When Should I Move Up In Stakes? | Ask an 888poker Pro

888poker Pros

Have you been crushing it at the poker table lately? If so, you're probably thinking about whether or not you should play poker games with higher stakes than what you're usually used to. This is an important question that poker players ask themselves constantly as moving up in stakes offers the chance to heavily boost your win rate.

However, taking a shot in juicy games a fraction too early could see drastic damage done to your bankroll. Luckily for you, the 888poker ambassadors are on hand and have given some useful advice on when to start climbing up the poker ladder, and the best ways to transition to the bigger games.

Take A Shot, But Be Honest

Vivian Saliba noted that it's not so easy to know when is the right time to move up in stakes, having decided to take a shot at higher limit games on several occasions before she was truly ready. However she points out, you'll never know if you are good enough until you actually play higher stakes games.

However, Saliba does say that caution is needed, even when playing on a favorable table.

"Even if the game is good, take it slow when moving up the ladder. Always make sure [your bankroll] can afford it and be honest with yourself, [after the session]" she said.

Despite Success, Stick to Your Level

"It felt exciting at first, but then it felt horrible," said Ian Simpson. "Money is very hard to get and very easy to lose, so you need to be very careful with it."

Simpson stresses the importance of returning to your usual stakes after taking a shot at bigger games.

"When you move up in stakes, you may have a successful first session, even if this happens you should go back down to your usual level."

Simpson then pointed out that the same applies as well if you lose when moving up in stakes for the first time. So remember, to not go broke chasing losses from bigger games as you could be in a worse position before you decided to up the ante. The takeaway from Simpson's advice is that you need to learn how to walk before you learn how to run.

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Moving up in Stakes Provides Mental Pressures

888poker Stream Team member Nick Eastwood emphasized the mental pressures that arrive when moving up in stakes for the first time.

"When I first moved up in stakes, it was a little bit daunting. Obviously, you are playing for more money and it is hard to take that out of the equation," he said.

"Mentally it is difficult, but it is necessary. When you are playing lower stakes, you want to move up faster and be aggressive with your bankroll management because the rake is very high and the higher you play, the rake becomes less damaging to your win rate.

Don't Hurt Your Bankroll

One of the big questions poker players ask themselves regarding moving up in stakes is 'How many buy-ins (for that stake) should I have before taking the next step?

888poker Stream Team member Jordan Banfield gives a nice clear answer which should help you know if the time is right.

"If you move up in stakes but see that you're losing a little more, you have to start dropping back down. To move up in stakes, it's pretty standard to have 100 buy-ins [of that limit]."

Monitor Your Win Rate

Alexandre Mantovani suggest somewhat of a progressive hybrid approach when it comes to playing bigger buy-in tournaments than you are used to.

"My recommendation would be to have on your schedule at least one tournament that is higher than you usually play. If your average buy-in is $10, try to play $33 tournament once in a while or have that on your daily session," he said.

"With that, you can monitor how you're doing in this tournament not only by results but also by your win rate in this tournament. If you see your win rate is good, you can probably move up.

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  • Is 2023 the year you move up in stakes? Use the advice from the 888poker pros to help you know if the time is right.

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Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum's proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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