Low stakes poker games are a great place to sharpen your skills, but they have their own risks and rewards.
Online poker sites have made it easy for players to participate in real money games with stakes lower than any brick and mortar casino could feasibly offer. You’ll see Omaha and Hold ‘Em games with limits as low as $.02/$.04 and while this can be a great place for middling players to sharpen their skills and move slowly up into higher-limit games, they also offer a way for the not-so-sharp player to lose money to blow money. You must be careful about how you consider stakes in a game: money always matters, even if it’s seemingly only a few pennies.
You need to be careful to not equate lot-limit online poker games with “fun” games. You have to be aware of the fact that while the majority of low-limit online players are beginners, a certain percentage of them are going to be experienced players trying to earn some buy-in money among the fish as well as people who are attempting new strategies and are sharpening their game.
I recommend looking for games where players are being a serious about the game. Too often, you’ll see loose players and playing against them doesn’t do much for your strategy. You’ll play tight aggressive, they’ll throw money at each other and you’ll profit when you play because they’ll be too busy goofing around to notice that you’re the smartest player at the table. With so many players out there, it can take a while, but it’s always worth it to find the serious players and make a note of them in the software.
Remember that inexperienced players, even at the serious table, have a tendency to play too many starting hands. They’ll want to see the flop so they’ll see the flop, even if they’re holding 4-8 offsuit. Understand that as a player, you can learn as much from staying out of a hand and observing how the others play as you can from staying in. Do not play garbage hole cards. Instead, fold them, and then pay attention to how the remaining players place their bets, how long they take to act, and all the other signs that will give you an advantage when you are playing against them with hole cards that are favored to win.
Finally, you need to be careful of getting caught up in the moment. This happens because of the phenomenon where players have been watching televised poker and get it in their head that’s how the game is played. Obviously, televised games are edited to within an inch of their life, but many new players don’t know that and so they play foolishly. Many people will go all-in in situations where no player with a lick of sense would do that. You want to make sure you stick to your guns and avoid developing the same bad habits.