How to Win at Low Stakes Poker
Many poker players try hard to move out of low stakes games. They feel that they can’t win enough at low stakes to make their time worthwhile. Others see from the rake calculator that the rake is higher at low stakes. Let’s talk about the potential for many players in low stakes poker.
Why Do Poker Players Play in Low Stakes Games?
There are really only three reasons to play in low stakes games:
- To gain the necessary experience in order to safely move up to higher stakes games.
- Because your bankroll doesn’t allow you to play at higher stakes.
- Because you just want to have fun playing poker at very low financial risk.
Any player who is playing at low stakes for the first reason and is up against players in either the second or third category, has the chance to win almost every time out. On your way to higher stakes, you can pocket some money and, at the very least, avoid losing regularly!
How Do Players Looking for Experience Win against Players Protecting their Bankroll?
The main way these players win is by intimidating low bankroll players. You can often bluff an opponent out of a pot since they might not be willing to risk money that they would rather not lose.
If you are playing against several opponents, one might be like you, looking to move up to higher stakes games, one might be protecting his or her bankroll, and three might be playing just for fun. If you watch your opponents and pay attention on every hand, you can identify the low bankroll players and intimidate them into leaving a hand even if you think they have the better hand!
This tactic is least likely to work against players who love to play poker, can afford to lose a bit, and are in the game just for fun. These players will often stay in a hand even though it is clear that they have the weaker hand. If you are the player with the stronger hand, playing against then will give you practice in finding the bet that they will call rather than going too high and having then fold.
Playing against this type of player will give you excellent experience in every aspect of poker.
How Can I Beat a Player who is Like Me?
A player who is playing low stakes poker in order to get valuable experience will be a challenge for you. One way to win in games with this type of player is to pretend to be a player protecting his bankroll. If you are paying close attention, you might see a hand in which they feel that they can intimidate you into folding.
Then, instead of folding, you raise and they will go into a minor panic!
Low Stakes Poker is not Like Poker with Friends
Most games among friends are for low stakes but they aren’t “low stakes games”. There is very little bluffing in these games. If it is a penny ante game, most players will stay in the hand until the last card is dealt.
Players will fold if they know they can’t beat another hand but they might not know this until the last card is dealt. Winners in these games generally win a few dollars and losers lose a few dollars. We know of ballpark vendors from Chicago who have all night poker games a few times a year and then the winners take the losers out for breakfast!
One of the many reasons why friendly poker games are attractive is because the dealer deciders on the variation for his or her deal. Thus, you can play as many as ten variations of poker in an evening game with friends. In a poker room such as Juicy Stakes, you will play one variation of poker for hours unless you leave one game and join another.
In poker terms, we show respect for money with terms like equity, expected value, pot odds, and others. It is easy to respect money when you are playing at high stakes but it is an important part of low stakes games to respect the money you have brought to the table. Many of your opponents will not be respecting either their own money or any of their opponents’ money. In so doing, they give you a golden opportunity to take away their money!
Everett Dirksen was a long time United States Senator from Illinois. He was a conservative Republican, especially on monetary issues. He once famously criticized a spending bill passed by the Democratic Party’s majority in Congress: “A billion dollars here and a billion dollars there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
The same idea applies in low stakes poker: a small loss here because you were careless in your analysis of the hand and another small loss there and pretty soon you are walking away from the table having lost. If you can easily afford losing money regularly it isn’t a major problem but most players would prefer to win regularly no matter how wealthy they are.
Winning Small Amounts of Money is not Enough
We have to realize that even though it is relatively easy to win at low stakes poker, winning money in and of itself will not make you a better poker player. A lot of players feel that they are ready to move to higher stakes after they have become regular winners at small stakes.
The main reason that some players win regularly at small stakes is because of the playing weaknesses of their opponents rather than any skills the winning players may have developed.
So, a player in small stakes games has to consciously do all of the things good players do. We have spoken about these already. It includes paying attention, watching what your opponents do especially on the many hands you are no longer in, analyzing every hand, keeping notes of the hands, training yourself to watch every hand, and giving money the respect it is due.
When you have mastered the little details at small stakes poker, you might be ready to advance to higher stakes games. Playing at low stakes gives you a low risk way to see and play thousands of hands. it isn’t so nice to say it, and we would never encourage anyone to feel this way in a friendly game with pals, but in poker against strangers, the key is to develop the skill to exploit their weaknesses.
Winning at low stakes is the key to knowing that you have learned how to exploit opponents’’ weaknesses. You have to be honest with yourself: Did I win this session because my game has improved or did I win because my opponents were really poor players? If The answer is the latter, you still aren’t ready to move up to higher stakes.
However, if you stay the course and improve, however incrementally, over time, you will eventually be ready to move to higher stakes games!
Juicy Stakes Poker
When that happy day comes, we will be ready to find the best game for you. Juicy Stakes Poker offers great poker in many variations and at many stakes.
If you are not yet a Juicy Stakes poker player, join NOW! You will then enter a great world of online poker!