Don’t Makes These Mistakes When Dropping Down Stakes

Dropping down stakes is nothing to be ashamed of as a poker player, in fact, it is recommended if your mind isn't in the right place.

There comes a time when you cannot do right for doing wrong at the poker table. Cash game grinders and multi-table tournament specialists hit downswings that are seemingly never-ending. Those downswings often result in players dropping down stakes to recalibrate themselves.

Dropping down stakes is not ideal but it is not something to be ashamed of, quite the opposite. Having the presence of mind to protect your bankroll and your sanity should be applauded.

Poker players see dropping down stakes as admitting their failure. They become used to playing for pots of a certain size, or having the chance to win large tournament prizes, and think, wrongly, that lower stakes are beneath them. Do not think like that, and do not makes these mistakes if you do drop a level or two.

Watch Your Aggression When Dropping Down Stakes

Everyone knows the best, winning poker players are aggressive. Nobody rose to the top of the game by playing a passive style. However, hitting the tables with blind aggression when dropping down stakes is a recipe for disaster.

You will not beat lower stakes game through aggression alone. You need your wits about you if you want to press home your skill advantage. A $5/$10 player who drops down to $2/$4 or even $1/$2 in the online poker world should be better skilled than most of that player pool. Use that skill advantage, do not waste it by trying to buy every pot you play.

Remember There Are Good Players When Dropping Down Stakes

The general consensus is players in the next highest stakes are better than those playing for lower stakes. This is true to some degree, although there are hundreds of players who find a limit they crush at and stay there for their entire careers.

Dropping down stakes can make you believe you have a right to win because you are better than your opponents. While this is partly true, do not assume everyone in the lower stakes games are total donkeys. Treat everyone as if they are solid, winning players until they give you reasons to change your mind. Take notes, make observations, and use your skills to their full extent.

Do Not Get Hung Up On The Money Side of Things

Anyone dropping down in stakes will be playing for far smaller pots than which they are accustomed to. You may be used to playing for $100 or $200 pots and are suddenly faced with calling $5 or $10 bets. Try to not think about the money side of the game otherwise you may start making sub-optimal calls.

The seemingly trivial bet amounts are one of the reasons bluffs are frequently called in micro-stakes games in the online poker world. You make a $0.75 bet on the river and your opponent decides it is not a lot of money so calls to see what your cards are. Facing a $5 river bet after dropping down stakes can make you do the same. Your bankroll may be $10,000 so calling $5 and being wrong is not a disaster. However, continue doing this and your bankroll will soon be much smaller.

Treat all bets with the respect they deserve. Try switching your settings to display bet amounts in big blinds instead of cash if you are struggling to do this. Most online poker sites have this option.

Returning To Your Usual Game Too Early

Ask yourself why you are dropping down stakes. Have you lost a large percentage of your bankroll? Have you lost confidence in your game? Are you going on tilt too frequently? Everyone drops down stakes for different reasons.

Now ask yourself if you are ready to resume playing your usual games. There is no point moving back up if you are still ultra-low in confidence. Likewise, do not move back up if you are still on a losing streak.

Wait until you feel ready to return to the limits that you used to play. There is no rush to return, it is not like they will vanish overnight.

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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