Micro Stakes Poker Strategy: How to Beat the Games Online

The Top 5 Reasons Why You're Not Consistently Winning at the Micro Stakes (Yet)

Do you want to know how to play micro stakes poker like a pro? This guide shows you why beating micro stakes poker is possible if you follow the right strategy tips.

Most articles about micro stakes poker are either too long and too complicated. They focus on listing every tiny detail about micro stakes poker instead of the bits that actually matter.

Even worse, because they are written by so-so players, they contain a lot of myths and mistakes that will not help you to win at micro stakes poker.

So today, we're going to take a different approach and talk about micro stakes poker strategy in a different way.

Rather than listing 200+ useless factors that may (or may not) influence your results at the table, we'll examine the micro stakes poker strategy tips that most deserve your attention.

On this PokerNews guide to micro stakes poker, you'll find:

What is Micro Stakes Poker?

Imagine you want to play poker games online but you don't have a lot of experience yet and you don't want to lose too much money at the table.

Your first thought might be to browse through the cheapest games and find something that isn't too expensive to play. That's micro stakes poker.

Players use the term 'micro stakes to indicate poker games with the lowest buy-ins. Typical micro stakes poker games include $0.01/$0.02 no-limit Texas hold'em cash games.

Most micro stakes poker games have a buy-in fee of less than $25.

Pros and Cons of the Micro Stakes in Poker

Ah, the micro stakes. The limits where you can play poker online for as little as a couple of bucks.

The limits where million-dollar poker dreams are born!

Micro stakes poker games are the perfect choice to play your first poker games for real money. They are inexpensive and you get always a lot of action.

But micro stakes poker isn't perfect, either. The low buy-ins attract a very specific type of players — and that's not one that everyone love.

Pros

  • Cost. Micro stakes are the most affordable games in poker. If you can't spend too much money on your poker games, these are the ones for you.
  • Level. Pros don't play at the micro stakes, so you are relatively safe. You can use micro stakes poker games as a way to hone your poker skills and perfect your strategy.
  • Bankroll. You don't need to have thousands of dollars to play for a couple of hours. A $25 buy-in entry fee goes a long way in micro stakes poker.

Cons

  • Level. Lots of beginners and recreational players can make the action a little unpredictable. Be prepared to see a lot of donk bets and random calls.
  • Cash wins. These aren't the games to win big. Low risks mean low rewards.
  • The sites. Some of the sites that offer 'penny poker games' aren't great. Those that focus only on low stakes cash games tend to have a very poor choice.

Best Micro Stakes Poker Sites

Most of the largest online poker sites include some low stakes online poker games in their offer, but that doesn't mean you can play poker for pennies just about anywhere.

Picking the right site to play small stakes poker games involves more than just looking at the buy-ins. You want to know where you find the easiest games and what bonuses are compatible with the lowest buy-ins.

Even more, you need a site where there are enough players playing low stakes online poker games. Because there's nothing worse than to sit at a cash game table to just…wait for someone to show up.

If you are looking for the best small stakes poker sites, pick one from the list below. These are the best options to play exciting micro stakes poker games.

Micro Stakes Poker Strategy

So why is it that so many people fail to achieve any success at all even at these incredibly low limits?

Why do they struggle to turn a profit against some of the most inexperienced and poorly-skilled players in the world?

Well, after having played millions and millions of hands at these stakes myself over the years with a lot of success, I have noticed several reasons why this is the case.

In this article, I am going to list the top five reasons why people fail to consistently win at the micro stakes.

1. They Don't Have a Plan

Most people who play poker at the lowest limits don't have a real plan for what they are trying to accomplish at the poker tables.

When they sit down to play, they jump in at whatever stakes they feel like on that particular day and end up bouncing all over the place with no real direction.

Sometimes they will even jump across different poker games, too — for instance, playing cash games one day and online poker tournaments the next.

This is a recipe for disaster.

If you want to have success in poker, then it is extremely important that you initially stick to one game type and create a real game plan for exactly when and how you will be moving up the limits.

I would highly recommend starting at the very lowest stakes, no matter how good you think you are or how experienced you are.

Create clear monetary goals for when you will move up to the next stake and when you will move back down. For example...

  • Move up to 2c/5c when your bankroll reaches $150
  • Move up to 5c/10c when your bankroll reaches $300
  • Move up to 10c/25c when your bankroll reaches $750

And so on.

Having such a plan in place will ensure that each day when you sit down to play poker you know exactly what the game plan is, what you are doing, and where you are headed.

2. They Don't Have the Bankroll

You also need to have the proper bankroll in order to avoid going broke, even when playing micro stakes.

We have all heard the stories of someone who started with $20 and ran it up to five figures, six figures, or even more. But here's the truth — only very rarely do these stories actually work out in reality.

The problem is that $25 is simply not an adequate bankroll for any cash game on the internet, even at the lowest limits.

I suggest having at least 30 buy-ins for any stake that you are playing.

Since the buy-in at the very lowest limit online is $2, this means that you should have a starting bankroll of at least $60. Doing so will help prevent you from going broke again and again due to the natural cycles of variance (bad luck) that occur in this game.

Bottom line, if you are serious about poker, then it is time to get serious about your bankroll, too.

READ ALSO: "Micro Stakes Poker: Why Is Bankroll Management So Important?"

3. They Gamble Too Much

Another reason why people fail to achieve their goals at the micros is because they play too many hands and/or they try to win every single pot.

You have to remember that micro stakes poker is not like the million-dollar final table tournaments that they show on TV. Winning poker at the lowest limits is not played like that at all, in fact.

Turning a profit in the micro stakes poker games actually requires a lot of discipline and patience. And, to be honest, it is also downright boring at times as well.

You need to play fairly tight preflop and also make a lot of disciplined folds after the flop. This isn't the place to gamble it up. Keep it simple and win more.

4. They Don't Have the Patience

Closely related to the last point is the fact that you must learn to be extremely patient at these limits in order to succeed.

In fact, many people are surprised or even shocked to learn what I consider to be the biggest secret to my success at the very lowest limits online.

What's the big secret? I fold a lot. Yes, that's right. I often just hit the fold button again and again and again. I just let them have it.

I don't bother trying to win every single poker hand. I would rather lose the battle and win the war.

I also know that they aren't trying to bluff me anywhere near as often as I would like to think sometimes. And that's because I know how to read people in poker.

You simply have to learn to play your cards at the micro stakes. You can't bluff them, nor can you "make moves" on them. It will go right over their heads. Most of the time if they are betting big or raising you big, trust me, they have it.

In order to win big at the micro stakes, you need to learn to be extremely patient. Yes, it will be boring. There is nothing flashy or exciting about beating the micro stakes.

They call it a "grind" for a reason.

If becoming a consistent winning poker player at these limits is your goal, then it's time to forget all those fancy all-in bluffs that you saw in the million-dollar tournaments on TV. That stuff simply does not work at the micros.

5. They Don't Control Their Emotions

Lastly, the single biggest reason why most people fail to win consistently at the micro stakes is that they do not control their emotions well at the poker tables.

This leads to tilt, poor decision-making and, ultimately, losses.

The thing about poker is that it doesn't work the way that we want it to. And quite frankly, it never will.

Just because you got all the money in the middle while holding pocket aces, that does not mean that you will win. Poker just doesn't work this way.

There is an ever present element of short-term luck that exists in this game. Somebody almost always has 20 or 30 percent "poker equity" in a given pot. This is the chance or percentage that they will end up making the best hand.

For example, say you get all the money in on the flop with {a-Clubs}{a-Diamonds} and your opponent has a flush draw. The player with the draw is going to win the pot close to once every three times. This is a very substantial amount of the time, when you think about it.

That means you will lose such hands frequently, sometimes several times in a row as well. This is the kind of thing that causes many micro stakes poker players to go on tilt and start throwing away their money with terrible calls and silly bluffs.

It is extremely important, then, that you learn to view the game of poker through a broader lens and see through all of the short-term madness.

It will get crazy sometimes at the micros, believe me!

These are the stakes where you will find the players who love to chase every draw and call you with any pair.

These players are going to make their hand sometimes. However, if you consistently get the money in against them as a favorite, then the math will take care of them — and you — in the long run.

You must recognize that sometimes it will not be your day, week, or even month at the poker tables. Getting emotional and sabotaging your results though will only end up hurting you.

You need to learn how to quit for the day before this happens. Don't throw away all of your hard work over a couple of stupid bad beats.

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Final Thoughts

micro stakes poker strategy
No, you won't see these numbers at the micro stakes...

Learning how to beat micro stakes poker is not easy.

You will encounter some of the wildest players on the planet at these stakes and it will be downright maddening at times to play against them. T

his is why it is important to remember that poker is a long-term game and that what happens in a single day or even week simply does not matter.

This needs to be your micro stakes poker strategy.

This is also the reason why it is imperative that you are properly bankrolled for any game you are playing (with 30 or more buy-ins). That will help ensure that these short-term fluctuations don't bother you as much.

You also need to make sure that you are playing a patient and disciplined game in order to beat the micros. Forget all those fancy all-in bluffs that you saw some poker pro make in a high-stakes game. They simply won't work at these stakes.

Keep everything as simple as possible at the micros. Get your money in consistently with the best hand and keep the bluffs to an absolute minimum.

It won't be pretty. In fact, it will be downright tedious at times. And it will be frustrating now and then, too. But believe me, this is the only way to consistent profit at the micro stakes.

Micro Stakes Poker FAQs

What is micro stakes poker?

The 'micro stakes' are the cheapest poker games you can play, aka. those with the lowest buy-ins. Micro stakes poker games begin at $0.01 / $0.02.

In general, all the cash games with a buy-in fee under $25 are included in the micro stakes category. Read more.

Where to play micro stakes poker?

A lot of poker websites offer micro stakes poker games, but not all of them are a good choice. When you play at the lowest stakes, you need to do it on a website where the bonus fits the micro stakes and where there are enough players at the lowest levels.

To help you find the right poker room online, we compiled a list of the best sites where to play micro stakes poker. Read more.

How to crush micro stakes poker?

The best micro stakes poker strategy requires dedication and patience. To win online poker with micro stakes you need to:

  • Have a plan
  • Have the right bankroll
  • Know when to fold your hand
  • Be patient
  • Avoid tilt

Knowing how the other players approach micro stakes poker games is also a good strategy since it helps you collect information on their style and ranges. Read more.

What is the best micro stakes poker training site?

There's a number of training sites where you find useful info to learn how to play micro stakes poker games. Some of them let you import your hands so that their pros can review your play and give you some useful advice.

For a complete overview of the best free and paid options, check out this page about the best poker training sites.


Many thanks to Nathan "BlackRain79" Williams for the five tips included in the part of this guide dedicated to the best micro stakes poker strategy. Nathan is the author of the popular micro stakes strategy books Crushing the Microstakes and Modern Small Stakes.

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  • Have a plan, maintain a bankroll & don't get tilted when playing the micro stakes online.

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