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5 Reasons Online Poker Players Never Move Up in Stakes

Micro Stakes Poker

Some online poker players are never able to move up in stakes. They start playing micro stakes cash games or small buy-in poker tournaments and find themselves stuck there. Often, they find that they lose money consistently and continually donate to the game.

Today, we are giving you five reasons why poker players never move up in stakes. These reasons often apply to low-stakes live poker games as well.

Unable to Grasp Higher Level Concepts

The reality of modern poker is that it takes a higher IQ than in the past. No longer is it good enough to be able to feel your way through a game or power your way via sheer aggression. You have to understand higher concept thinking in poker. GTO strategy is the name of the game at higher limits, and those that are unable to grasp higher concepts will find themselves stuck at lower levels.

Just listen to Doug Polk talk about some of his matches with Daniel Negreanu in their grudge match. If your eyes gloss over and what they say sounds like Greek to you, then you may be one who has trouble with higher concept thinking in poker.

Unwilling to Study

Long gone are the days where someone can play their way up through stakes. Learning by doing seldom works nowadays for the modern online poker player. Players must put in additional time and effort to study the game in order to improve.

Poker Strategy Books

This can be a combination of reading poker strategy books, poker coaching, studying hand histories, or discussing hands with other players. Failing to take time to study will be a major hindrance for many low-stakes players and keeps them trapped in the micros.

They Never Bluff

Back before the poker boom, there were players that could still play at a somewhat high level without having to bluff that often. Dan Harrington was called “action Dan” not because he gave a lot of action but as a joke about how tight he played. However, he was able to win millions.

However, even Harrington was able to bluff when necessary. There are some players that never bluff in poker and often find themselves getting stuck. They may not be getting stuck in the micros, but they never move much past low mid-stakes online poker.

They Cannot Manage Their Bankrolls

There are some poker players that are able to understand higher concepts and may even study the game. However, they are not able to properly manage their bankrolls and are constantly stuck at lower limits. A great example is a player I knew in Los Angeles named Taxi. I once watched him win over $50,000 in poker tournaments in one week.

Money Poker Bankroll

Less than a week later, he had to be staked in $250 tournaments. Apparently, he had blown through his winnings in just a week’s time. There are many examples of poker players that have skills, but their bankroll management skills keep them stuck at lower stakes.

They Play With Scared Money

You cannot play poker with scared money. Scared money is a poker player that is afraid to take too many risks. This player often will win the minimum, or if they win, it is more because of luck than skill. Scared money may also be players that are comfortable playing at one level but don’t have the stomach to move up.

Some players cannot take the variance of higher stakes. Others are too attached to the money in their bankrolls to risk it trying to grow it. They let the fear of losing handcuff them to lower stakes, and they never progress as a poker player.

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