The goal of micro stakes?

    • DrFrog
      DrFrog
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      Joined: 01.09.2013 Posts: 4
      Hi, so I've been playing poker on and off for a few years, recently trying to put some effort into getting better at poker but I feel very confused at the moment as to how to learn.

      I'm currently playing NL2 and so far I feel like I've become a winning player after being a break even player for a long time, I feel like I have the basics down pretty well now, and mistakes I make most of the time I feel I can identify. I don't feel like I'm getting better though which is the bottom line and what is making me feel confused.

      The biggest thing which I feel confused about is I don't feel like I understand what I'm supposed to know while playing NL2.
      So at the moment I'm playing NL2 4 table zoom and trying to grind up a bankroll, and all I feel like I know how to do is play ABC poker and try to maximize my fat value which is working good but I don't feel like I'm improving as a player now.

      Is it possible to learn things like hand reading, blind defence etc in NL2 or is it better I just focus on building a bankroll and waiting until I hit higher limits before I invest time into improving my theory?
  • 16 replies
    • metza
      metza
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      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      You will have leaks for sure.

      Just work on eliminating them, and moving up whenever you can.

      Goal of the micros is to get good enough to win money at stakes where it actually matters.
    • scett
      scett
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      Joined: 07.01.2010 Posts: 65
      Zooms are great roll builders, but they wont make you a great player.
      And yes its pointless to talk about advanced strats in nl2, just stick to basics and do what you do as long as you make profit.

      Once you get to nl 10 or 25 I would suggest to move to regular tables as you want to have those deeper stats to be able to make better plays. Its your preference off course. Also zooms are known to be tighter, wth lower win rates, so once again its your preference.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
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      Hi, DrFrog
      Somebody in these forums recently said, "The goal of microstakes is to learn the game well enough so that you no longer need to play them".

      If you practice blind defence etc at NL2 then you won't have to change your habits later. Build good habits now.
      Make sure that they are not SO much habitual that you can't change them when necessary.

      The problem with zoom is that you don't get to use table dynamics when they are to your advantage (loose to your right, nits to your left) because every hand they all move around.

      OTOH, if the table dynamics aren't in your favour -- relax, it's just one hand.

      If you're turning the corner to being a winning player, stay the course and build your skills.

      How far are you from taking a shot at NL5?

      Cheers,
      --VS
    • DrFrog
      DrFrog
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      Joined: 01.09.2013 Posts: 4
      Thanks guys, I'm at $120 at the moment, I was going to wait until $150 before I move up, I find it plays the same as NL2 as I've played quite a lot of NL5 in the past but I just want to keep my BR over $100, purely to satisfy my OCD :)
    • Alan883
      Alan883
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      Joined: 03.12.2008 Posts: 1,941

      Is it possible to learn things like hand reading, blind defence etc in NL2 or is it better I just focus on building a bankroll and waiting until I hit higher limits before I invest time into improving my theory?


      I think that it is possible to learn quite a lot. Also at NL2 you will find good players (for NL2 of course) and bad players. You can adapt to their style as you will adapt at later limits. I currently play NL25 and there are a lot of guys who wouldn't beat NL2.

      So i think you have great opportunity to learn a lot and the best thing you can achieve is to prepare yourself for later limits. And of course never forget to enjoy the game. For me this is still the most important part of strategy.
    • DrFrog
      DrFrog
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      Joined: 01.09.2013 Posts: 4
      So I've been looking at my stats over my first 10k hands and my earnings look like this...

      SB - -28.80
      BB - -37.80
      EP - +16.82
      MP- +39.59
      CO- +57.42
      BTN- +75.43

      units = BB/100

      Would it be wise to completely cut out my blind play unless I have JJ+ until i figure out how to play these positions better?
    • TinoLaan
      TinoLaan
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      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,411
      I don't think you can expect to be a big winner in the blinds because you're going to be out of position most of the time (all the time when you're SB). However, you can always try to minimize your losses there, and to be fair -28 and -37bb/100 isn't that bad if you ask me.

      But it's only 10k hands so it's not exactly very reliable data yet, especially because you won't even have 2k hands for each position.
    • DrFrog
      DrFrog
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      Joined: 01.09.2013 Posts: 4
      Ah cool, if it's not terrible I'll just tighten up a bit and see if that helps then, thanks.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
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      Originally posted by DrFrog
      So I've been looking at my stats over my first 10k hands and my earnings look like this...

      SB - -28.80
      BB - -37.80
      EP - +16.82
      MP- +39.59
      CO- +57.42
      BTN- +75.43

      units = BB/100

      Would it be wise to completely cut out my blind play unless I have JJ+ until i figure out how to play these positions better?
      If you completely cut out your blind play, you will show -100 bb/100 in BB and -50 BB/100 in SB

      So your stats are quite good actually.

      Think of it this way:
      in SB you are + 22 BB/100 over "baseline"
      in BB you are + 62 BB/100 over "baseline"

      wp

      Best of luck,
      --VS
    • Flashman1849
      Flashman1849
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      Joined: 03.07.2011 Posts: 78
      Bearing in mind that all my experience is in six-max games, my own highly personal opinion is that playing the lowest microstakes like NL2 is a waste of time, and might get you into bad habits that are difficult to modify later. As someone said, your goal is to get to stakes where the money matters, so why not do this as quickly as possible? Every poker player should be willing to lose a few hundred dollars, maybe even a thousand or so, at the beginning while learning, so my advice would be to save up and deposit $500 so that you can play NL25, starting with one table and slowly increasing the number of tables once you are profitable.

      I find that stakes up to NL50 are pretty easily beatable at good win-rates, so long as you thoroughly review all your hands after each session, take notes, study good books and videos, put in the hours doing analysis with the help of a software package such as Equilab, and keep an open mind while constantly looking for new ways to plug your own leaks and beat your opposition.

      Confession: I was beating NL100 at about 5.5 BBs/100 at the end of 2012, and since returning recently to cash-games am now struggling to win - not sure whether this is because the games are tougher, or my own play has badly deteriorated, but I'm putting in the hours to improve my play, as I won't rest until I'm winning again! But I can still beat NL50 without any trouble.
    • RasTweet
      RasTweet
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      Joined: 26.12.2009 Posts: 4,553
      Originally posted by Flashman1849
      Bearing in mind that all my experience is in six-max games, my own highly personal opinion is that playing the lowest microstakes like NL2 is a waste of time, and might get you into bad habits that are difficult to modify later. As someone said, your goal is to get to stakes where the money matters, so why not do this as quickly as possible? Every poker player should be willing to lose a few hundred dollars, maybe even a thousand or so, at the beginning while learning, so my advice would be to save up and deposit $500 so that you can play NL25, starting with one table and slowly increasing the number of tables once you are profitable.
      I don't agree with this. Specially the part "Every poker player should be willing to lose a few hundred dollars, maybe even a thousand or so, at the beginning while learning," I started with $50 2 years ago and have $1k+ now. I know this money "doesn't matter" but I made a big improvement in those 2 years. I don't see any good reason to start playing at nl50, lose a lot while learning and then have to play a long time to get BE to your losses again.

      BUT thats my opinion!

      Regards

      RasTweet
    • TinoLaan
      TinoLaan
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      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,411
      I don't agree with this. Specially the part "Every poker player should be willing to lose a few hundred dollars, maybe even a thousand or so, at the beginning while learning," I started with $50 2 years ago and have $1k+ now. I know this money "doesn't matter" but I made a big improvement in those 2 years. I don't see any good reason to start playing at nl50, lose a lot while learning and then have to play a long time to get BE to your losses again.
      I agree with this 100%. There is absolutely no need to lose that much just to get experience and learn the game. There are plenty of players who have gotten to where they are now without ever making a deposit. In fact, some of our Black Members got to where they are now from our free poker money.

      I also disagree that playing the micro stakes is a waste of time. Yes rake is huge and there's not much money to be made, but that's not the point when you're learning. However, playing at these stakes will allow you to study the game while not risking a lot of money. You can learn the game and potentially lose a ton at NL25/NL50, or you can learn the game and potentially lose very little at NL2. I know what I'd pick if I were a beginning player.

      If you're a beginning player and you start at NL50, then even losing just 2 buy-ins will hurt a lot, because losing $100 just isn't fun. Now if you lose just $4, that's quite a difference.

      Starting at the lower stakes is definitely the way to go in my opinion.
    • Flashman1849
      Flashman1849
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      Joined: 03.07.2011 Posts: 78
      Fair enough, and I should have expected some disagreement to be forthcoming! Obviously NL2 does serve as a good starting point for learning while a player is still becoming familiar with the rules and gameplay mechanics, gaining enough experience to quickly fold obviously bad hands out of position, and so on - kind of like play-money games except for trivial amounts of actual cash.

      But it doesn't take a genius to beat NL25, and I think some microstakes players simply lack the confidence to move up, mistakenly thinking that everyone at the higher level will be some kind of great player. I moved straight into NL50 from STTs, and was surprised at how easy the games were to learn to beat; I had to adjust a bit and endure the usual swings of negative variance and tilt-induced spew-offs before becoming a winning player, but didn't lose a huge amount initially. In my opinion there's now a substantial gap in required skill between NL50 and NL100, although that might just reflect my own massive ignorance so far of the game.

      So you guys may be right to find fault in what I said, and perhaps I overstated my case, as a truly inexperienced player without much confidence would probably get mauled a bit more than I did at NL25 and NL50, as I already had the foundational experience of beating slowly-increasing stakes in STTs. In fact I would still recommend STTs as the way to go for a beginning player, although the microstakes there do seem a bit less fishy than when I started with them in late 2010.

      This might be a controversial position to take, but I believe that microstakes cash-game players should try the next-higher level once they have around 23 or more buy-ins at the current level: if you can beat NL2, for example, then try playing a single table of NL5 once you have $46 - the worst that can happen is you lose $5 and have to keep playing NL2 with a bankroll of twenty buy-ins, which is enough for a decent player without a risk-taking style (which is very unlikely to be the optimal style for NL2 anyway). The idea is to cautiously take shots at the next level once you are a proven winning player, and have a reasonably solid bankroll, at your current level - you don't need to be securely rolled for the next level before even trying it (although it's a common misconception that you do). Absolutely do not bust your bankroll, but also be aware that the variance in microstakes cash-games is often massively overstated, and also that it's not the end of the world for most players to bust a microstakes bankroll once in their lives. Also consider what not moving up in a timely fashion is costing you - bankroll management has to be optimised just as much as the play of actual hands, or else you end up suffering huge opportunity costs as a player in the long term.

      As one last desperate attempt to salvage my first post, I'd like to modify my initial statement to "Every player should be willing to INVEST [rather than lose] a few hundred dollars", because poker is an activity worth some financial outlay - a hobby that can potentially pay substantial amounts of money - so you should be willing to have a few hundred bucks tied up in your online account(s): you will have anyway if you make it to the higher stakes. Investing as much of your own money as you can afford in the beginning could well speed up the process of getting to the mid-stakes, if you work hard on improving your game; also with reasonable bankroll management you will never lose your initial deposit entirely. (However, this view might fundamentally contradict this site's philosophy.) Also, even if you lose that money forever, your contribution to the poker economy could well be greater than we realise, due to the multiplier effect of economics, and could help to keep the game going for everyone in some small but meaningful way.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
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      Originally posted by Flashman1849and I think most microstakes players simply lack the confidence to move up
      fyp :coolface:

      Bingo.

      I've been as high as NL 50 and been beaten back each time.

      The strange thing is that I am doing quite well at 5-Card Draw.
      I have been playing RAZZ, NL 2-7, FL 2-7 Triple draw, 8-game and HORSE tournaments (the "astronomer" freerolls) on P*s and doing quite well.

      So why (oh why oh why) do I suck so badly at NLHE?

      I believe that for the most part, I simply lack confidence.

      I "know" so much I get totally confused as to which principle to apply when.
      I end up playing passively, and we all know where that leads.

      In the other games, I know just enough to be dangerous.

      Great thread, this...
      --VS
    • spreeboy
      spreeboy
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      Joined: 06.09.2010 Posts: 223
      I agree about how lack of confidence restrains us from progress at poker.

      I did a little challenge myself to see if I could break out from 5NL. When I was moving up from 10NL>16NL>25NL, I used 16 buy-ins for each of these stakes. My plan was to move down if I lose 4 buy-ins at my current level.

      I looked into my PT4 database and found out that 5-6 buyin downswings doesn't come much often in my last 3 months at 5NL. So I thought, "what is the purpose of having a very deep bankroll, when I won't be needing the rest of the money moving up?". So last August, I aggressively moved up to 10NL with 16 buy in (I withdrew the rest of my money), then started 16NL mid-August when I had 16 buy-ins, then played 25NL the whole september and won $600+ with a 10BB/100 winrate. For now, I won't move up to 50NL. My friend thought that I was just running hot because of low hand sample (I played 46K hands only over the course of my progress), so I will play more 25NL and hopefully prove that I am ready at 50NL.

      Another drawback of being too concerned about deep bankroll requirement before moving up is that it will have an overall effect on your mindset. Risk-averse players like these tends to play really straight-forward and will bluff less on spots where a bluff makes sense (at least I know two online-poker friends).

      Also, there is really no need to reload and deposit as long as you are strict with your preferred buy-in loss-limit. Just move down after a downswing and rebuild your roll. However, If you play 25NL, and then forced to moved down to 16NL, and then forced to move down to 10NL, then there something wrong with your play and your overall game plan needs an overhaul.

      Cheers
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
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      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,901
      Originally posted by spreeboy

      Another drawback of being too concerned about deep bankroll requirement before moving up is that it will have an overall effect on your mindset. Risk-averse players like these tends to play really straight-forward and will bluff less on spots where a bluff makes sense (at least I know two online-poker friends).

      I'm not sure that deep or shallow bankroll management is the issue.
      I am fairly certain that "risk aversion" (let's call it by its real name: fear) causes the behaviour you describe.

      I kept 20 BI always. I have had 10 BI downswings though, so it was barely enough.

      However I am totally guilty of not bluffing when the situation calls for it .

      NOT bluffing an A842 rainbow board in position when both flop and turn are checked round you you is a crime.

      Peace
      --VS