Notable Observations on Micro-Stakes Cash Games

Learn from this trio of micro-stakes cash game observations

Spare time is at a premium for me right now, which limits my ability to play online poker. Multi-table tournaments are my preference, but I’ve dabbled in micro-stakes fast-fold cash games this week.

Fast-fold poker is as popular as ever thanks to making it possible to play many hands in a short time frame. I’ve racked up almost 5,000 hands in only a few hours, for example. I’ve not played much cash lately, so a few things stood out from the crowd during my recent sessions. Those micro-stakes fast-fold observations are detailed below.

Who Should Play?

Playing low stakes is perfect for newer players who want to learn and understand how to play poker in an under-pressure environment.

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Bankroll / cost – they’re the most affordable buy-ins / games in poker Sites – sites that focus solely on low stake games should be avoided
Level – pros don’t play micro-stakes so it’s great for practice and improving your skills Cash wins – low risk means low rewards; these are not big-win games

Value Betting is a Must in Micro-Stakes Cash Game

Micro-stakes cash games are harder than ever to beat but are still very beatable. The overall standard is better than 12-months ago, but the majority of players are low-skilled. They play at this level for a reason.

Maximizing your profits is the best way to beat micro-stakes cash games. Do this by extracting as much value as you can from your hands. There is no need to step out of line and get too creative. Betting for value is sufficient.

Over-betting the pot is one way to increase your profits. I have one of my preset bet amounts at 147% pot. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve clicked that button this past week.

Players in micro-stakes fast-fold games love calling; they can’t help themselves! Charge them a premium for seeing the next street, or to get to showdown. They will, generally, pay you off.

You don’t always need to over-bet to extract value, but you should bet the maximum amount your opponent will call. Continuation-bets tend to be around 50% of the pot, but against these players, you can safely increase this towards 80% with your strong hands and expect a call.

Some opponents fold instead of calling larger bets. The time they call, however, more than makes up for the times they don’t.

Be Prepared To Three and Four-Bet Preflop

Everyone except the big blind has the option to fold out of turn in fast-fold cash games. This fact makes stealing the blinds easier and, therefore, more common. Players love raising from the cutoff and the button claim what they see as dead money. They do this with a relatively loose range, one they’re not happy about playing in a three-bet pot.

Take advantage of these late position raisers when you’re on the button. Three-bet them wider and expect to take down more than your fair share of pots preflop. Likewise, be the late position stealer and enjoy the free money flowing from the blinds.

The big blind defending themselves with a three-bet is a frequent move I’ve seen this week. The big blind knows the button has a wider range, so they fire out a three-bet to take the pot down. Making the occasional four-bet puts them back in their place. Tend to do this with premium hands or bluffs because they’re easy to play when they shove on you.
It’s worthwhile making your button raises smaller, as low as twice the big blind. This works in two ways. First, it allows you to open with more hands. Secondly, your opponents’ three-bets aren’t as large as a result, making it possible to play more hands post-flop.

You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

There are some solid players in micro-stakes fast-fold cash games. The ability to play lots of hands means players from countries with a low cost of living grind them professionally. Those solid players are relatively few in numbers, however.

Most opponents you take on play a straightforward style. They bet when they have it and fold when they don’t. They raise post-flop when they have the goods and check call draws. ABC poker is the order of the day with these guys.

I lost count of the times I called bets or raises when I knew my hand was second-best. There were times when I said out loud, “he’s got a seven” on a 7s-7d-Qs-Kh-9h board yet, I still clicked call, and they flipped over a seven for trips.

You have to trust your instincts and use them alongside the information your opponent is giving off. If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably a duck, as the saying goes.

Where Players Go Wrong

Some players struggle to have consistently great outcomes when playing low stakes games and here are some reasons why:

  1. No plan – it’s recommended not to jump around games/types of games; it is extremely important to stick to one game type and create a real game plan for exactly when and how you will be moving up the limits.
  2. No bankroll management – You also need to have the proper bankroll in order to avoid going broke, even when playing micro stakes.
  3. No patience – In order to win big at the micro stakes, you need to learn to be extremely patient. Yes, it will be boring. There is nothing flashy or exciting about beating the micro stakes.
  4. No emotional control – The thing about poker is that it doesn’t work the way that we want it to. And quite frankly, it never will.
  5. Gamble too much – they play too many hands and/or they try to win every single pot.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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