Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

25 Reasons You Are Stuck At The Micros - Part 1

Are you still fighting like a dog at the micro-limits, trying hard to build a big enough bankroll to break through? I know a lot of readers will find this situation familiar, so I have come up with a list of 25 reasons why you might be stuck. They will not all apply to every player of course. Hopefully this will be the jolt some people need to stop looking for that ‘magic’ or ‘secret’ of the pros – and start closer to home by plugging some more obvious leaks.

On we go, my 25 reasons why you might be stuck at the micro-limits in online poker games.

  1. Guessing The Math: These days it is not good enough to work out that you’ll win ‘around a third’ of the time and see that your pot-odds are ‘close enough’. You will be spewing equity, a couple of percentage points at a time to opponents who are thinking ‘I have 37% against his range and only need 34% to break even, so I call’. Go work on your math, it is no longer a luxury!
  2. Multi-Tabling: Playing many games at once is a great way to improve your hourly rate. It will stifle your development though. Sure, you’ll learn to robotically exploit the games of novices, but that will not help you move on up. If you are sick of the same low buy-ins then you need to cut down to a few games, learn to beat the new level, then add the games again later… I have seen many players multi-table themselves to the point of going crazy, don’t let that be you.
  1.  Playing When Stoned / Tired / Drunk / Sick: Well, ok, maybe some people do play great after a couple of glasses of adult beverages… Most of us don’t. Why not make a separate ‘fun’ account at a different site for those times, and stay focused and sober when playing with your main bankroll.
  1. Bad Note Taking: If you write ‘donk’ in the notes of your opponents (or worse), then you are doing it wrong. This will not really help when you sit with this player again in the future. What will help is specifics, ‘bets 1/3rd pot with draws and more with vulnerable made hands’ for example. Oh, and don’t forget to color code the regulars too.
  1. Playing Without A HUD: No excuses in 2014, if you do not have Stats on your opponents then you are simply handing a huge edge to those opponents who do (and many of them will). This not only identifies the fish, you can spot the regulars and the super tight nits too. This article shows you 3 places (including one US site) where you can grab yourself a HUD for free.
  1. You Don’t Save Tough Hands: We all hit spots where we were really unsure what a bet meant, or were puzzled by what an opponent showed down, or wondered whether firing that second barrel was such a great idea after all… What good players do is save those spots for later analysis. If you are not doing this then you are passing up a great opportunity to improve your game.
  1. Jumping From Game To Game: This could be all at the same time (fatal) or even over days or weeks. If you are jumping from PLO Zoom to SNGs via cash games to heads-up and then registering for a couple of tournaments… well, you are unlikely to get good enough at any of them to make it to the mid-levels and beyond. Stick with one format, learn to beat it, then take a look at the different options once you have a big bankroll.
  1. Calling Big River Bets: This is a micro-limit disease, slowplaying and chasing are so prevalent that many pots reach the river fairly small. The players then overshove, and you know what – they get called too. These guys are bluffing sometimes, but nowhere near often enough to make calling them profitable. Start counting (hopefully by watching others), you’ll soon see that these calls are a big leak.
  1. No Peer Reviews: Spotting your own leaks is hard, after all, you probably feel you play pretty rationally – right? This is where peer reviews can help, they can raise questions on areas you though were ‘standard’, and highlight parts where you missed information from opponents too. Forums are a great place to post hands if you do not have buddies into poker.
  1. No ICM Calculator: This one is specific to Sit N Go Players, if you are guessing the bubble math, then you are heading to being bankrupt – it is that simple. You’ll be missing edges in every game you play, you need to spend time with an ICM calc after every single session if you want to break out of the micros for Sit n Goes.
  1. Too Much Rake / Fees: This is important at the micro limits, tournaments at the $1 or $2 level often have more than 10% in fees (for example $1+20c SNGs). This is almost impossible to overcome in the long run, and you need to either switch site or move up levels fast. Rake is harder to calculate, though your loyalty returns are easier. Two tips here. First for Non-US players, our loyalty rewards calculator shows you your returns. For US players I recommend America’s Cardroom, who give you back 27% of your rake + fees every week via their own cashier.
  1. No Table Selection: This is one of the most important factors of all. If you log on and sit in the first tables that have free seats, then you are giving away a lot of money. Just spending 5 minutes per session seeking out the softest games using lobby stats, buddy lists or just checking the games yourself will make a massive difference. I believe that you can make 20% more profit simply by actively seeking the softest games.

Wow, I was planning on making one post with 25 entries, and after just 12 I am already at 1000+ words. New plan, I’ll make this a 2-parter, come back soon for the 2nd installment!

Gl at the tables, Mark


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