This is about how to stop being the lowest of the low in the online poker world, a micro-stakes noob fish – yes right down the bottom at $2nl, $5nl and $10nl. Not some advanced game theory essay or difficult maths stuff, just my thoughts on how my own game changed from being a losing player, to a micro-stakes winner – the 1st hard thing to do on your poker journey. Actually consistently win money and grow a bankroll from the micros.
I think all but a lucky few go through the infamous “circle of death”. Basically win some money, think we’re a natural, play higher stakes, lose said money. Rinse and repeat…
But then some of us actually want to improve and realise we’re maybe not the pokergod we thought we were. In fact we must be pretty bad because we’re losing money at the lowest stakes on the site. Light bulb moment for some – move up stakes where they respect our raises(!!!)…..and repeat the “circle of death” but maybe for more money.
The ones who stick with it though, the ones who are serious and have a real desire to improve find another way. They read some books. They look online and maybe find a forum or two where players actually seem to make money and more importantly seem helpful (in a round about way!). They start looking at their game and what the problem might be. And this is where it starts to get interesting….
The main problem I had was that I was playing far too loose.
I thought all face cards were good to go…
Any suited cards looked good…
Any pocket pairs 4-4+ I was air fist pumping whist getting my money all-in pre-flop….
Limping into any pot I could with any two cards…
Different positions? That was just something I try and persuade my girlfriend to get into every now and then….
Loosey Goosy didn’t do me justice. Combine this with a complete and utter lack of post-flop game, plus usually some beers and you have me! The standard noob micro fish.
So how to stop being loose and tighten up? First things first, get yourself a starting hand range and play so tight you make a Scotsman look like Father Christmas.
My starting range was along the lines of the (in)famous Akrongly 19 hand chart thing. Basically playing very few hands, but playing your premium hands hard and trying to maximise value from them.
I’m not going to list them all here, but think A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-K, K-Qs etc.
Then fire up one maybe two tables of $2nl sit back and get folding. When you’re done folding, fold some more. Then get dealt one of your premium hands and raise. Then get some fishes money. Then get back to folding….EZ game. Obviously not quite as simple as this, but you get the idea…..
With regards post-flop, just play sensible tight poker. Say you have Q-Q which you’ve bet all the way to the turn and then an Ace drops? Calling station now bets into you? Fold. EZ game. No levelling yourself, no Fancy Play Syndrome. Fold. Simple.
Do this for a while and suddenly you’re making money. And not only this you notice that you can add in other hands to your range and make money. You’re roll is growing. You’re game is evolving. You’re noticing how you can exploit bad players (the bad player you used to be) and all by playing tight poker, with a clear idea of what hands you’re playing pre-flop. Now you’re no longer a loosing player but actually a winning one. You’re no longer re-depositing. You’re no longer a micro noob!!!
Now to moving up stakes…..
Getting Off the Bottom
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