Struggling to Break Out of the Micro Stakes? WPT Global Wants to Help

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Senior Editor
5 min read
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Many poker players dream of hitting the big time, playing for high stakes where they can win hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the turn of a card. Jumping into high-stakes cash games is not something you should ever consider because those games are shark tanks, and those sharks will eat you alive. The micro stakes are the perfect place for online poker players to cut their teeth and learn the nuances of this crazy game, but even they can become frustrating if you feel trapped and unable to break out of them. Thankfully, the WPT Global Blog team has compiled some tips to help you break out of the micro stakes.

Micro stakes cash games have all the ingredients to allow you to grow as a poker player. As a general rule, weaker, inexperienced players frequent the micro stakes, and it is against those players that you will always win the most from. Sure, you will win less money due to the stakes involved, but, more importantly, you'll lose less money when you make a mistake or an opponent invariably misplays a hand and sucks out on you.

Some players find themselves stuck in a rut when it comes to climbing out of the micro stakes. How often have you heard friends or family members bemoaning their luck at the tables, and saying they should move up where they respect their raises? Here's a little: if you can't beat lesser-skilled opponents, you do not stand a snowball in hell's chance of surviving in mid-to-high-stakes games.

The WPT Global Blog team has highlighted five key areas to work on if you are struggling to get out of the micros and follow your poker dreams.

Follow a Solid Bankroll Management Plan

Aside from a lack of skill, not following bankroll management is one of the main reasons a poker player goes bust or finds themselves twiddling their thumbs in micro stakes games. Your bankroll, which is only made up of money you can afford to lose, allows you to soak up the inevitable losses you will endure.

Be disciplined and stick to your bankroll management rules. You may use a 50 buy-in rule, meaning you need 50 buy-ins to play a particular stake. Say you are playing $0.05/$0.10 with a $500 bankroll and make a couple of hundred dollars. It may be tempting to jump into a $0.10/$0.25 or even a $0.25/$0.50 game while under-rolled. Don't do it. While taking occasional shots at higher stakes can work, any losses will be greater, and you could find yourself worse off than when you started, thus extending your time in the micro-stakes.

Delve deeper into the world of bankroll management

Know Your Foe

No-Limit Hold'em is a game played with incomplete information. We only discover our opponents' hole cards if they choose to reveal them to us or at showdown. This means every action we take is guess work, but you can study your opponents to make educated guesses about their possible holdings. Knowing an opponent's tendencies will help you make more accurate decisions at the tables.

"There are a host of resources available online to hone skills developed at the low levels, and they will prepare you for playing against more sophisticated opponents. If you play on sites that allow HUDs (heads-up displays) and tracking software, there's no reason not to utilize those tools. If not, play only the number of simultaneous tables that allow you to really pay attention to your opponents' play, such as frequency and aggression tendencies, and make notes."

Check out these WPT Global tips for playing a LAG style

Pay Attention to Your Preflop Calling Ranges

A common mistake shared by the micro-stakes community is calling preflop raises with too wide of a range. They see an opponent raise and decide to call because it is only $0.15 to see a flop at the $0.02/$0.05 level. This glaring mistake is made time and time again, and turns out to be extremely costly. Small leaks are often more damaging than glaring mistakes.

For example, let's imagine that every time you fold every time you make a royal flush, and your opponent moves all-in. This ridiculous mistake may cost you $10 or $20 per year because of how infrequent it would happen, yet it everyone would consider it a huge error on your part. Now think about calling raises too loosely for $0.15 at a time. You may do this 10, 20, even 30 times per day for a year. That seemingly insignificant leak is costing you hundreds of dollars annually.

How can you counter that? First, tighten your preflop calling ranges. Second, as WPT Global's blog suggests, look at your chips in big blinds, not monetary amounts.

"Look at the price of your preflop calls in terms of big blinds, and start to review your cash sessions in terms of big blinds won or lost per hour. A super loose-passive style quickly shows itself to be unprofitable."

Can you really make money playing poker?

Stop Paying Off Nits and Rocks

Opponents that play an ultra-tight passive style are often called rocks or nits. They differ from tight-aggressive players in that they play an even tighter range of hands and only every bet or raise when they have the goods, usually the nuts. Nits can get under your skin and become annoying to play against, but only if you continually call their bets and raises, and that is your own fault!

"A nit will fold most hands, only entering pots with super-strong hands, and paying off this type of player – who more often or not has the nuts or a draw to them – is avoidable. Especially on the river where the likelihood of your mid-strength hand is no good and should be folded, no matter how tempting it is to "look him up."

Bluff Weaker Players on the Turn and River

The WPT Global Blog suggest taking advantage of opponents' tendencies and firing the occasions bluff on the turn and river when scare cards arrive and it is unlikely they have helped your foe.

"Tight-passive or those loose-passive players that give up after the flop are ideal candidates for well-time bluffs. Getting those players heads-up, their predictability is to your benefit, as you can represent strength when potential draws come, or the board pairs, etc, especially when you are in position and a check is rarely trapping.

Bluffing a Four-Flush River in the WPT Borgata Main Event

Why Not Try the Micro Stakes Games at WPT Global Today?

Why not put what you have learned about the micros to the test during your next session at WPT Global? The online poker site has busy cash games where you can test new strategies, in addition to a massive selection of tournaments of all buy-in levels.

Download WPT Global via PokerNews today and claim your 100% up to $1,200 welcome bonus. New players depositing a minimum of $20 automatically receive this match bonus which is unlocked in $5 increments that are credited straight to the cashier, each time you contribute $20 to the cash game rake or pay in tournament fees.

Both tournaments and cash games count towards bonus unlocking; new players have 90 days from the date of first deposit to unlock and claim the full bonus amount.

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