The Mind of a Typical Micro Stakes Fish
There are typically several “levels of thinking” when describing the though process of a poker player. The number of levels varies depending on who you ask and on what day it is. For our purposes, we’ll use 5 levels of thinking to describe poker players:
·Level 0: I know nothing
·Level 1: What do I have?
·Level 2: What does my opponent have?
·Level 3: What does my opponent think I have?
·Level 4: What does my opponent think that I think they have?
Guess what levels most micro-stakes players are thinking on?
If you guessed anything but levels 0 or 1, you are probably overcomplicating your play at the micro-stakes tables. Most players at the micro-stakes limits are, at best, only thinking about what cards they hold. More importantly, they are also thinking about their hand strength in absolute terms. Most micro players have a hard time letting go of pocket Kings when involved in a multi-way pot with an Ace on the board. Your job is to take advantage of these mistakes.
Most micro-stakes players, for all intents and purposes, play their hands face up. More often than not, a micro-stakes player who checks a dry flop such as 2-5-9 rainbow and then bets the turn when an Ace comes probably has the Ace. My suggestion is to take virtually everything you see from a typical micro-stakes player at face value. Sure, you open yourself up to being bluffed on occasion but in the end, your win-rate should improve.
While understanding that typical micro-stakes players play their hands up, it is also important to realize that they are also inherently suspicious. There is always a table sheriff or two around to call you down to make sure you aren’t bluffing, especially if he has ANY kind of hand, including Ace-high. This ties in with the notion that most of these players value their hands in absolute terms (Level 1 thinking).
At the end of the day, it is critical to recognize that the term “what you see is what you get” almost always applies to micro-stakes players. Generally speaking, a bet from someone means they have “something” and a check almost always means weakness. If you are the aggressor in a hand and a player simply calls your bets, it generally means he is drawing or has a marginal hand. Understanding these mentalities is critical to beating the micro-limits.