Are you struggling at micro-stakes? Follow our five tips and learn how to crush
Good strategy advice should take into account what stakes you’re playing. Things that work at the high-stakes tables won’t always work at the lower limits, and vice-versa. If you’re currently swimming in the micro-stakes levels, here are five tips which will see you crushing the tables and getting ready to move up.
1. Missing value
This is by far the most important thing you can learn at micro-stakes. Most of your opponents will really hate folding and you need to exploit this by betting for thin value. Far too often players let their fear of being check-raised, or fear of being beaten, prevent them from making a profitable value bet.
Remember that betting for value does not necessarily mean that you think you always have the best hand. For a value bet to be successful you simply need over 50% of your opponent’s calling range to be worse hands. In other words a successful value bet may end up being called by a better hand a decent chunk of the time. All you should care about is your expectation in the long run, not the result of one individual hand. Players may feel they are being conservative by checking in these thin-value spots, but the irony is that it can be enough to kill their win rate.
2. Not giving respect to aggression
There are certain lines that the average micro-stakes player takes which will be extremely unbalanced towards value, allowing you to make some pretty big laydowns. Some examples of these include, three-barreling, check-raising the turn, and three-betting on any postflop street.
Trying to use a balanced defending strategy against such lines will be extremely sub-optimal. To crush micro-stakes you really need to know when to lay down a big hand without too much thought.
Since players at the lower limits are often newer players or recreational players, they are not completely aware of how large the variance in poker is. They can easily become frustrated at even a small amount of bad-luck.
Players can easily become tilted and end up losing far more as they begin making sub-optimal plays in an attempt to chase their losses. There are of-course ways to avoid tilt that you should always keep in mind.
This is especially a problem when you’re playing at a higher limit. For example, facing a three-barrel at NL5 you may be able to make a disciplined laydown with a bluff catcher. After moving up to NL10 you face the exact same situation and decide to call after mistakenly assuming players at this limit are way better and way more aggressive. The thought process might go something like: ‘Well, he probably knows that it’s really hard for me to call here, so he probably wants a fold and is likely bluffing’. Boom, you’ve just levelled yourself out of a stack.
5. Ignoring resources
There is a huge amount of strategy material out there. The average losing player at micro-stakes is probably not aware of much of it. Poker has advanced a long way over the last ten years, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve you need to make full use of the poker coaching and training material out there.
For additional problems you might encounter at the micro-stakes tables, check out this video:
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