3 Essential Skills You Need Before Moving Up the Poker Stakes
While smaller stakes are beatable with a fundamental strategy, the game gets much more competitive and difficult to beat as you move up in limits.
This used to apply primarily to mid-limit games but even some of the games at the higher end of "low stakes" have begun to get as tough as or even tougher than mid-stakes was at the beginning of the Poker Boom.
At higher limits you will start playing against experienced players and sometimes even some professionals that have decided to multi-table at lower limits.
It's essential that your game is solid or you will end up losing considerable amounts of money. Here's what you can do to prevent that.
1. Improve Your Hand Reading Ability
One of the most important skills for players wanting to move up in limits is hand reading ability.
As you start moving up in limits you will find games are much more aggressive and if you are unable to get a feel for your opponents' hands you'll practically be playing the hand blind.
This increased aggression leads to players playing a wider range of hands. It is important that you are able to identify player hand ranges.
Good players at higher limits are excellent at reading hand strength and if you are unable to do the same, you will be bluffed out of many pots where you may have the best hand.
2. Learn to Take Notes on Opponents
Another important skill needed for poker players trying to move up in stakes is note-taking ability.
You will often find yourself playing against some of the same players on a daily basis, so taking notes on these players will help you put them on hands and figure out their overall strategy.
By taking solid notes on players you will quickly get a good idea of how they like to play certain hands. Being able to identify player tendencies will help you move up in limits but you cannot do that without proper note taking.
3. Control Tilt and Have Sufficient Bankroll
For players looking to move up in limits, it is vital that you are both emotionally and financially ready to make the jump. Tilting at the higher limits is an easy way to throw away hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
When you feel like your poker skills are ready for higher limits be sure to ask yourself if you are ready for the increased swings and stresses that come along with it. Furthermore, it is important to be ready financially as well. When you move up in limits, you will likely go through some variance.
You'll want to make sure to have a sufficient bankroll in order to handle these swings. While you might be able to get away with only having 20 buy-ins in your bankroll at low limits, you may need a bigger bankroll when you move up.
If you are planning to play professionally, a healthy bankroll is essential. Downswings for even the best players can last ten thousand hands or more meaning you have to have solid bankroll management or else you could quickly find yourself having money problems.
Moving up in stakes can be challenging, but the rewards are great. By learning how to properly reading opponents' hands, taking notes and being prepared emotionally and financially for higher limits, you will be able to make the jump and keep crushing the game.