Pretty much every online poker player starts at the low-stakes tables when they decide to move into real-money games, and the reasons are pretty obvious. A lot of players will tell you that low-stakes games aren’t profitable, but that’s generally because low-stakes players find themselves in on way more hands than the should be. It’s possible and in fact practical to play low-stakes poker for profit if you are comfortable with a longer, slower burn at the table with less action. Think Tight Aggressive and crank it up to about 10% past your usual play.
As with any hold ‘em game, position plays a huge factor in low-stakes online poker games. Early position preflop players want to restrict their play to only the absolute best hands: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AQ and AK. Limp in with a pocket pair of TT or lower and AJ is always more tempting than it should be. You’re better off folding everything else when playing from the blinds or immediately after. Later positions get more information and have a bit more freedom in their betting, but early players have to keep things tight.
After The Flop
KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. Too many players find themselves trying a bit too hard when approaching the small-stakes games and end up outthinking themselves. There’s not much point at all in bluffing or disguising your plays and hands if you’re playing against the majority of small-stakes, novice poker players.
Value bet fairly often because players in micro-stakes games are far less likely to bet heavy on you and will try to call you down while holding weaker cards versus pushing you hard. It’s not uncommon for weak-seeming hands played from a later position to pay off when dealing with calling stations.
Again: Don’t Bluff
That’s sort of a contradiction to our value betting advice, but there’s a point to be made. You should be using continuation betting to be in on a hand that you have a likely win on, but you should stay away from complicated poker plays that small-stakes players simply won’t understand. In other words, if you’re holding 84 off-suit, then muck it and get on with your life.
Trust Your Opponent
Much like you’re likely to Keep It Simple, Stupid, other players are going to stick to the basics of the game and when they’re betting heavily, it’s safe to assume they’ve got a good run set up. If they check-raise all-in when the flush card hits? It’s a flush. flush. Check, check and then bet on the turn? It helped them. Bet preflop and checked the flop? He’s got nothing or to board haven’t helped them out.
When players with more competency hit smaller-stakes tables, they frequently find themselves drifting a bit and missing out on the game. One of the key points for any poker player’s strategy is to immerse themselves in the game and keep an eye on how their opponents play. After all, the people you face at smaller-stakes tables may well be the people you face in a tournament down the line.
These tips are good for not just the regular player that’s stepped down to lower stakes games, but a good checklist for players that are first entering smaller-stakes games as well. You’ll get an insight into how more experienced players see the game and see how you can expand your horizons at the tables as well.