Simple tips for becoming a winning micro-stakes poker player

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How to Beat $1/$2 Poker Every Time

_, at one point or another, asked themselves this question. The answer, of course, is both simple and complex.

Simple in the fact that if you play better than your opponents you'll win. Complex because while it's easy enough to grasp the concept, putting it into practice can be difficult. Your opponents at micro stakes are often making mistakes that are absolutely shocking to you -- yet they still manage to beat you. Why? Because you are also making mistakes. You're not playing as well as you could be.

In other words you're making avoidable mistakes and they're not. That's the difference. And until you stop making those mistakes consistently you won't be able to consider yourself a winner at .

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So what sorts of mistakes are we talking about here? Well, as a general rule, the lower the stakes you're playing for the bigger the mistakes become. People simply don't take the game seriously enough to make smaller mistakes. $1/$2 is typically the cutoff. At these stakes people start taking the game seriously and make plenty of small mistakes that are easily exploitable.

As you move down in stakes players start making bigger mistakes.

As you move down the stakes they get worse. The bigger the mistake the less likely they are to make it. At $0.01/$0.02 some people aren't even going to remember what suit each suit has. At this level you can win simply by reminding them every now and then.

Over the next few pages I'm going to lay out a number of common mistakes that a micro-stakes player is not only capable of avoiding but must avoid if they want to compete with slightly better players. As a beginner or low-level player, if you can consistently avoid these mistakes you're on the fast track to profitable poker. We've covered all of these topics in more detail through articles and videos in our "Micro Staking Mastery" lesson (available for free by signing up for a RedPro account on RedKings Poker), but here's a quick rundown.

Opponents at Micro Stakes Are Timid

This is perhaps the biggest mistake that micro-stakes players make and arguably the most important thing for you to pick up on. To put it bluntly, people are scared to lose money at these stakes. They will fold at any sign of pressure.

You have to learn how to be aggressive in the right spots.

Now, this doesn't mean every time you raise it's going to be fold-fest. Far from it. But you do need to widen your range when you raise - especially pre-flop. There are going to be times when you're making an assertive play with very little in your hand. This is an essential part of being aggressive.

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For example, raising with just any two clubs pre-flop and betting after the dealer puts the [Kc][8d][3c] is almost always going to get your opponent to fold their hand if they don't have top pair or better. Does it mean you actually have clubs or a hand-strength based on that raise? Nope. Not at all. It means you're making a line that you think your opponent willfold to.

Timidity extends itself to calling as well. A lot of micro stakes players are hesitant to call without a hand. In other words they like to have a good idea of where they stand. If things get too murky they'll fold. Leverage this timidity against them.

Bluff. Semi-bluff. Smooth-call a raise with pure garbage. Do whatever you can to keep them in the pot without knowing where they stand. Simply put, you can win micro stakes poker just by applying pressure.

Obsession With Cards

This ties in directly with the previous section. People at micro stakes are far too attached to the cards in their hands. If you don't have a pair of aces you might as well not show up, clearly not this guy though!

People at micro stakes are too attached to the cards in their hands.

It's amazing how many people will fold a decent hand because they think they might be beaten. Or they missed their draw on the river and instantly muck their hand assuming the other player made a hand. This is all just timidity - which we've already discussed. But it goes deeper than that.

A lot of these players are just bad poker players so they really don't understand ranges and odds that well. So they make assumptions. They see a raise and they just assume the other player has a big hand.

Or they hit a flush draw on the flop and assume someone raised with a big hand. Again leverage comes into play here. If they're going to make assumptions, let them assume something beneficial to you. Let them assume you're re-raising with AA every time.

They're going to call you with KK every time, right? This kind of thinking can work against you too. You still need a solid understanding of ranges and basic math. But the bottom line here is that people at micro stakes care way too much about their own cards and not enough about the range their opponent could have.

Take advantage of it.

Short Term Memory Loss

This is another common theme among micro-stakes players. They tend to forget things quickly. What they did on the previous hand seems to vanish from their memory banks almost instantaneously. This short-term memory loss affects the way they play in a couple different ways.

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First, and most obvious, they forget what cards came out on the table. We've all seen it before:

Player: The eight showed up there, right?

Opponent: Yep, you had a look isn't it.

Player: Was it the eight? I swear it was an seven.

These miscalls and misrememberances happen constantly at the micro stakes. They simply aren't paying attention. Sometimes they don't even realize what their own hand is. On one hand this forgetfulness is amusing; on the other it gives you insight into how they're going to play their hand.

He hearts club Sandman.

If they forget which cards came out, how can they remember what happened on the flop when their straight draw didn't get there and now they're check-calling you? They can't. That's why they're doing it.

Simply put, they don't remember they have a hand-strengthening red heroc. Come the river they've forgotten that even if they don't have a straight, somebody in the hand probably does, and thus they should fold.

Because they have such poor short-term memory, their decisions from hand-to-hand are entirely dependent on the situation in front of them. All they are doing is cost/benefit analyzing each individual situation. They're not taking into consideration what happened on the previous hand.

If they lost a hand they're more likely to call; if they won a hand they're more likely to fold. This sort of variance-based decision making is obviously flawed. It also means that short term results mean everything to these players. They got stuck twice so now everyone is a trap. They feel lucky so all rounds have to go to show.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking short-term results mean anything. Ever.

Tilt is Rampant at Micro Stakes

Tilt is huge at the micro stakes - mainly because the players are there to have fun and not lose money. Tabling a tough beat is antithetical to their goal. Therefore, when LittleChucky69 shoves on you for the third time and you call with [Kh]"10", and he tabls "A10", heads explode.

Micro-stakes players go on tilt easily because they're not there to lose.

How could he do that? You had the best hand. This is so unfair! WHERE ARE YOU CHUCKY NOW GRANDMA?!

And just like that, they've lost $2. But more importantly they've lost their joy of playing. They're angry. They're tilting. This is what you're looking for. When LittleChucky69 takes his girlfriend's doll and declares war on it, you know he's stacking more than Chucky.

You target him. You play your game. He's not concerned with making good decisions right now. He's trying to kill the doll's army with a slingshot. He's not worried about losing another battle because he's currently occupied with finding where the hell those damn plastic tears come from.

He's an easy target right now. Just like He Man was.

Emotional Attachment to Usernames

This is probably the single biggest mistake a micro-stakes player can make - and the hardest for them to overcome. These players have usernames like GoGetEm713 because they're awesome and badass. They choose usernames like this because they want to win. They want to dominate. They want to embody the ideal poker player.

They are also terrified of losing this name. Imagine naming your business after your product. GoGetEm713Socks.com. You spent years building up the brand. GoGetEm713 Toe Warmers. Lovin’ ‘em. But one day you decide to expand and make GoGetEm713 WifeBeaters ... not so popular.

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Well, your micro-stake warrior is scared of changing his username for the same reason. If he changes his name, he's admitting that GoGetEm713 was a bad choice. He got "emptied" by PraiseTheSun14 so many times people just started calling him that anyway.

Change your name!

He's embarrassed. And you can bet your ass that every time PraiseTheSun14 wins a pot he's reminded of his shame. He becomes frustrated, upset and depressed. Eventually this embarrassment can lead to tilt.

This is a double whammy for you. First you have the tilter. Second you have a player that refuses to accept there's any chance he's beaten. PraiseTheSun14 can't beat GoGetEm713. Case closed.

In reality it doesn't matter who either of them really are or their skill level. What matters to them is their username. Change yours! Seriously. If you're serious about becoming a winning poker player, change that ridiculous username.

Even if it costs you $5 to buy a new one, it will be the best investment you make. Yes, it's a silly superstition. Of course usernames aren't real. You get it. Everyone gets it. However this is truly a mistake that micro-stakers make almost without exception - and it's something you can easily exploit.

Take Your Game to the Next Level

Are you beating micro stakes? If not, ask yourself whether you're making any of these mistakes. Pressure tends not to work, you obsess over your own cards, you have a severe case of short-term memory loss, you go on tilt at the slightest bad beat, and your username has power over you.

If so, you're never going to beat these games. If, on the other hand, you're raising with any two club just to put pressure on a timid opponent, separating yourself from a hand based on your username seems ludicrous, and a bad beat doesn't send you into a downward spiral of self-pity, then you might have what it takes to win at these stakes.

Unfortunately, there's a lot more to winning poker than simply avoiding these mistakes. Specific strategy moves, adjustments and plays all change drastically as you move down in stakes. That's why we put together a comprehensive lesson designed specifically to help you crush micro-stakes games called "" available for free by signing up for a RedPro account on RedKings Poker.

In this lesson you'll not only learn about the mistakes players make at these stakes, but you'll also learn how to take advantage of them as well as learn the specific strategy changes needed to be successful.

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