This is the place where everybody starts. Or at least they should. I think that everybody who is new to online poker should always start with these games even if they have years of experience at much higher limits. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, if you come from a live poker background, online poker will be a little bit of a rude awakening at first. Put simply, the games are much tougher overall online.
Secondly, even though it is the same game that you are used to playing, there are some not so subtle differences between online and brick and mortar play. Probably the most important one is just the sheer speed of the online game. With everything automated, and with the ability to multi-table, hands get dealt much faster and the action moves along at a much quicker pace than you may be used to.
So even if you are a highly advanced player it is a good idea to spend at least a little bit of time playing these games if for no other reason than to get used to playing online. I am a big believer in taking your time with this game and doing things the right way.
The micros are the stakes that I am going to be primarily talking about in this book and specifically 1c/2c (NL2) and 2c/5c (NL5). It is obvious from my results above that these are the stakes where a lot of my experience lies. I should make it clear however that most of the strategies for NL5 will apply to higher limits as well. That is, I would play it the exact same way at NL10, NL25 and NL50. I don’t want anyone to think that this book is solely for total beginners. I will discuss this more in a bit though.
Most online poker rooms spread games at stakes this low these days. Some also offer a 2c/4c (NL4) game which plays fairly similar. However, for the purposes of this book, I will be referring to the two lowest stakes offered by the largest online card room in the world, Pokerstars. Those are NL2 and NL5.
These stakes are unique in online poker because they offer you the chance to buyin for as little as 40bb (big blinds) and as much as 250bb. This wide spectrum of buyins allows people to experience the full range of different play styles. At NL2 the most you can buyin for is $5. And at NL5 it is $12.50.
Since the amount of money at stake is so trivial to most people, you will find a large amount of casual players as well as out and out beginners at these limits. But don’t be fooled into thinking that it will be a cakewalk. This isn’t play money where nobody cares at all. Most people are trying to win and there are plenty of decent grinders trying to do the exact same thing as you; make money and move up!
So it is at these stakes where you will want to learn the right fundamentals from the beginning. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are too good for these limits and need to play some “real poker.” I have seen far too many people get frustrated at the micros, move up too fast and get crushed. Remember we want to be the ones doing the crushing here!
Crushing the Micros
Before you move on to greener pastures it is imperative that you learn how to not only beat, but destroy the micros. If you can’t beat up on some of the worst players in the world what makes you think that you are going to be successful against much more competent players at higher stakes?
It is crazy how some people think this. And it is also crazy how many people I see who are struggling to even beat the micros these days. This is where I come in. My intention with this book is to create a complete guide, from the playbook in my head, on how to utterly destroy these games.
I say the “playbook in my head” because that is exactly what it is to me. Although I have utilized poker forums, books and videos and been around the game for a long time, the play style that I use was largely developed through millions and millions of hands of trial and error. Most of this information is completely automatic in my brain now which is why I can 24-table these games quite easily and still sport some enormous winrates. My success or failure with this book will be determined by how well I can relay this information to you.