re: Poker & Poker Stars gave me $5 free
I was a freeroll and play-money player on FullTilt
. My friend got $5 for doing the same thing on PokerStars (http://www.cardschat.com/poker-stars.php), so I moved there hoping to get the $5 as well.
I never got the $5.
While at my friend's house he had to step away from his computer so he let me play a few hands. I made him $.50 I think, before blowing it and ending the session down $.20. But it got me hooked on money, and showed me that micro games were beatable.
I eventually deposited $12 with a Visa
All-Access card, and had a $42 profit over the weekend, before going into donk-mode when I tried to make an artificial goal of a $50 profit... which busted me in two days.
So manage your $5 well. Don't try to "catch up." Just play solid and endure. Really, with just $5 you are doomed if you hit a cold spell early on.
Now, to continue my story I deposited my remaining $13 from the All-Access card and lost that quick.
However a few months later I deposited $50, determined to play well and play solid. I got a trial version of PokerTracker (which kept me honest... because I hate bad stats being on my permanent record) and read a lot on forums and books (putting three times as much time into reading than I did to playing). I think I only dipped a few bucks below my $50 and a couple points before I hit my stride (figuring out why people I considered to be "donks" kept winning so much when I wasn't) and became a consistent winner after that.
I haven't looked back since.
Keep in mind that the swings at the micro stakes games are going to be big because people are going to be making some unorthodox
plays that can really blindside you and take a chunk of you're chips. IE, their crud makes an unpredictable monster.
My advice for playing the micros is to just play a solid TAG (tight/aggressive) game. You don't have to disguise your play too much.
Open with A/Q+. Raise/call with suited connectors or pairs, hoping to hit a monster and busting TPTK (top pair/top kicker). Make a continuation bet 100% of time if there's only one other person in the pot on the flop... unless the flop has something scary (like 2+ face cards) or unless the opponent is a calling station or something like that.
ChuckTs has a good 10k post. Pretty much follow that strategy and you should stay a consistent winner in the micros.