look to figure out what type of player you're up against in this regard, and then look to punish him accordingly.
These days, even at the micro stakes, there are a lot more tight players than loose ones, so it pays to be aggressive and get them to fold. However, you can't just fire away at everyone, as there are some players who aren't going to be bluffed so easily. So what you need is selective aggression, which is using it when it makes sense to, and holding off when it does not.
Take Advantage Of The Mistakes Of Your Opponents
So with the looser players we want to be more selective with the hands we play, while at the same time looking to pound away at the tighter players. However, when a tighter player does not fold, that means that we often will be behind and have to re-assess.
So if this all sounds pretty simple, it really is, although as you get better at the game you will see that it can also be an extremely complex matter as well, but these complexities involve extracting even more value out of your plays by exploiting opponents even further.
To be successful at the micro stakes though, all you really need to do is to play significantly better than your opponents, and the good news is that this isn't that hard to pull off. It's not going to happen the first time you sit down at the table though, and you must learn to be patient.
Poker Is A Mental Game As Well
The mental side of the game is pretty important as well, and this is something a lot of players struggle with. What you need to get straight if you hope to master this part of the game at least somewhat is an understanding that poker is a game of probabilities. You look to act when they are in your favor and reap the benefits of these strategies long term.
So if something doesn't work in this case or a few cases in a row, if someone beats you with a worse hand a few times in a row, or other similar variations of luck, and the odds were in your favor, that's all you can be concerned about. If you tend to get upset over short term outcomes based upon luck, then you're just hurting yourself needlessly. In the end, skill will reign, but if you lose your skill over being emotional, then it will not.
Playing at the right sites, meaning the ones that have the softest completion, is easily the most important element of your success. It does pay to try out several, and stick to the ones that you do best at. I can't emphasize enough how important this is in fact.
How Well You Do Is Ultimately Up To You
I've taught a lot of players how to be successful at online poker over the years, but I can only do so much. For this to happen, you have to commit to the task yourself, and possess both the desire to become a successful player, and also have enough drive to put your plan into action and make sure it happens.
So a lot of this is up to you, although if you do want it, with a little good advice that I'm providing you on this site, you will indeed get it. While natural skill and ability does matter at poker, it doesn't really matter much at all at the small to mid stakes, and anyone can be successful should they be willing to make the effort and receive the proper direction. I am giving you that direction, but you need to do your part as well.
So in wrapping up this series, I wish you the best of luck, although in the end, luck has nothing to do with it. Be sure to check out my series on mastering online poker, which deals with the topics mentioned in this series plus a lot of other ones in much greater detail and depth, which will look to take you to the next level and beyond.
That series is ongoing, and new material is added regularly, so be sure to bookmark out site so that you don't miss out on any of the valuable advice that I'm going to be giving you. Here's a link to the main series of strategy articles:
- Ken's Guide To Winning Poker