Book Review and Study Group Discussion: Crushing the Microstakes
First let me start by saying that Nathan “BlackRain79” Williams approached me about reviewing his new book, Crushing the Microstakes, well before Christmas and between the Holidays and my general slowness I’m just getting to it now. I do apologize. Now on to the review…
I really didn’t know what to expect from Crushing the Microstakes because I’m not really sure what to make of Nathan himself. His poker knowledge has always seemed solid on the forums and in his videos on Drag the Bar, but I’ve never been able to wrap my head around why he’s never really moved up beyond micro stakes. After reading his book, I’m still at a loss as to why. His poker knowledge seems 1st rate and he certainly understands the best way to a huge winrate is maximum exploitation of your opponent’s biggest flaws. The entire book is essentially devoted to explaining exactly how he goes about doing just that.
Nathan lays out his strategies from preflop through the river. All of his advice is clearly worded and thoroughly explained. There is no dense math or fancy play involved. His advice is strictly how to extract the most value from the players you’ll encounter most often at micro stakes. I’m certain that you could take someone who had never played poker before, give them this book, and they’d be able to easily beat 5nl online with very little effort. Essentially he’s thought of just about everything you need to be successful online at micro stakes.
Something else that I’d like to note about Crushing the Microstakes; There are very few, if any, errors. Compared to a lot of self-published poker eBooks I’ve read this book is VERY well written and edited. To me, it really shows the amount of effort Nathan put into writing the book. He doesn’t credit or thank anyone for editing so I assume he did it all himself and if so, I’m very impressed.
I do have a few minor issues with some of the advice but only because it’s so stake specific. Nathan does clearly state that some of the strategies in the book will only work at the lowest levels. I just think micro stakes should be a cheap place to practice and learn for higher stakes play and I’m afraid micro players could develop a few bad habits if they’re not careful to understand exactly WHY Nathan advocates certain things like limping small pairs in EP or varying your open raise size based on your hand strength. I understand that these things will undoubtedly increase your winrate at 2nl/5nl but I think I’d rather sacrifice a few pennies now so I didn’t end up costing myself dollars later. I also wish that the book was available in some format beyond .pdf. A version for the Kindle would be a good start and a printed version would be awesome but might need to be priced beyond the target audiences range.
In all, the book is very good. Well written with great poker advice. If you struggle to beat micro stakes online Crushing the Microstakes will be well worth the $20 price tag. About the only question I have after reading it is why is Nathan still playing micro stakes poker? Unfortunately he left that answer out of this book.
Crushing the Micro Stakes is available from Nathan’s website at www.blackrain79.com