The Microstakes Regular

    • belayd
      belayd
      Global
      Joined: 17.03.2011 Posts: 1,021
      I joined PokerStrategy less than a month ago. When I first signed up, I wouldn't have dreamed of starting a blog until I'd been playing for at least two years and accumulated a good 400K hands. My view was that only experienced players will have something new and worthwhile to say about poker. But as things have shaken out, I've plateaued really quickly and reached my optimum stakes level in a huge hurry, so I'm comfortable discussing my experiences now.

      Popular culture promotes success stories because society wants people to keep trying to succeed. Hollywood movies are full of stories of people overcoming impossible odds. In real life, however, most people don't overcome even moderate odds, and 99.9% of the world's population are, conventionally speaking, failures. In my view they don't have enough of a voice in a world they dominate numerically. Yes, it's nice to read and watch all the hype about Jamie Gold, but he's one of thousands of players who entered the tournament and didn't win. Those other people should have someone, or preferably several someones, who can stand up and say: "Hey, we exist, and we're important too!"

      My plateau has come at the very lowest level of responsible poker, the 2-cent NL full ring tables. I'm destined always to remain what's known as a microstakes regular, the guy whose bankroll bounces up and down by a few dollars from day to day but who never wins enough to move up levels. And I'm not alone! Millions of other players over the past decade have reached a similar plateau and are still toiling away at the low stakes. It's not an exciting life, and certainly lacks the glamor required to suck in new, fishy players that the high-stakes sharks can win money from. But in a poker community that the fish and potential fish are likely ignoring, it's very likely that many other members are in the same situation as me. Even if we don't matter to the poker hype machine, we matter to ourselves and should matter to each other.

      So this blog won't be only for me to post in. Anyone else who is a microstakes regular is free to add posts of their own experiences in this thread. And if no one except us reads this blog, so much the better. In some ways, for the health of poker worldwide, we have to remain relatively unknown.

      My future posts in this thread will deal with the concrete aspects of being a microstakes regular. I hope that other microstakes regulars "out" themselves here and we can form a genuine community.
  • 53 replies
    • Wriggers
      Wriggers
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Oh man! Don't be so pessimistic :D Unless you have a mindset problem that is impossible to fix then there is no way you have reached a plateau already! Keep improving and trying to move up! :D

      But very well written :)
    • belayd
      belayd
      Global
      Joined: 17.03.2011 Posts: 1,021
      If this blog is going to be aimed at microstakes regulars and perhaps be a gathering place for us, it would be smart to define what a microstakes regular is.

      According to me, a microstakes regular is a player who averages earnings of between 5 bb/100 and -5 bb/100 at his starting level over a significant number of hands. This number varies from player to player, and experts say that you usually need 100K hands to draw meaningful conclusions, but realistically, if you haven't crushed 2NL after about 20K hands you can be pretty sure you're never going to. Hence, like me, you're a microstakes regular.

      The next thing that needs to be done is to prove that we microstakes regulars exist. There is a lot of resistance to acknowledging that we are possible, let alone a reality. This resistance is understandable. Nobody wants to imagine that there is such a thing as a marginal player who breaks even playing for 11-cent pots for the rest of his life. It scrubs the glamor right off the poker hype machine. Plus those who crush microstakes early on in their careers feel threatened by the possibility that microstakes regulars are real. And then there's the fact that so many people take up online poker with dreams of someday winning millions at the WSOP. If that dream isn't realized quickly enough, they give up and take up another hobby and leave the forum. The result is that poker fora such as this one come to be dominated by winning players; they're the only ones who stuck around.

      But we microstakes regulars do exist. That's indisputable.

      Come on, let's hear from you.
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      "If you haven't crushed NL2 after about 20K hands you can be pretty sure you're never going to"

      Firstly, in some cases, you can run bad for 20k hands. However, assuming you run exactly at EV for those 20k hands, I still don't think what you say is true. I don't know if you have a decent sample size for this, but I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that you do.

      Correllation does not equal causation. In this case, failing to crush NL2 within 20k hands does not mean you simply are never good enough to move up. It means that, if you're running at EV, you probably aren't studying enough outside the game and improving, and therefore will remain stuck. Poker is hard work, and if you recognise you aren't willing to put in the work to move up stakes and you accept that, that's okay. For example, I recognise I'm simply not willing to work hard enough to be anything other than a slightly above-average Chess player. I simply don't want to commit that much time to improving my Chess game, and that's okay.

      But if you're stuck at NL2, and it's not due to luck, you probably have to work on your game more. Watch videos, read and post in hand evaluation forums, read articles, do sweat sessions with other microstakes regulars, and what have you.

      So yes, microstakes regulars are possible. But there is no such thing as a person who is completely incapable of moving up levels: Only people who, for whatever reason, will not do the work required to improve their game and play enough to move up.

      Everyone has their plateau, but it is a plateau of their own making. I leave you with this quote, from a professional StarCraft player, an exceptionally difficult real-time strategy game.

      "Until the very very top, in almost anything, all that matters is how much work you put in, the only problem is most people cant work hard even at things they do enjoy, much less things they dont have a real passion for."

      — Greg "IdrA" Fields

      So you might plateau at a skilled NL400 player or something, but everyone has the potential to move up from NL2, it's just they're not willing to put in the work (Most NL2 players don't know the work it takes to succeed at Poker, they probably self-taught what strategy they possess.)
    • andreibalint
      andreibalint
      Bronze
      Joined: 11.04.2009 Posts: 872
      In real life, however, most people don't overcome even moderate odds, and 99.9% of the world's population are, conventionally speaking, failures.


      The fact that you are capable to think this way proves you can crush people in poker, at the very least the fish (let's say you can't beat a table with 7 winning regs and a fish - and this will happen preeety high in stakes).

      I'm destined always to remain


      If you seriously think this way please ask the nearest person to you to slap you a couple of times. Besides the fact there's no such thing as destiny (or faith, horoscope, religion and unlucky black cats for that matter), you're basically putting yourself in the prison of your mind.

      What do you need? Play less, learn more. Read the articles until you can remember most of them, stick EXACTLY to what they say, watch an absurd no. of vids - not like TV, try to understand and think about what would you do, and have patience.

      Also, increase the number of tables progressively to at least 9-12. Don't allow yourself to be ok to be a NL2 player, do everything (not disregarding BRM) to get out of there!!!

      Or try SNG's, as I did, where for some reason i had a lot more success. :f_biggrin:
    • Wriggers
      Wriggers
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Originally posted by andreibalint
      In real life, however, most people don't overcome even moderate odds, and 99.9% of the world's population are, conventionally speaking, failures.


      The fact that you are capable to think this way proves you can crush people in poker, at the very least the fish (let's say you can't beat a table with 7 winning regs and a fish - and this will happen preeety high in stakes).

      I'm destined always to remain


      If you seriously think this way please ask the nearest person to you to slap you a couple of times. Besides the fact there's no such thing as destiny (or faith, horoscope, religion and unlucky black cats for that matter), you're basically putting yourself in the prison of your mind.

      What do you need? Play less, learn more. Read the articles until you can remember most of them, stick EXACTLY to what they say, watch an absurd no. of vids - not like TV, try to understand and think about what would you do, and have patience.

      Also, increase the number of tables progressively to at least 9-12. Don't allow yourself to be ok to be a NL2 player, do everything (not disregarding BRM) to get out of there!!!

      Or try SNG's, as I did, where for some reason i had a lot more success. :f_biggrin:
      Or, as an alternative to the bolded part: Play more, learn more!

      :f_biggrin:
    • boxface
      boxface
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.09.2010 Posts: 29
      Anyone who wants to get out the microstakes can get out of the microstakes aslong, as above states keep learning and wanting to get up.
      It is the microstakes not alcatraz.
    • Hahaownedlolz
      Hahaownedlolz
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.04.2009 Posts: 1,755
      Way too pessimistic lol :D


      It took me a thousand sit and go's before i even started making a profit. i'd say roughly.. 120k hands played.. + another 20k or so cash game hands.


      It was soul crushing just grinding up for hours then losing it all as i moved up every time. wasted hundreds of hours playing with nothing to show for it. I thought i'd be stuck at the micro's just like you forever. I was and am determined however to make some money with poker. And when i started putting a lot of effort into improving and playing poker recently that's when i was starting to get the results i wanted.

      Now i'm crushing the stakes i'm playing and moving up to midstakes this month :f_biggrin:
    • belayd
      belayd
      Global
      Joined: 17.03.2011 Posts: 1,021
      I have to admit that having this blog trolled by winning players is a major setback.

      We can't have a community as long as people are flooding the blog with posts that scream "You don't exiiiiiist! You don't exiiiiiist!"

      Add to that the fact that no other microstakes regular has yet responded to my call for assembly, although it has been only a couple of days.

      I'm going to give it a few more days to see whether there are any microstakes regulars hanging around PokerStrategy at all. If it's all winning players, then I'm just whistling to my weenie posting here at all, because all I'm going to get is trolling from them.

      What I don't understand is why these kids feel so threatened by the suggestion that it's possible for someone to be different from them. Their trolling has so far been purely political--dreary, secondhand conservative politics that promote the views they acquired from watching Hollywood movies.

      I don't have anything to say to them, but I do have a lot to say to YOU, my fellow microstakes regulars. And I'm sure you have a lot to say to me. So speak up.

      I'll be waiting.
    • Wriggers
      Wriggers
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Is this a troll? If so it's quite a creative one :D

      But seriously, as every other player has said, it is not impossible for ANYONE to move out of the micros. We're not trolling, we're saying that if you're willing to learn and improve, then it's possible for anyone to move up. Poker isn't something that required a lot of natural talent to be successful in, like many sports. Anyone willing to put in the work can grasp the basic concept of the game and move out of the micros. Fair enough, it probably does require some natural talent, along with a suitable natural mindset, to move up and crush the nosebleeds, but for the midstakes it just required hard work!
    • boxface
      boxface
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.09.2010 Posts: 29
      Why have you branded yourself as this after a month?
      Most people have played the micros at some point but not many just want to stay there.
      I play them currently but I dont plan on staying here.

      Come on man dont just give up, do something about it and start pushing 2 climb the stakes.


      :s_biggrin:
    • Hahaownedlolz
      Hahaownedlolz
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.04.2009 Posts: 1,755
      Originally posted by belayd

      What I don't understand is why these kids feel so threatened by the suggestion that it's possible for someone to be different from them. Their trolling has so far been purely political--dreary, secondhand conservative politics that promote the views they acquired from watching Hollywood movies.


      You know. It's funny how he seems so intelligent with all these fancy words. Yet he is so incredibly ignorant when it comes to poker.. Just can not understand how someone can apparently be smart yet also so incredibly dumb.


      I put effort into making a great post (in my opinion). And then you say i'm trolling? Telling you that there are people exactly like you who've been at micros forever.. Yet because i kept playing and improving i managed to beat it.. I don't know what else could be more motivational then that to be honest. Not only that i'm sure you've probably not even played 10% of the hands i have at micro's. you joined this community not even a month ago and your already giving up..

      I believe ANYONE can beat micro's if they put in enough effort. Could everyone be a poker pro? nope. But unless you are mentally handicapped or have no hands you can beat the micro's..


      Your talking like it's something to be proud of to be a microstakes player (there's nothing wrong with it). But your basically looking for losing casual players and the tables are full of those. However here at pokerstrategy.com most people take poker seriously and want to play as high as possible to make some decent money. I don't think you'll find anyone here who is fine with being a microstakes breakeven/losing players. Might want to look elsewhere if your looking for casual players.
    • sindeon
      sindeon
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.10.2010 Posts: 133
      Hi Belayd,

      there is with no doubt a lot of microstakes regulars, but it is important to find out why is that. As Wriggers said, it´s about hard work, but lot of people play poker just for fun few hours a week (maybe even every day). They´re doing this with no serious intension to move up through limits and that´s why they don´t study and improve their game as hard as they should. They just "settled" - having fun from occasional winnings and giving no importance to subsequent downswings. They´re breakeven and still having fun from playing...because poker is game at the first place (very complex, comlicated and connected with logical thinking though).

      That´s kind of my case, but I really don´t want to stuck at NL2. My primery objective is to reach NL10 and playing here while still having fun. Everything above that is far away from now. ;)

      I just stop here to say one thing to you:

      In my opinion you´re just giving it up too early. You´ve settled with that "I´m a microstake regular" because it´s easier then carrying on. Seriously, how many hands have you played? Why am I asking? Look, my first (tracked) 10k hands at NL2 I was improving fast and making sufficient profit I could move to NL4. First 4k hands at NL4 I´m loosing almost constantly (it´s swing up and down, to be accurate, but I´ve never been in green numbers from my very first hand). Judging few key hands, I´ve found unlucky suckouts (that´s natural part of this game though) and few more stupid mistakes (I mean really stupid mistakes) I made. "Surprisingly", I made this mistakes today again, but instead of doing it 10times, I did it just 5times. But as a result I ended my session satisfied with both my game and profit. Just small step forward though.
      What´s my point: as you can see I´m not "winning player" right now (actual stats at NL4: aprox 4k hands -$10 -6BB/100h), but being stuck at limit for a while doesn´t mean you are "micro reg" and you can´t move up. I´m pretty sure, that just with basic/silver articles + videos + appropriate mindset (ok, this seems to be more and more important factor to me) I can (so can you) crush my way up to "higher" microstakes limits and be a "regular" at NL10 for example. ;)

      Cheer up, man, or this is goinig to be the most pesimistic thread ever (along with "downswing forum"). :f_biggrin:

      As my Master would said, it´s all about effort and hard work...oh wait...he said it actually:



      Yeah, and it´s also about "having fun" while playing...but my Master didn´t speak about having fun at all... :( :f_biggrin:

      Sorry for so long post (and my bad english ofc), but maybe it helps you to change your mind. ;)
      Cheers,
      Ondra
    • Targetme
      Targetme
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.05.2009 Posts: 1,888
      Well I played over 1 million hands at nl25 and have yet to officially move up. Its not because ive reached my limit (although I might have) Im beating nl50 and nl100 from a smaller sample size I havent moved up because of conveinence(Not enough higher stake tables on my platform) and I like the steady income.

      Also idras a bum I used to make him cry from sc losses but he did try hard :D
    • belayd
      belayd
      Global
      Joined: 17.03.2011 Posts: 1,021
      Originally posted by Targetme
      Well I played over 1 million hands at nl25 and have yet to officially move up. Its not because ive reached my limit (although I might have) Im beating nl50 and nl100 from a smaller sample size I havent moved up because of conveinence(Not enough higher stake tables on my platform) and I like the steady income.

      Also idras a bum I used to make him cry from sc losses but he did try hard :D
      Hi, Target,

      Thanks for your reply.

      Do you consider NL25 to be microstakes? It might sound like a stupid question, but I'm not asking about the commonly accepted definition of microstakes. I'm more referring to how you regard your own current playing level.

      And how will you be able to tell whether you've plateaued? I realize the answer is different for NL25 from what it would be for NL2, but it could still be helpful to me and any other people reading this who are in a situation similar to yours (or perhaps mine).

      Most importantly, if you do decide that you've plateaued, will you be able to continue playing poker and still enjoy it? (I even recall a guy from eastern Canada who said he was a pro making a full-time income at NL25 because of the low cost of living out there, but I'm not sure whether that was you.)

      I can't tell you how relieved I am that someone finally contributed something to this blog that's worth replying to. Again, thank you.
    • pyure
      pyure
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.09.2008 Posts: 258
      I have to say it's quite amusing that on a site with so much excellent poker education material there's a blog about not being able to beat the microstakes! And lets be clear, for me that is NL2-NL10.

      I know for a fact that you can blindly follow the basic MSS strategy and beat these levels...no extra study, no extra work, just follow the strategy and you can beat the micros.

      btw, I call troll on this thread :)
    • Hahaownedlolz
      Hahaownedlolz
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.04.2009 Posts: 1,755
      sigh.. i give up on this guy.. I will take back what i said about you being able to beat micro's. If you give up after not even a month you do not have what it takes to beat micro's :D


      Also how is Targetme's post good? Cause he played 1M hands at the micros that makes his post worthwile? I don't see your point. Basically when someone posts what you want to hear(read) then it's a good post :f_mad:
    • Wriggers
      Wriggers
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Originally posted by Hahaownedlolz
      sigh.. i give up on this guy.. I will take back what i said about you being able to beat micro's. If you give up after not even a month you do not have what it takes to beat micro's :D


      Also how is Targetme's post good? Cause he played 1M hands at the micros that makes his post worthwile? I don't see your point. Basically when someone posts what you want to hear(read) then it's a good post :f_mad:
      Hmmm, yeah that's about the gist of it :D
    • boxface
      boxface
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.09.2010 Posts: 29
      Is this thread someone taking the piss?
      Or is it really a serious person who believes he is plateaued and doomed in a life of microstakes poker on a forum and website full of people and info ready to help you....



      :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
    • Ultifanatic
      Ultifanatic
      Bronze
      Joined: 08.04.2008 Posts: 100
      I am completed unsure as to why you guys are pounding on the OP...

      So he plays NL2...

      So he feels that he will most lilkely be playing NL2 for a long time...

      So he feels he wants to write about playing NL2 and not really moving up because he can't....

      To me it sounds like he is so far enjoying poker, he is not throwing away hundreds of dollars a month playing horrible poker and he wants to meet or talk to other poker players that like to play the micro limits....

      Is that so wrong? Other than the fact that he will not be taking shots at your limits and you having the oppurtunity to take his money from him at the new unfamiliar limit?

      Pokerstrategy is a place to learn about poker but it is also a community to talk about poker. If he does not want to or he can't learn that much more about poker due to mental capacity, ability, effort or time and he just wants to enjoy a great poker community. Why bash him by saying it is impossible for him to NOT move up limits from NL2.

      I hope some other players that play the micros that have also found out that they are not moving up will post in this blog, so that they can feel that they are not horrible people or poker players. So that they can feel comfortable with what ever limit they decide is decent for them to stay and and just enjoy playing poker.

      Myself, I am not one of them....so I am done..