How to Beat Micro Stakes Cash Games

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The micro stakes cash games are the games that consist of the levels 2nl ($.01/$.02) through 50nl ($.25/$.50). These levels provide a great opportunity for those looking to expand their knowledge and improve their poker skill set with very little risk involved.

They can also be a complete pain in the ass. The micro stakes are filled with recreational, inexperienced and outright bad players who always seem to start out with the worst of it, yet get unbelievably lucky and come out ahead. These types of players along with their luck can really get under your skin and make you start to believe that the micro stakes cash games are difficult, if not impossible to beat.

But while there is no doubt that bad players can make it difficult to beat the micro stakes cash games, you need to realize that if you can't beat the bad players, you stand very little chance of beating players that do know what they're doing.  

So, to help you in dealing with the frustration that comes with playing at the micro stakes as well as help you beat these games so you can move up, I have compiled a 6-step guide below for you to follow. You'll be shocked as to how simple and straightforward beating the micro stakes cash games can be.

Steps to Beating the Micro Stakes Cash Games

1. Play ABC Poker. Beating the micro stakes levels do not get any simpler than this. Just focus on playing ABC poker and leave all the fancy stuff out. Focus on playing solid hands that are unlikely to be dominated, hit the flop and then proceed to bet, bet and bet some more in order to get value for your made hands. In other words, bet when you have it and fold when you don't.

2. Don't Bluff. Players at these levels love to call. They don't like to fold. So, there really is no reason to try to push them off their hands. Think of it this way; it will only frustrate or tilt you more when you try to bluff them off a hand that they should've folded (like A-high, bottom pair or their runner-runner straight/flush) but called and beat you with at showdown.

3. Do Not Slow Play - Always Value Bet. Since most of the players at these levels like to call, there is really no reason not to bet when you have a made hand. And you don't have to be stingy with your value bets either. You should be able to bet anywhere from 1/2 to full pot and still manage to get tons of value for your hands. I would only consider slow playing my hand on the driest of boards and even then you can probably still bet and manage to get value depending on who your opponent is.

Also, value betting is important because players at the micro stakes like to chase their draws. You need to bet to charge them to do this. You should be more inclined to bet when draws are possible and be sure to bet more when there are multiple players are involved.

4. No Fancy Plays. We've all watched high stakes poker and witnessed the wide hand ranges, check-raises, squeezes, floats and 5-bet all in bluffs. These types of plays definitely have their place in poker but unfortunately, their place is not at the micro stakes.

For one thing, there is a good chance that you know what these plays are, but lack the experience in implementing them therefore doing more harm than good. Additionally, many of these plays rely on fold equity - something that you'll be lacking at the micro stakes games.

5. Always Buy In for the Max. A good practice is to always buy in for the maximum table limit when you sit down. Not doing so will cost you in the long run. The reason being is that you won't be able to capitalize on the times you get it in with the best hand and win.

For example, say you buy in $2 at 10nl and are dealt pocket aces. Stacking off here will only earn you $2 ($4 total). However, if you bought in full, you can potentially earn as much as $10 ($20 total) if you stack off in a heads up pot. It may not seem like much at first, but it's a lot ($60) even over a small sample of 10 hands. And the amount you miss out on only gets bigger as you move up in stakes.  

6. Never Open Limp. Open limping is one of the worst things you can possibly do regardless of the game or limit you play at. It makes you (your hand) look weak and makes it difficult for you to build large pots with your premium hands.

When you are first to enter a pot, you should always do so with a raise. There are many benefits to open raising as opposed to open limping:

• There are more ways to win a pot. You can win a pot preflop by stealing the blinds. Or, you'll have the initiative postflop where you can continue the aggression, c-bet and then take the pot.

• You can to build a pot which will make it much easier to get stacks in when you have a monster hand. Open limping makes this difficult to do.

• You can buy yourself position at the table. Open limping encourages others to limp behind you which means you'll likely play out of position.

The list can go on forever. You'll find that open raising as opposed to open limping will be much more profitable in the long run. Also, earning that little extra value from raising will help you to build your bankroll faster which means you can move up quicker.

Beating the Micro Stakes Cash Games Summary

It's probably hard to believe, but this is all it takes to beat the micro stakes - just old-fashioned ABC poker. You want to focus on playing solid starting hands, fold when you miss the flop and bet relentlessly when you connect. Doing this, in addition to leaving out the fancy plays, bluffs and passive tendencies, will put you on the fast track to beating the micro stakes and moving up to the small stakes where both your opponent's play and the money is much better.