A Guide to Beating the Poker Micro Stakes Cash Games

micro stakes poker guide IndiaOnce you know which poker games you would like to play online for real money, you need to decide on the stakes and your poker odds for winning. If you’re a novice it is a good idea to start out at the micro-stakes.

Why?

Because these games are full of bad players that you should be able to exploit even if you are relatively inexperienced yourself.

As you would probably expect, the micro-stakes cash game player pool is fairly big, so you’ll see players at the tables come and go all the time. As a result, you will have less history to get more specific reads on opponents.

Instead, you want to develop a general game plan that will very likely earn you a solid win rate against the average players you will encounter.

What Does it Take to Beat the Micro-Stakes Cash Games on Indian online Poker Sites?

The truth of the matter is that a straightforward approach is all that is needed. Even though there should be a reason for every bet/call/fold or raise you make, you don’t want to overcomplicate things, because it’s just not necessary.

At the micros, you can’t be expecting the majority of players to be thinking much beyond the strength of their own hands. For the most part, you’re playing against level 1 thinkers, and a simple strategy is very successful against such players. Learn how to read player styles and you will be the king of the table.

Profit the Most From Your Winning Hands by Value Betting

You don’t want to overthink playing your hands or try and get fancy.

They are going to be overvaluing weaker hands and not thinking about what hands their opponents are trying to represent with their bets, so you just want to bet the highest amount you can against these players with your value hands. Your intention should be to bet/bet/bet every street after the flop unless there is a good reason not to.

So how can you value bet effectively at the micro-stakes tables?

Remember these eight very important words:

  • Small Pot –  Small Hand
  • Big Pot, Big Hand

It is one of the main principles discussed in the book “Harrington on Cash Games”   [1].

Put simply, if you consistently build big pots with big hands, and keep pots small with small hands, you’ll crush the micros. Keep in mind, though, that big hands pre-flop aren’t always big hands post-flop. For instance, pocket aces unimproved after the flop is still just a one pair hand.

Generally speaking, slow-playing should be avoided because it goes against the logic of building big pots with big hands and it’s leaving money on the table. Yet you see so many novice cash game players try and be tricky with their big hands to try and trap an opponent, but all it usually accomplishes is winning the least amount of money.

Stick to Playing Strong Starting Hands

As already mentioned, part of the plan is betting strongly when you hit.

But it all starts with remaining patience and folding mediocre hands that you may be tempted to play out of boredom but will end up costing you a lot of money. By playing tight pre-flop, you’ll simplify your decisions after the flop. Because when you make a hand, you can be fairly confident it’s the best hand, and the hand will play itself.

Bluffing is not a Very Useful Tactic at the Micros

When to bluff at micro stakes poker strategy India

Bluff sparingly at the micros.

For the most part it’s just burning money trying to get micro-stakes players off their hands. This doesn’t mean you should never bluff, because there are lots of opportunities to pick up pots uncontested when no one has much of a hand.

Just pick your bluffing spots wisely.  It is not the worst thing in the world if your bluffs get called sometimes, because if observant players notice that you are capable of bluffing, it makes it more difficult for opponents to figure out how to play against you!

Poker Game Selection

Although the vast majority of micro-stakes players are going to be really bad it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t game select.

It is so much easier to make money off weaker opponents.

The key to table selection is looking at the detailed table statistics in the lobby. Next to each table you can join, you’ll see stats like average pot size and players/flop percentage. The bigger these numbers are the looser the players, and the softer the game will be, so you obviously want to join these tables.

Buying in for the Maximum in NL Hold’em Cash Games

Finally, always make sure you buy-in for the max amount, which is usually 100 big blinds.

For example, if you’re playing 4NL 6-max, buy-in for $4 each time.

The reason for this is that you want to maximize your profits. If you can play a deep stack well, you can profit massively from the fishy players that play way too many hands. Getting additional value from your big hands with a bigger stack may not seem like a big deal but over time it adds a significant amount to your win rate and more importantly your online poker bankroll.

Some players will try and justify buying in for a smaller amount by saying they will lose the minimum. But what they don’t realize is that when you’re playing cash games there are always going to be strong hand versus strong hand situations that you can’t get away from. In poker this is called a “cooler”, like for example, flopping top set and having another player turn a straight.

Sometimes there is just no way you can get away from a hand, and your opponents would play it exactly the same way if the hand was reversed, so you’re not making a mistake.

Conclusion

As you can see, being successful at micro-stakes cash games online is all about doing the fundamentals well. This means playing solid starting hands, folding when you miss, avoiding fancy play syndrome, and playing one level above the level your opponents are playing to beat them.

While most of your opponents are only thinking about their own hands, you want to be putting other players on a range of hands. By doing this, you can more accurately determine their likely holdings, and extract the maximum value out of their hands.

If you play solid poker, you can do very well playing micro-stakes cash games online, and it will provide a good foundation to build from. As you gain more experience playing online cash games, your confidence and bankroll will grow, and you’ll eventually reach a point where you can take on the bigger games where there is greater potential to make a lot of money.

*One special poker game type you might want to test-out is Speed  Poker, it favors a certain type of poker player and that might just be you. Find out.

References

[1]  .amazon.com, Harrington on Cash Games:  How to Win at No-Limit Hold’em Money Games, Vol. 1 Book, 2008