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

25 Reasons You Are Stuck At The Micros - Part 2

Here is part 2 of my look at why you are stuck at the micro-limits. There are 13 more reasons here. While they will not all apply equally to everyone, I am sure that you will find something in this list which sounds oh-so-familiar…. I know there are a few which apply to me!

13) You Slowplay Monsters: Nothing wrong with a little slowplaying now and again, the problem here is that many players always slowplay with Aces (or flopped sets and so on). They fail to build a pot, or even worse they give away their aces to opponents early in the hand, leading to losing big pots to some random two-pairs. Think about whether you play huge hands differently to how you play when you are trying to represent one… If there is a difference then you can be sure someone will spot it, even at the micros.

14) You Play, Browse And Chat: Focus is the key to beating poker consistently, if you are playing, browsing and chatting then you are only partially focused, and your results will reflect this. Take breaks if you need to, just focus on the poker while in-game.

15) No Table Reviews: Table selection featured in part 1 of this list. If you do table select, then you also need to review all of your games every 20 minutes to half an hour. Tables change quickly, it can only take one bad player to leave the game and everyone can tighten up. Make sure your reasons for joining are still there regularly, and if not – then leave.

16) Playing Way Too Tight: I see this every time I play tournaments, someone with crazy stats like 5/3 (playing 5% of hands, raising with  3% of them!) will raise, and *boom* the entire table insta-folds. If you are getting no action from your big hands, it could well be due to not giving any… if you play too tight, people will notice and will not pay you off.

17) You Miss Out On Deals: I am talking about reload bonuses and special offers at sites you already play at, as well as new ones from other sites. I recommend non-US readers get hold of an eWallet system (Skrill / MoneyBookers) is my favorite, though there are many others). Keep a portion of your poker bankroll in this instead of on-site. You’ll then be able to take advantage of reload bonuses and specials as and when they come up – and if you already play at a particular site this is basically free money.

18) You Think You Know Best: Honesty time, do you think your play is superior to all those ‘donks’ yet find bad luck keeps you down at the micros year-after-year? If your answer is anywhere even close to a yes then the biggest single thing you can do to get better is admit that you are wrong! Poker is about adjusting to how people play, not how skilled you are in isolation, if you have not yet found a way to beat donks and are blaming them, then you either have to admit you need a new strategy (and you might not be as good as you thought) or you need to give up poker – time to choose.

19) You Bluff Too Often In Multi-Way Pots: While there is nothing wrong with a continuation bet, trying to bluff at the micros is a tough task. You’ll find any draw, any hint of a made hand and often just ace-high will call. Against one opponent there is a mathematical case for bluffing, against several people at the micro-limits then you will often find this is just spewing chips.

20) You Don’t Review Your Own Hand Histories: No poker player ever makes it up the levels without going through their hand histories and looking for leaks. Database software will help, though there is nothing wrong with doing this manually. When you get called by a crazy hand, why not go back through the game and see if there is anything you could have spotted to show that your opponent was capable of this kind of play. You should also look for spots where you start off strong, then get lost later in the hand – and of course hands where you won or lost big pots are the bread and butter of hand history reviews.

21) No Site Selection: This is the grandfather of table selection… If you have not yet figured how big the difference in skill levels are between sites, then it is time to open your eyes. I love PokerStars, though there are so many multi-tabling pros building bankrolls there, that the games will never be as profitable as elsewhere. Look for sites associated with sports-betting brands (the iPoker Network) or casinos (888 Poker)… if you do not immediately see an improvement in your results, then, well, the poker gods must really not like you!!

22) Folding Too Often On The Flop: There is a big ‘fit or fold’ tendency at the micro-limits. Players see a lot of flops, then fold if they miss. If you always fold when you miss the flop heads-up, then you have a seriously exploitable leak. Not only will people start betting every single flop, they will know you have a hand when you call or re-raise. You need to mix things up a little more here, remember not to build big pots out of position without a hand though.

23) Not Really Hand Reading: If your hand reading is at the level of, ‘well he is betting, so I guess he has something’ or similar then you are missing out on a potential goldmine. Learn to assign ranges of hands before the flop, figure out how well that range fits the board, work out what different flop bets mean for different parts of your opponents range. Hand reading is a process of narrowing down what your opponent might be holding – and not some fuzzy ‘weak or strong’ feeling.

24) Bad Bankroll Management: If you play with too much of your bankroll on the table at any one time, then the chance element in poker will likely see you broke before too long. Bankroll management is a vital part of poker, and will let you know when you are safe to move to the next level. I recommend you use this to learn how to take shots too. See my bankroll management widget for guidelines on the right games to play for your starting bankroll.

25) You Don’t Have A Deal: Some sites reward their players a lot better than others, if you are playing the micros it is no good playing somewhere that treat their high-rollers like royalty and ignore everyone else. You need a site who give you the best bang for your smaller bucks, which will allow you to build up that bankroll and move up to the higher levels. Check out my VIP Loyalty Calculator (non-US at the moment) or for a cool 27% weekly rakeback deal, I recommend US players check out Americas Cardroom on the fastest growing network, WPN.

However you plug your leaks – GL at the tables!


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