What Not to Do in Micro Stakes Cash Games

written by: John

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Many players just simply over complicate what it takes to beat the micro stakes cash games. They try to outplay their opponents with huge bluffs, play a wide range of hands when they lack the post flop experience to justify it and just lose focus of the basic poker fundamentals that could alone make them money.

As you can see here the theme are things that players do, but are done in excess or is just plain unnecessary at the micro stake games. You'll find that by following the list below of things not to do in the micro cash games that you'll experience less of a headache, profit more and hopefully move up through the levels faster.

Don't Slow Play Hands.

The whole idea behind slow playing your hand is to disguise it in hopes to be paid off on the turn or river when you make a bluff-y looking value bet or induce a bluff from your opponent.

However, most opponents at the micro stakes want to call, call, call and call some more. So why not bet your made hands and get the most value out of them that you possibly can?

Aside from not getting value, if you were to slow play your hands you open yourself up to being outdrawn on later streets. This is definitely a mistake and worse yet, extremely frustrating when it happens.

Don't Bluff Frequently

I really feel as if this point is harped on too much, but it's for good reason. Too many players feel as if they need to bluff in order to be successful at poker when that is simply not the case. You do need to bluff, but not all that often and it needs to be timed well. In other words, it needs to make sense and not done for the sole purpose of not being able to win the hand any other way. Furthermore, you need to be sure that your opponent is not a calling station and capable of folding his or her hand.

Don't Berate Players

This is another tip that is over used in poker. Often times it's followed by the fact that you don't want to "tap the glass" and educate the fish. That's all fine and good and I can agree with that.

However, something else to consider when you're thinking about berating someone else's play is how it might affect future situations.

One example of a consequence of berating someone is being played back at out of spite. If you berate someone, they might try to go out of their way to make playing difficult for you by calling you down light or shoving all in over your preflop raise (regardless of how little sense it will make) just to try and get under your skin.

The point is, is that berating players will not only educate them, but can also make them hostile towards you which makes future situations more difficult to maneuver.

Don't Mimic High Stakes Poker

I wish I had a quarter for every time I have read in the chat box that someone played 6-4 suited because they watched Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan do it on high stakes poker. It should go without saying that I'd be a wealthy individual.

Although hands like suited connectors and one/two gapers can be profitable to play, there is some experience needed in order to play them post flop. The biggest problem with these types of hands is that players become too attached to bottom pair or the wrong end of a straight draw and spend too much finding out their hand is no good.

In short, the money you make at the micro stakes will not come from putting yourself in situations with marginal hands. It will come from playing solid starting hands and betting them for value when you connect with the flop and folding when you don't.

Don't Use Fancy Plays

This tip ties in somewhat with not wanting to bluff often. Despite how disappointed you are to hear this, you don't need to 8-bet bluff, float or check raise your opponents at the micro stakes to make money from them. As mentioned above, just make a hand and bet for value - simple.

Furthermore, many players hear of these plays or special moves and try them with little to no idea as to how or where to apply them. So, this combined with the fact that these plays have little affect at these levels and it would be safe to say that your time is better spent lighting your money on fire.

Don't Short Stack

It can definitely be argued that short stacking is annoyingly difficult to play against and a great strategy to exploit deeper stacks.

The biggest problem with short stacking, however, is the lack of value earned from monster hands. Buying in with 20 big blinds and getting pocket aces or kings suck because all you can earn is another 20 big blinds. If you buy in full, you then have the potential to earn 100 big blinds or more.

Additionally, using the short stack strategy prevents you from playing much postflop which only stunts your growth as a poker player. In the long run, you'll be much better off buying for the maximum and topping off as needed.

Don't Play Too Many Tables

It's not uncommon nowadays for players to have upwards of 20 or more tables running at the same time.

While this is great for increasing your hourly rate (assuming you're a winning player), it's not great if you are trying to improve and move up in stakes. The problem with playing so many tables is that often times quality is sacrificed for quantity. You'll have to avoid potentially marginal situations because you can't focus 100% on what is going on. In other words, your play will become more straightforward and robotic - very easy to exploit.

If your goal is to improve and move up to the small stakes or higher, I would suggest playing no more than 4 tables at once. This isn't so many tables that you can't keep track of the action but not so few that you can't still make enough to increase your bankroll. It's really win-win. I also suggest to try playing every once in a while without a hud - it's a great way to force yourself to focus, label your opponents and play accordingly.   

Don't Open Limp

Open limping is one of the worst habits you can pick up. It makes you look weak which makes it difficult to play postflop and/or to get value for your better hands. It leaves you open to being raised out of the pot preflop as well.

Raising preflop when you are first to enter a pot has plenty more benefits than limping. You can take down the pot preflop, buy position and build a pot for your stronger hands.

There isn't a ton else to say about this other than open limping is and looks weak - just don't do it unless you have a very good reason.

Don't Play Out of Position

Something that improved my game and earnings tremendously is when I became more aware of my position at the table and the hands I played in relation.

For example, one mistake I see too many players make is flatting a raise from the button when they're in the blinds. What ends up happening is that the player in the blinds ends up check/folding a large portion of the time costing them a little bit of money (each time they flat) that adds up to a lot over time.  

Just some food for thought - but it actually has been said that if you were to fold your blinds 100% of the time, you would actually not be making a huge mistake. This is just simply due to the difficult nature of playing from out of position.

Summary of What NOT to Do in Micro Stakes Cash Games

Quite simply, to be successful at the micro stakes cash games all you need to do is work hard, learn from your mistakes and avoid going out of your way to complicate things. Just focus on playing ABC poker and you'll find that you'll move through the ranks rather quickly.