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Many players start out in low stakes Texas Holdem games.  Most know that many aspects of low stakes games disappear in higher stakes games, such as players calling with poor cards waiting for the flop. Let’s talk about things you should know as you strive to move to higher stakes games.

Are You Honest with Yourself?

This is possibly the most important question you need to ask yourself.   When you play poker at low stakes, even if you lose, the amount you lose will be small.  Most people can afford to lose at low stakes poker and they can then simply equate the cost of playing with the general cost of entertainment! 

If you move to higher stakes games, you will want to win.  Losing will no longer be a simple matter of paying for the fun of playing.  In order to get better at poker, you need to answer a large number of questions that some people will find unpleasant to answer.

If you are in that group, you probably should stick with low stakes poker and have a great time playing!

Do You Have the Necessary Bankroll to Move to Higher Stakes Games?

Poker is fun even at low stakes as you well know.  Almost all at home poker games are low stakes games.  The term penny ante entered the English language as a way to describe low stakes endeavors.

Still, a lot of players feel that they have developed the skill to get into higher stakes games.  After all, there is a lot more money to win in a much shorter period of time when you play in higher stakes games.  However, there is also the chance that you will lose before you win.  So, the question is: Can I afford a protracted losing streak?  You know that there will be losing streaks.  Can you weather the storm and live to play another day?

You might decide to go to just one stakes level higher than the one you have been playing at.  This will conserve your bankroll until you feel confident that you can move even higher.

Do you Study Poker in Your Free Time?

At low stakes poker, you can have a wonderful time without fully understanding poker math and many other concepts of modern-day poker.  When you move to higher stakes poker, you will need to study. 

The need to study often hits people hard in any field of endeavor.  The student who was great at math in high school may face a rude awakening when confronted for the first time with calculus.  The same applies in every field.  An actor who was always chosen to play a prominent role in high school plays will inevitably face a lot more competition in acting school.

Most top high school athletes were the best athletes in a large geographical area as high schoolers.  So many of them are shocked to find out that all of their teammates in college athletics were similarly the best athletes in their area.  That means that everyone has to learn to be better!

The same applies to poker at higher stakes.

Have you Already Played Thousands of Hands?

Many poker players think that they can move up after a short period of time playing in low stakes games.  The fact is that it takes thousands of hands to get the experience you’ll need to do well at higher stakes.  Experience is just so valuable!

The world of athletics tells us a similar story.  The quarterback in American football has to be an expert in so many aspects of the game that it is next to impossible to become a star in the National Football League without having experienced many thousands of plays either “in person” or on film.

There are so many stories that demonstrate this point.  A quarterback named Kurt Warner played in Europe and in what was called the Arena League, and never proved his value to a major professional team.  He was the number two quarterback for the St. Louis Rams when the starting quarterback went down with an injury.

Kurt Warner, to the shock and surprise of the entire North American sports world, took over and became the league’s Most Valuable Player!

Never underestimate the value and importance of sheer experience!

Do You Have the Self-confidence to Move up to Higher Stakes?

It takes a lot of courage to bluff.  It also takes a lot of courage to stay in a hand in which your opponent is bluffing but doing it so well that you think that he really does have a powerful hand.  The kind of self-confidence players need to either bluff or to call a bluff is very hard to develop.

It is important to bluff at least some of the time since if a player never bluffs, everyone will know that he has a solid hand when he or she does bet.  If a player always folds in borderline cases in the face of what might be a bluff, then opponents will always bluff!

Are You Evaluating Your Skill Level Correctly?

It is a cold, hard fact that some players think that they are better than they really are.  At low stakes, it is easy to play in a lackadaisical manner.  It is a prescription for financial losses to play lackadaisically in higher stakes games.  So, in order to go from low stakes games to higher stakes games, you have to be brutally honest with yourself with regard to your poker skill level.

Are You in Good Physical Shape?

You don’t have to be an Adonis to play poker!  Still, you do need to be in better physical shape than most people.  Poker involves long, tedious hours of playing and studying. 

Do You Sleep Easily and Soundly?

Most people undervalue sleep.  In poker, as in many areas of life, sleep is very important.  It is also important to sleep easily and soundly.  Poker players who play when they are tired are losing poker players.

Do You Have Tilt under Control?

It is important to deal effectively with those horrible bad beats and own goals that beset even the best poker players.  Tilt is the condition that we call rage in traffic, airplanes, and other areas of everyday life.

You will be allowed to tilt in poker if you desire to do so.  Your opponents will be only too happy to give you space for tilting.  Tilt leads to own goals over the poker table!  You probably never tilted in low stakes gamines since the money involved was so low.

In higher stakes games, the money involved is much higher and the tendency among players to tilt is much greater.  You need to be as immune to tilt as is humanly possible if you really want to get to the higher stakes tables.

Do You Have a Life Outside of Poker?

This is also one of the most important aspects of growing as a poker player.  It is important to have friends, family, close human contact, and many outside interests.  You need a go-to place such as a physical place, a hobby, or just an interest in order to clear your mind from the vicissitudes of poker.

Juicy Stakes Poker hopes to be your go-to place for poker.  We also publish articles that might help you find that go-to place when you need it to get away from poker!

If you are not yet a member of the Juicy Stakes team, we urge you to join NOW!

And we wish one and all a great time playing poker!


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