10 Poker Strategies to Get Off the Low Stakes Tables

By in Poker on
7 Minute Read
Moving Up From Low-Stakes Poker

Winning at poker is an exhilarating accomplishment. You can actually start winning at poker much earlier than most players would guess.

That’s because you don’t need to be the best poker player in town to win; you only need to be the best player at the table. This fact is why poker rooms across the globe stay full of thirsty gamblers and wannabe poker pros.

For many aspiring poker stars, there comes a time where they face an important choice. Should they keep grinding out small wins on the low-stakes tables or make the jump to greener pastures?
Let’s examine 10 poker strategies to get off the low-stakes tables. 

1 – Tighten Up Your Game

Before you ever consider moving to a higher-stakes game, you need to tighten up those loose ends that are holding you back.

Sometimes players will win in spite of themselves, move up to a bigger game, and get crushed.

I’m not telling you that you won’t find weak players on the higher stake tables, but you’ll face tougher competition in general.

Successful poker players understand the necessity to alter their playing style based on the table. That requires players to have a fundamental knowledge of the leading styles of real money poker.

These all are based on either a tight or loose style of play, paired with a passive or aggressive approach. Knowing what style suits you best and when to employ each will make the transition to higher stakes much easier.

2 – Read Everything You Can

The top poker players on the planet never stop learning. If the best players in the world have a thirst for knowledge, it’s advisable that you have the same passion.

This includes reading all of the information you can get regarding poker theory and strategy. Learning the percentages for starting hands can play as necessary of a role at the table as to how to approach a particular opponent’s playing style.

Not everything you read will make the cut; I suspect a majority of it will be utter nonsense. However, learning what not to do can be as critical as picking up on a few things that do help.

Repetition is the key here. The more you read, the more good information will stick.

You can think of this step as mental practice, and poker is played between your ears.

3 – Win Consistently

If you’re thinking of moving to a higher-stakes game, you’d better be winning consistently on the low stake games.

I can promise you that your competition will be stiffer and stiffer as you climb the ranks. Many of these players have years or even decades of poker experience, and they’ll see you coming a mile away.

Poker

In many poker rooms, the mid-level games have some of the best players in the casino. These players have decided to chomp on the small fish instead of battling it out with other top players on the high-stakes game.

Winning consistently on the low-limit games will give you confidence as you move up to the next level. Don’t allow this confidence to make you think you’re better than you are.

Still, if you’ve shown an ability to make money playing entry-level games for some time, you’re probably ready to up the ante.

4 – Keep Yourself in Tip-Top Shape

Look, I’ve shuffled over to the $1/$2 tables after a long night in Las Vegas and cleaned house. I was in slight shape to be in the poker room at all but knew my place.

On my worst day, I’m still better than most tourists who try their hand on the low-stake tables in the famous poker rooms. However, I would have had a much different experience in the mid-stake games. You should take note of that if you are prone to operating on little sleep.

In addition to taking it easy and abstaining on the booze, you need to get plenty of rest. A solid night’s sleep may be the difference between success and failure. 

Your diet will also come into play. You should have a healthy and light meal before you hit the tables.

Eating heavy meals, skipping sleep, and overindulging on booze will affect your decision-making and cost you wins. Your margins will be tight, so any advantage you can snag will be critical.

5 – Don’t Let Failures Dissuade You

Immediate failure is something that is experienced by a lot of poker players trying to advance their game.

Don’t let short-term losses in the beginning send you scurrying back to the low stake games. You should fully anticipate some losing sessions in the beginning.

Even if you aren’t breaking even when you make the transition, you’re gaining valuable experience. You can always fall back to the lower tables when you need to pad your bankroll, but don’t get stuck by fear.

Some players can’t get over the mental hump of jumping to mid-level games. Accept the losing sessions as nothing more than a learning curve.

6 – Build Up Your Bankroll

Players that merely take their regular poker bankroll and move to a higher stake game are doomed.

There are several factors that necessitate players having a much larger bankroll. These include the massive variance between the stakes and the competition on the better games.

The bottom line is you’re going to need a lot more money. When you factor in the buy-ins and having enough bankroll to float hundreds of big blinds, the difference is in the thousands, not hundreds of dollars.

Utilize your remaining time on the lower stake tables to accumulate all of the cash you can grab. Careful to not be too aggressive, but snatch that cheddar.

You’re going to need to be prepared to see some of this money vanish. That’s fine, you’ve prepared to accommodate the learning curve.

7 – Play With an Arrogance

You need to walk up to the poker table with quiet arrogance. Know that you’re ready to showcase your skills, and make no apologies for that.

It’s a fine line between carrying quiet confidence and a boisterous jerk. You never want to be the latter.

Poker Hand

When a poker player sits down at a table with an aura of arrogance, they are instantly despised by the entire table. Conversely, there is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in yourself and your ability.

My poker mentor once told me to act like I’ve been there before. This advice has continued to serve me well in many situations. Still, it certainly made it easier to go heads up with some of the best poker players in the state as a 22-year-old college student.

Don’t back down when your poker experience is telling you that you’ve got them beat.

8 – Stop Blaming Other Players for Your Lack of Success

I constantly read stories from disgruntled poker players blaming others for their lack of success. They claim that they’d be winning much more if it weren’t for the donkeys making terrible calls and hyper-aggressive bets.

Let me be clear, if you’re allowing other players to cost you money by playing poorly, you’re exactly where you belong.

Regardless of what table you sit at, you’ll be subject to bizarre and overly aggressive plays. You need to be solid in your poker strategies and play to decide when to push back and knock them off. 

I’d say it’s actually more profitable to play against the bottom rung aggressive players. You’re shying away when you should be shouting, “Show me the cards!”

9 – Surround Yourself With Higher Stakes Players

One of the best ways to get better at anything is to surround yourself with people that are better than you. 

I was very fortunate in high school to play at the same golf club as seven future PGA Tour players, one LPGA superstar, and a U.S. Amateur champion. Needless to say, my game soared from playing with them.

I have taken a similar approach for many different endeavors throughout my life. Whether professionally or personally, every aspect of my life has benefitted by inserting myself in the right circles.

You should take this step and start surrounding yourself with more successful poker players. Sure, it’s humbling to suddenly realize how little you know.

Still, would you rather be the weakest wolf in the pack or the most robust chicken in the hen house?

10 – Let It Ride

If you’re serious about taking your poker game up a notch, you need to make some sacrifices. This means denying yourself some of the luxuries to which you’ve become accustomed.

For example, after a winning session, you may take your significant other to an extravagant meal. Spending some of that “free money” can be sweet, especially for a memorable excursion.

However, you’re trying to step things up. So, you need to use those winnings to pad your bankroll.

There will be plenty of time and hopefully wins in the future to more than make up for skipping a few $300 meals.

Conclusion

If you want to carry your poker game to the next level, I’ve given you the best starting point possible. I wish every player would benefit from the 10 poker strategies to get off the low-stakes table.

Then, we’d all be eating steak dinners on someone else’s dime. There’ll always be plenty of fish to go around.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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