Moving Up In Stakes
Ideally, you should be playing at the stakes level that makes you the most money. However, it’s not really that easy. As you move up in stakes, you will find that the competition becomes much tougher. So while you do technically have the ability to start winning more money, it becomes much more difficult to start winning hands. Obviously, you need to find some sort of balance between the two, but how do you do this? The easiest way is through trial and error, but that can be costly.
So start with what you know. Have you played poker before? Have you studied the game and the theory behind it at all? If you have, you are in a good spot, but you still should be acting conservatively. The steadfast rule that you should always fall back on when determining stakes is that it’s better to win too little than lose too much. Your best choice will be to start very small, but not so small that you completely ignore the basics of the game. For example, if you were to just jump into a $0.01/$0.02 no limit game, it becomes very easy to play every hand and ignore every single strategy you have learned in your studies. This becomes even more true if you have just made a large deposit at a site. If you just put $1,000 into your account, this is definitely not the right place to start as you will reap absolutely no benefits from playing here, other than watching your money disappear, albeit at a very slow pace. This might be a good place for you to begin if you only put $10 into your account, though, especially if you’ve never played the game before.
Start small, and work your way up. The lower levels you might find that you fly through. Other levels may take you several years to feel decent at. Many people find that they can progress through the lowest levels in the matter of just a few months. If you are starting out at $0.01/$0.02, you can easily jump up to $0.50/$1.00 in a short while. Do remember that everyone is a bit different, though. Some people can do this in a month, others might need a year. Pay attention to your bankroll and your comfort levels. It’s normal to see some variation here, but too much variation is not good. If you start out with $500, and lose it all in a week at $0.25/$0.50, there are some serious flaws in your game and you need to go back down to a level where there is less risk.
The difficulty arises when you realize that big winnings mean less than big losses. Anyone can win a lot in a short while, but only a very problematic player will lose huge sums in the same time period. There are exceptions, but one is much more common than the other. The moral here is that you cannot be quick to judge instant success as mastery of a stakes level. Instead, be patient and work your way up through the ranks and alleviate as much of your risk as possible. It’s much better to take your time and soak in as much as you can. It’s easier to keep your money and let it grow slowly rather than keep refilling your poker room account every other day when you keep busting out by playing at a level that is too advanced for you. You will get there eventually if you stick with it.