What is micro stakes poker and how can you move on to higher stakes (and more profit)?

Most new poker players start at micro stakes, which is any poker game at NL10 or below. These are the lowest real-money stakes you can play and it can be a great place to hone your skills.

Hardworking players can gain some experience in the micro-stakes, then rise up to low-stakes, mid-stakes, and finally, high stakes.

Keep reading and find out more about micro-stakes poker, where to play, and how to use strategy to graduate to higher limits.

A micro-stakes cash game in action

Micro stakes are any cash game below NL10, which means any no-limit (NL) Texas Holdem game where the max buy-in is $10 or less. NL5 means a max buy-in of $5, and so on.

Some poker players consider NL25 to be micro stakes, but on poker sites, it’s usually considered low stakes.

PL10 = a pot-limit game with a max buy-in of $10

FL10 = a fixed-limit game with a max buy-in of $10

Whether the game is NL, PL, or FL isn’t important, but the buy-in size is. Above a $10 buy-in are the low-stakes games.

Tournaments with very low buy-ins are also called micro-stake tournaments, like this one that Lex Veldhuis is playing on PokerStars.

A $1.10 MTT on PokerStars

Micro-stakes games can be Texas Holdem, Omaha, 5-Card Omaha, or any other poker game. It’s really tough to find live micro-stakes games, but you might find friends playing home games at these stakes.

Thankfully, online poker sites have tons of micro-stakes action, which gives beginners a place to learn the game at a low cost.

Какой вид покера предпочитаешь?

Using our traffic monitoring service, we can tell you the best micro-stakes poker sites in terms of traffic.

The busiest micro-stakes poker sites are GGPoker, PokerStars, and BetOnline. From NL2 and PL2 to NL10 and PL10, these three sites attract more players than others.

Why should you go for busier micro-stake sites?

If you’re going to make the maximum profit, you don’t want to sit at a table with a bunch of regulars. High turnover usually means more recreational players that you can use your skill advantage on.

Which micro-stake poker sites will reward you the most?

Being busy is fantastic, but which are the best micro-stakes poker sites in terms of player rewards?

Player Rating
4.5
Players online
2,400
Deposit bonus
100% up to $1,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Other
Regular rake races
Overlays in tournaments
Playing with Americans
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Bonuses for active players
Player Rating
4.5
Players online
500
Deposit bonus
-
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Other
Play in USDT
Regular rake races
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
90% rakeback
Player Rating
4.6
Players online
1,000
Deposit bonus
100% up to $2,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Other
Playing with amateurs from USA
Regular rake races
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Help with withdrawals and deposits
Bonuses for active players

A poker player should always aim to achieve a high enough win rate at micro stakes before moving up to NL15 or higher. This is known as “beating the game”, or at least, beating the micro stakes.

Rush & Cash on GGPoker

1. Theory can only take you so far in micro-stakes games. You should be aware of GTO principles and apply the basics, but remember this: GTO relies on the assumption that other players are being optimal with their strategy – but that isn’t always the case at micro stakes.

Don’t rely on theory heavily against opponents who aren’t playing with a clear strategy. You may find that applying GTO strategies to more experienced micro-stakes players works well but don’t use advanced theory on fish.

Instead of being overly theoretical, you should look for ways to exploit other micro-stakes players.

2. Find ways to exploit your opponents’ tendencies. You’ll notice that micro-stakes players have a lot of leaks you can exploit. For example, many players at this level won’t 3-bet enough or overfold to a good ol’ triple barrel bluff.

It’s very common to find players who are unbalanced at the micro stakes, meaning they don’t evenly play their weak, mid-strength, and strong hands.

Preflop is the place where you will often see micro-stakes players make mistakes. They often have an extremely small and predictable 3-bet and 4-bet range – and they may even limp regularly to see more flops.

3. Develop mental strength – even if the stakes feel small. Losses might seem insignificant, but sometimes a few bad sessions will leave players frustrated. If you’re truly getting dealt bad cars and experiencing a downswing, the only thing you can do is build mental strength and wait for better variance.

Instead of being angry at outcomes, work on improving your poker skills. Manage your bankroll with care and don’t try to recoup losses by hopping up to higher stakes. Play consistently, make improvements, and the variance will normalize at some point.

Freerolls are a great way to add to your bankroll and also gain valuable experience.

Register using this link to get access to GipsyTeam bonuses:
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4. Tighten up during the preflop stage. Unless you are making exploits against specific players, you should play a slightly tighter preflop range than usual. This is due to the rake in micro-stakes games, which is generally higher than the rake at larger stakes. This means that calling with a wide range preflop is less profitable than you’d think.

Partypoker caps their rake at for cash games, meaning that even in massive pots, you’ll reach a maximum amount of rake. Combine that with their great loyalty program with up to 40% rakeback, and partypoker looks like is one of the contenders for best micro-stakes poker sites.

Also, you can run the hourly Round the Clock Freerolls as you play micro-stakes cash games.

4.9
Partypoker is a great option for players who want a quality site they can trust. The site has gone to lengths to protect players by banning HUD software and allowing players to maintain anonymity at the tables. This shouldn’t put off grinders however, as Partypoker’s tournament value and unmatched rakeback offers of up to 60% are not to be missed by any serious online player.

5. Game selection is a game changer. If you’re at a table with a bunch of strong players, you’re only hurting your win rate. Maximize profit by choosing tables with fewer regular players and grinders by using a heads-up display (HUD).

A HUD shows statistics you can quickly check to see how many hands a player is investing chips in, known as VPIP. That’s a big indicator of inexperience or lack of skill, so you’ll want to select your tables with VPIP in mind.

If you can’t use a HUD at your poker site, you can still make tags and labels to remember your opponents. GGPoker doesn’t allow heads-up displays, but they offer a built-in HUD that you can use.

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