When is it a Good Idea to Move to a Higher Stakes Level?
Here at Juicy Stakes Poker we offer many poker stakes levels. We encourage all new players to start at low stakes. The reason for this is that starting out at a low stakes level gives players the chance to get accustomed to the difference between playing poker with your pals and playing against people you don’t know.
Is There Really a Big Difference?
It is very different. For example, it is very unlikely that your friends can bluff you out of a pot. First of all, you knee them well so you already have a head start on determining if they are bluffing you or not. Secondly, the stakes are generally very low in a friendly game of a weekend night. So, it is hard to bluff someone out of a penny ante pot!
Doesn’t that Apply to Online Poker as Well?
Yes, it does!
At the very low stakes levels, it is hard to bluff someone out of a pot. He or she might be willing to put in another few cents to see what the bettor has. This is one of the basic lessons of playing low stakes poker: bluffing is usually not an issue.
So, What, Then, is the Issue?
As we said, the issue is to get used to playing “real “poker. One extremely important aspect of playing real poker is to observe every hand and to pay close attention at all times.
It could be that a pro can take her or his mind off a hand from time to time but they have so much more experience playing poker than a newbie does! A new poker player has to be aware of everything going on!
It may be time to move up to a higher stakes level when paying close attention to every hand becomes natural to you.
Play your Position as if you were in a Tournament
The stakes may be very low and there is a lot of temptation to play at least until the flop. But the low stakes also give you a chance to play like a pro long before you have the experience a pro has!
Once again, it may be time for you to move up to a higher stakes level when you want the excitement of playing against players all of whom treat every hand as if they were competing in a tournament.
Of course, simple excitement is not enough. You need a lot of experience as well. You also should have at the very least a rudimentary competence in the basics of poker math. This includes pot odds, implied odds, expected value or EV, equity, and quite a bit more.
When you learn poker math, you have to keep in mind that the terms are imposed on the reality; they are not the reality itself. What this means is that if you need to change the terms to have them make more sense from the name3 itself, you can and should, do so!
Is There an Example from Real Life?
Yes, there is!
We had a player who taught English privately to non-native English speakers and changed many terms of grammar so that they made more sense to his students. For example, he changed present simple to “general information” and “sentences without action”.
He did this because so many of his students—all adults who needed to improve their English for professional or business reasons or just to feel more comfortable travelling. They complained that despite many years in school, they still had “spaghetti” in their minds in terms of English grammar.
The lesson here is that if EV confuses you at the naming level, change the name so that it reflects more closely how you understand the concept. The same goes for all poker math ideas.
Move to a Higher Stakes Level when you Get Bored
Folding 70 to 80% of hands can get boring. Still, we tell all of our players to pay close attention on all hands. Moving up in stakes is a great way to redirect your concentration since the game will suddenly be a lot more challenging!
It is very important to learn to keep your emotions in check. Tilt is the poker way of saying that someone has lost his cool. Now, in low stakes, if you feel that you are ready to go to a higher stakes level, you might find yourself being critical, at least in your own mind, of the other players in a game some of whom are true newbies to online poker.
You may not be actively tilting but you might find that you are getting too emotionally involved in the outcomes of various hands. At a higher stakes level, you are more likely to be the one the other players are critical of! They may not say anything to you, of course, but you may feel that you have suddenly lost a little of your well-earned self-confidence.
This is a good thing as everyone who moves up has to face the challenge of competing at a higher level. Actors who go from Community Theater to “real” theater feel it; athletes certainly feel it; executives feel it; and poker players feel it!
Forcing yourself to face a serious new challenge will help you keep that even emotional mindset and avoid any form of tilt.
Moving up is a Major Part of your Overall Training
If you see yourself down the road entering high level tournaments, where the buy in is a substantial sum, you will need to advance in your poker skills a lot and moving to a level where the players are generally much better is one way to prepare for the rigors and challenges that are still far down the road.
There are many skills people need to advance in business or in government. Some of these skills, such as being fluent in the use of computer software, understanding when to show empathy, being interested in others are not directly related to advancing as a poker player.
However, we can distill many of the traits necessary for advancement into one: self-management. This simple term covers a great deal of ground. It relates to the ability to pay attention to every hand and to learn something from every hand. It deals with controlling your emotions. So, while we might not be “happy” for a player who beats us out of a big pot with a great bluff, we can say “good hand” and show empathy to ourselves!
The act of demonstrating empathy to oneself will go a very long way to prevent tilt and tilt is one of the biggest causes of poker players losing much more money than they should.
Juicy Stakes Can Help you Grow as a Poker Player
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