On July 22nd I started with an $80 bankroll at 2NL again and wanted to give guidance on how it is possible for anyone with ambition to make it all the way from the bottom to the top in 6-max cashgames.

It's December 15th now and I am still at it with what now has grown to a bankroll of over $1000:

I am pretty happy with these results considering that I have played for only 50 days averaging about 3 hours of playing time each day. Building a bankroll for cashgames from scratch without a big risk is something that I feel is achievable even for a hobby poker player within a reasonable time frame.

I am planning to continue the challenge in 2014 with regular YouTube video updates, recorded sessions and even live streams to document my progress for all followers. In this blog post I want to write up a little review of my experiences at the different stakes so far and how things may or may not have changed over the course of the last couple of poker years:

2NL

This limit has not changed at all compared to the times I have started my first challenge back in 2010. Beating it is all about playing value poker without many bluffs, sticking to a solid gameplan, seeing a lot of flops with recreational players and bringing a LOT of patience for the varianceheavy all-in situations or thin riverbets that backfire against people catching cards on a run. The average player in this population is still playing a mostly loose and passive style that is easy to exploit.

5NL

With times changing and tons of video material out there to learn from some solid TAG strategies have already been passed down to these stakes by now. However, typical strategies that involve ramped up preflop or postflop aggression will usually not be implemented in a way such that it might be harmful to your winrate. Instead some may just attempt random half-hearted bluffs in spots where it actually does not show a profit over the long run so if you are actually able to catch on and adjust to tendencies like this you will be just fine along with your typically exploitive gameplan versus the average loose/passive recreational player.

10NL

This is the very first level where you will encounter a lot more of these grinder type villains that defend their blinds more often, 3-bet you from time to time, even 4-bet occasionally and steal a lot more than their nanostakes counterpart. Adjust your ranges in each of those typical situations to the increased aggression and tendencies of your average 10NL grinder and you will not lose any money to them while keeping your gameplan against the recreational players on track.

25NL

Now we're talking Regulars. And I mean all sorts of different types, tight, loose, passive, aggro, superaggro up to superspewy. 25NL is a level flooded by grinders in my experience.

Recreational players do not find these stakes too attractive it seems, maybe because they either like to gamble with 10 bucks or 50 bucks, but not 25. I find that after years of coaching experience with students that wanted to move up to 50NL through 25NL were having the same issues over and over again - getting involved and battlig it out too much with all the regs who do crazy stuff pre- and postflop for no or no good reason. Even my rather mediocre results at these stakes during the challenge strongly point to that aspect.

In my eyes the best plan is to tighten up and remove the ego completely from this level to form a supersolid game that just creates an easy walkaround for this kind of action you will be seeing here. Don't get trapped in the pitfall that is fighting fire with fire!

50NL

What a relief. These stakes are finally a good place to start turning a decent monthly payment if you do it right. The regs usually become less spewy and more solid while the recreational players ramp up the action a lot. Both good things for your winrate! Can't hurt to start working a little on your game against the grinders here and add some more pre- and postflop weapons to your arsenal - both range- and frequencywise.

As I said in the beginning, my bankroll now stands at $1022 and I will be recording regular "Grinding it UP!" episodes starting mid-January again at 25NL with some occasional shots at 50NL when the games are great. I will be leaving for another Vegas vacation with the wife this Friday and probably update you with another blog post about Christmas time and live poker in Sin City.

Until then have some wonderful Christmas days with your loved ones and until then always remember to...

...keep #grindingitup!

P.S.: In the meantime don't forget to follow:

- my YouTube "Grinding it UP!" channel

- my Facebook or Twitter updates

- the official "Grinding it UP!" homegame (ID: 874748, PW: firstgrand)