Why Players Have Trouble Beating Low Stakes Poker Games
I was talking to a player the other day that was telling me that he could not understand why he was losing at lower stakes NL Holdem games. He told me how that he has played literally millions of hands at various poker gaming websites and has played thousands of tournaments. He says that no matter what he does that he cannot beat lower stakes NL Holdem games.
I find it hard to believe that he has played Millions of hands and thousands of tournaments. If he had, I think he would have found a way to beat the games. I don’t claim to be a massive winner at low stakes poker games, but I am fairly competent. The reason I do well is that I understand a few things about these low stakes games.
Lower Stakes Players Not Expert Players
First, you have to realize that the players by and large at low stakes games are bad players. Most are not true “poker players.” Most are recreational players or wannabe players. Many claim to know how to play the game properly, but in reality, many do not. As a result, moves made by these players should not surprise you.
A common mistake that I see made frequently by certain players at low stakes is that they try and play too fancy. They try and make all kinds of moves that they see made on TV and as a result, they go broke.
There are many players that are too inexperienced to realize that you are making a play at the pot when there is three suited cards, three straight cards, etc. They are just concerned about their own hand. Many times this problem occurs with players that are likely a little more educated than the other players or even players that may actually be a bit better than the stakes that they are playing.
Better Players Let Their Egos Get in the Way
Next, poker players have egos. As a result, players are not willing to make the adjustments at certain stakes that it takes in order to beat the game. If a move doesn’t work the first time, they figure that it will work eventually. When that move works only once in ten and they lose a lot of money trying to play fancy, they cannot understand what is going on.
Think about it. If you were a boxer in a match against someone that is a lot quicker and faster than you, would you go toe to toe with them and try to fight their fight? No. You would try and get them tired. Push them deeper into the fight and then take advantage. My point in this example is that you must adjust your game for the situation.
Tighter is Righter
Adjusting your game for low stakes means primarily one thing, and that is to play tighter. In my earlier example of my friend, he tried to tell me that he played tight and it did not work. He then gave me some examples of hands that he was “playing tight” with. For example, he played K-9 suited in early position to a late position raise. In another hand, he moved all-in with J-10 pre-flop and was called by A-K. A ten hit the flop, but my friend then got made when an ace hit the river. What did he expect? He made bad plays and deserved to lose.
Playing tight is dependent primarily on good starting hand selection. In many cases, you want to stay away from a lot of fancy play or taking flyers with bad hands. There will be times that you naturally will loosen up your game, but they should be rarities as opposed to the norm.
Also, you need to pay attention to how your players are playing. In low stakes games, you will be able to figure out your opponents relatively quickly. Betting patterns will emerge and you will be able to take advantage when they are bluffing or have an inferior hand. You will also know when your queens just got outflopped by someone “gambling” with A-7 suited.
The old adage of “tight is right” is really one of the best ways to play in low stakes games on various poker gaming websites. While there will be times where being the bully or maniac will be profitable, they will be greatly outnumbered by the times where you have players that will play any two cards. Tightening up your game will enable you to stand the swings and come out a winner.