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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Micro Stakes Poker
Playing micro stakes poker hasn’t been so popular in years. With much of the civilized world on lockdown, and over 6% of the planet’s population regularly playing poker for fun, playing at micro stakes has never been easier to start.
What about winning at micro stakes poker? As many players at higher levels will tell you, they’re grateful that they don’t need to drop back down to entry level poker. How can you make sure that you avoid the pitfalls of playing poker at the lowest level for real money and ensure that you can step up as soon as possible? Let’s take a look.
Set Your Micro Stakes Strategy
Playing poker at micro stakes can be frustrating, but only if you head into your tournaments with the wrong plan. You should aim to go into play with a ‘TAG’ strategy, which means playing tight-aggressive poker. Don’t get involved in every hand, but when you think you’re ahead, don’t be afraid to pile on the pressure. Players will call off their stack with a lot less than you think when they only paid a dollar to enter the tournament.
It could go without saying that you’ll want to be able to cope with the odd bad beat at this level. If you’re frequently going into hands as a 4:1 favourite that’s great, but by the law of averages, you should be losing one of the next five hands you play at those odds.
Also try playing multiple tournaments. We’d recommend starting with between two and four tables. This will reduce the variance and make it a lot less painful when someone calls your all-in with pocket aces holding just nine high and get there like the boss they are only in their own mind.
Be Resilient and Take Notes
It’s not just bad beats from all-ins that can tilt you at the poker table. If someone at your table quickly runs up a big stack and then uses it to call raises with any two cards, it can be immensely frustrating. Even if it doesn’t immediately cost you your own stack.
Remember that to that player, they’re running high on confidence, riding that wave. And while they could take you under too, what you want to do is retain pot control. And if possible, get all of your chips into the middle with the nuts.
Above all, be resilient to the vicissitudes of micro stakes poker, and rise above it by focusing on each decision at your multiple tables. There’s no harm loading up tables to maintain a ‘stack’ of four if the stakes are low. You’ll start to make the right decisions time and time again and notice patterns in play. Such as players chasing flush draws on particular board textures and changing their betting activity dramatically – in either direction – on a paired board.
Take notes on your fellow players. It’s easy to do on most poker sites, with each player having their own note-box which can be filled in. You can even flag their avatar. Mark them as a dangerous player at those stakes or a weaker player in your eyes.
Either way, that note will return should you play them again. And micro stakes players often stay at that level and come back for more due to their inexperience. Utilize that knowledge you have on them and you’ll make them pay.
Keep Calm and Carry On (Betting)
As micro stakes players get nearer to things like the money bubble, final table bubble and the big money at the business end of poker tournaments, their behaviour can often change. Sometimes they’ll panic and go ultra-aggressive. But they can also go the other way. By tightening up in spots where they should really be pressing their edge.
Putting pressure on other players is all part of the fun of poker and a key method of exploiting other micro stakes players who may not have much experience at the poker table. This can often mean that you need to bet more as you go through each of those periods, trying to get your opponents to lay down their hands without getting to showdown. Thus, growing your table reputation as a player to avoid. This will allow you to dominate the table during the events that maximum pressure can yield the most rewards.
When you inevitably get to the final table, you’ll want to stick to your guns. Keep playing the way you have so far. Don’t make the mistake of going too aggressive. Or becoming passive due to the comparatively high amounts on the line for almost nothing.
Taking the Micro Stakes Title
Playing at the final table of a micro stake’s poker tournament can sometimes lead to thoughts that don’t benefit you. You’ve paid next to nothing to enter and in some micro events series, such as PokerStars hugely popular Micro Millions series, you can be playing for an incredible amount of money. Make sure that you stay positive. And don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself that it doesn’t matter because it cost you nothing.
The very fact that you paid little to enter only to put yourself in the position where you can win hundreds or thousands of dollars in one night is exactly the idea. Someone has to win, so don’t feel winners’ guilt when you want to be sealing the deal.
Watch all the hands when they’re at showdown, even if you’re not taking notes on every action. By the final table, you should have player notes on at least four of your opponents. Purely on the basis that they’ve been at your table before reaching the final selection of players.
Use that knowledge to sidestep hands when you’re unsure of your chances. And when the background you have on someone makes you believe that you’re ahead, press home that belief. Go with your instincts.
Those instincts have been honed by the actions of your opponents and your studious note-taking. So, make sure you go with your gut and play with confidence. You’ll be a winner at the micro stakes before you know it.