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what level to play at

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  • what level to play at

    hi all.this might seem a strange question but here go's.i'v played online for about 18 months and always thought i was a pretty poor player but i'v realised that might not be the case more like a competent amateur.The reason i think this is because i play in micro stake games there more like a crap shoot with people pushing in all the time with rags while i worry about starting hands pot odds outs etc.But it only takes 1 coin flip to go against you to bust out of a tourney.I put it to the test last night in a 20fpp freeroll where i went all in with anything if 1 other player at the table went in first and i found i won the first 4 times with complete rubbish against top starting hands because i fluked the board but on the 5th time i had AK suited and lost against Jack 2 unsuited.I realised in freerolls and micro stake games people will just go all in with nothing because players dont care if they bust out early because it just cost them $1.50 and they can easily join another game and try and luck there way through it.My theory is in the higher stake games the game will be played where 9 times out of 10 it will be skillful play that wins and not just total luck.So does anybody no at what level of S N G do the more serious players play at and not the coin flip shove at all cost players.I no this is a very general question but any advice would be great..

  • #2
    Hi mikey and welcome to the forum.

    Well I was a micro-baller myself before Americans got shut out here on BF. But from what I've seen by watching friends play and from what I hear from players who have played waaaaay more games than you or I have the answer would be that any games in the micro stakes levels ($5.00 and below) the bad players are going to be the rule and not the exception. And to me that's a great thing.

    I think on the advice front the best answer I can give you from my experience here,limited as it was (hoping our government allows that to change soon...) is that you first and foremost need to ask yourself the single most important question you will ever ask yourself about playing here...

    What do I want to accomplish and what are my goals (if any)?

    Are you here just for recreational purposes and just want to play a better standard of game and don't really care about any losses,so long as they are manageable?

    Or is your goal something more concrete? To try and grow your game and see how far you can take it and it can take you? And if so are you willing to put the work in and do you have the time to do it?

    If it's the latter then my suggestion would be to play at the lowest micro levels and learn the first and most important rule when it comes to your opponents at the table... want as many bad players on your table as possible. Period. Yes it can be frustrating as all get out when they call your top pair/top kicker hand down to the river with bottom pair/garbage kicker and bink their set or 2 pair. And all the other beats that can and WILL happen. But you simply have to accept this when it happens and remember that this is the exception and not the rule.

    To help that get drummed into your head I suggest that you immediately,if you've never done so,download either Hold Em Manager or Pokertracker3's (PT3) free trials. Look at your %'s holding your AA,KK,QQ hands and the rest. I think you'll find that over a decent sample size your hands DO hold within the expected percentages,plus or minus a couple points here and there. Once you allay those thoughts from your head you can open up and just play poker.

    Understand that players that rely on luck are losing players. Period. I don't care what happens in the short term they can never run good enough over any meaningful sample of plays to be winners.

    Then learn to exploit them consistently. You don't have to try to do anything tricky or cute to beat a bad player. Play a solid ABC TAG style against them and they'll beat themselves for you. Really learn hand values and position. Proper bet sizing strategies. Trying to put opponents on a range of hands (remember though that with the truly awful they can be holding anything at anytime,but if they have it they are typically so bad at bet sizing that they'll TELL you when they have it...).

    Pick a good place to jump off for a sizeable grind of games. I was a mini-micro baller and can tell you for a fact that the .25 45 and 90 man SNG's are hugely exploitable. The $1.50 50/50 SNG's as well. Above that I hadn't really gotten a chance to try before the ax fell. Maybe try it out there,beat that level and then move up. Rinse and repeat at the next level.This will give you a chance to work on your game and grow your toolbox and hopefully identify and plug leaks along the way.

    Remember learning to consistently beat bad players is the absolute essential jumping off point to having any success at this game. If you can't do that then you'll never be able to separate better players form their chips. Early in an MTT or SNG the blinds don't justify gambling your stack with these all-in goofs. Let them shove their A-rag hands and donk each other off. If you get the goods then get it in.slowplaying only gives them a chance to keep chips that they don't deserve to have. Recognize that they'll get lujcky sometimes and sometimes even the worst donk can wake up with a hand or even make a good play. But if you stick to your business and stay the course you'll win out over the long run.

    Playing the better players will be their for you when you're ready. Learn to smack down the droolers first.

    Hope this helped and Good Luck. Have fun.


    • #3
      been trying out 1.50 50/50 SNG since yesterday, first time since 3 years ive made profit.

      Play very tight, if you get to 3k chips, either sit out or keep folding untill you hit AA KK or QQ, the other players will do the work for you since 5 out of 10 players get paid.

      If you have 500-1k chips left, 6 players and the blinds are not high yet, just keep folding, eventually someone makes a mistake and you get paid


      • #4
        Note to OP:

        It only takes 1 coin flip to go against you in a $10 or $20 or higher MTT to bust you out there too, only it costs you a lot more than a micro stakes loss...

        Answer to OP:

        Play at whatever level you can beat consistently, over the long term.

        While the micro stakes levels may result in you seeing more suck outs, they will also present you with more opportunities to chip up as a result of opponent mistakes. Those chip ups can allow you to weather the suck outs that happen to you later on.

        Individual results do not matter, individual decisions do.

        Moving up in levels in hopes of dodging suck outs puts you into competition against players who will tend to have a greater amount of skill. While they may not call your bets and raises as often, they will also be harder targets from which to extract chips. Eventually, if you attempt to gain more frequent chip ups by betting or raising TOO often, they will be better equipped to adjust to your tendencies, thus making it more likely they will take advantage of your particular leaks.

        So keep records of your play at micro stakes. If you are finding that you are not "beating" those games after a couple hundred thousand hands, chances are it is not solely the result of "suck outs" and "poor play" by your opponents. keep working through your game at the lower stakes until you are beating those games over a significant period of time.

        When you've done that, and the amount you have available on which to play has increased as a result of your winnings, THEN start to think about moving up. Moving up simply because you think you will fare better against better players is a total falsehood.
        Double Bracelet Winner


        • #5
          Welcome to the forum Mikey. umbup: I would say that your first step in analyzing where you want to play is proper bankroll management. Are you playing exclusively sng's? If so, then it should be about 5% of your bankroll. As the others say, you'll find all types of players and you have to be ready to adjust to each one individually. You may find micro sng's with more "decent" TAG players at specific tables, and more loose players at other tables in the same level. You just have to be ready to note each one and play against that style. When you can move up is when good bankroll management principles allow it. When will you find a more "stable" level of play?...well that's a different question, but as your skill rises, so will the stakes that become beatable.


          • #6
            what level to play at

            Thanks for the response guys.Just to keep you updated i'v just played in a couple of $3.50 s n g's and came 3rd both times.What i'v done is play ultra tight only going in on monster hands unless pot size or position dictated otherwise and like an earlier reply stated allow the other players to knock themselves out.I suddenly realised i then seemed to have more control over the table by allowing the other players to do alot of the work.I think my initial problem was i wanted to get rich quick and learn to run before i could walk so what i'm trying to do is build up a slow but steady bankroll learn the stratagies of the game but more importantly have fun while doing it..thanks again guys see you at the tables.....mikeyamr6



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