Is microstakes worth playing?

A

annoyingguy

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I am a somewhat new poker player, started taking the game more seriously earlier this year and I don't want to win money with poker, if I am able to not lose money, I am happy with it.

What I do want, however, is to have fun. I set aside U$150/month to poker and I honestly don't mind burning it all as long as I get 10 hours of fun per week with this money. Another thing I want is to get better at the game, a big part of the satisfaction I get from something is seeing I am getting better and it shows.

Having said that, I am getting increasingly more frustrated with poker as I continue to play microstakes MTTs because of how insane and loose most players are. Not that I play a perfect poker, but I am dedicated to learn the game, I spend more time reading about poker than actually playing, I watch hand reviews, do quizzes, try to review my own play, and I am 100% sure that I am now a better poker player than I was 2 months ago.

But I am loosing now more than I was loosing 2 months ago when I didn't know what "pot odds" meant. Back then I only played looking at my own two cards and I was able to win (more than once) MTTs with 1000+ players, nowadays I barely ever get in the money playing 10x more MTTs than I did in the past.

I have tried adjusting my play to a tighter style, tried changing strategies, but doesn't matter what I do, doesn't look like I can get profitable playing against the guy with A6o that calls my 3-bet when I have KKs and ends up winning the hand hitting backdoor straight on the river (7-9-5-K-8).

Again, not that I am a perfect player, I am still a beginner, but I don't think there is much to be learned from finishing a tournament for going all-in with more than 90% pot equity.

My question right now is: should I just go for small stakes, and focus in playing less, but in higher buy-in tournaments hoping for a more better experience? Is there any value in playing microstakes?

I have been getting some profit while playing microstakes cash games, but I don't really enjoy playing it, and as for SnG or STTs, I try to avoid them because even though I can play decently when 9-handed, I am an absolute mess when the game goes lower than 6-player on a table.
 
Collin Moshman

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There is a lot of value in playing micro-stakes. It's a mistake to have an idea of what real poker should look like and then avoid games that look different than this.

What you want is opponents making significant mistakes. Your job is to identify and exploit these mistakes. Do that well and you will be rewarded (after a large enough sample) with good profits and the knowledge that you're ready to move up.
 
marianexbj

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MTTs will not give you rewards in the short term, the goal in poker is always the long term, do not look at a particular tournament or hand. Playing within your budget will always be the most recommended, do not play what you are not willing to lose. I think one piece of advice I could give you is to study a lot more, about banking management, about what is the variance of poker. Poker is a very complex game that depends on many things in order to win, and especially in tournaments where professionals even have a majority of negative sessions, so it is important that you understand the value of variance in the short term.
 
besplatnee

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Micro stakes are a waste of time for anyone looking to make money playing. Micro stakes are needed for those who are just learning the basics of the game. People in NL2 are either trying concepts from the last poker book they read, or they are grinders making a living at this limit.
At NL2, people take the game quite seriously and no one tries to play or collect large sums of money, so anyone who wants to enjoy the game usually goes straight to the higher limits. But you need them too
 
Adi8877

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If you have time for online poker, how you wrote, in my opinion the micro level is the best, especially if I see how much you can afford. It is definitely enough for micros, and there is value, and yes, you will face with hands more often than you think, or thought before. You will get it, when to count on them, even play for it, what most of the 'education' does not includes.

Based on my experience, except the basics, forget all the 'educational' things out there for free or any cost. Useless. Just messing up everything more. If you know what limit, structure, game you are profitable, how to play it to be profitable, then you don't need anything else. It is not an exact science, atom physics, or something like that.

If you play on micro, you definitely do not need the mainstream sold things, as it is mainly not even about that limit, especially not about micro tourneys. You should focus there how your opponents, especially the regulars play, as in the FT bubble, you will face mostly with the same small circle opponents, there will be almost always just few other guys at the last 2 tables.

Otherwise the RNG variance, probability have a much wilder range like the live poker. That's also just based on my experience, years, and basic math knowledge, as I am able to count variance and probability and compare it.
 
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KLDUFF1987

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I mostly play $5-16.50 on 888 depending what mood I an in I don't care about the BRM only if I get fun for the night and if I get into the payments I get to the payments If i'm at a LIVE casino laying poker I'll take things more seriously
 
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fundiver199

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Since you specifically say, you are playing for fun, and that you are willing to set aside a budget for poker, then I will go a little bit against the consensus here and say, that you dont HAVE to start with the lowest possible stakes, if playing a smaller number of higher stakes games feel more rewarding.

With that being said you need to be aware, that "insane and loose" players are also found in low and even mid stakes games. Maybe there are a smaller percentage of them, but they are still there, so its something, you need to learn to deal with.

And yes I get it. They can be annoying to play with, because they give you few chances to win small easy pots without showdown. And this can be frustrating, especially if you are card dead or miss all the flops. They call your C-bet, or they stick a donk bet in your face, and again and again you need to fold. Or they hit some ridiculous two pair with J4, and you lose a big pot with top pair top kicker.

But the reward comes, when you finally have a big hand and win their entire stack, because they make some ridiculous call. And for those of us, who play for profit, either professionally like Collin Moshman and Evan Jarvis, or part time like myself, they are literally our customers. They pay our bills. So we need to learn to embraze these wild players and actively seek out games, where they are most abundant.

And then also play well against them. Sometimes the problem is, we tilt, and then we make some bad call, when it should be obvious, they have gotten lucky on us. If you accept the fact, that the goal is to get your chips in good, then it can actually be a quite rewarding feeling to get value, when they are drawing, and then not pay them off, when they got there. Sometimes they are even kind enough to show their hand, so you know, you made a correct fold.

Another thing to be aware of is variance. If you play MTTs with 1.000+ participants, then its completely normal even for winning players to have losing streaks of 1.000 tournaments or more. This is because, a lot of the price money is paid out in the top, and to consistently reach the top you need to put in insane amounts of volume.

If you only play an amount like 50 or 100, then your results will be totally dominated by, weather you got lucky and took down a single big price or not. This is also the reason, why I mainly play MTTs with 300 or less participants.

 
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fundiver199

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Micro stakes are a waste of time for anyone looking to make money playing.

The low end of the micros like 2NL cash or 1$ tournaments is only for practice or fun. But in the high end of the micros you can actually start to make some money. I have made some decent money in 16NL cash games on pokerstars and also in 2-4$ tournaments, and both of that is still considered micro stakes. But of course it depends on, what sort of hourly winrate, you expect, and how many tables you are able to play at once.
 
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stomper33

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If you play on micro, you definitely do not need the mainstream sold things, as it is mainly not even about that limit, especially not about micro tourneys. You should focus there how your opponents, especially the regulars play, as in the FT bubble, you will face mostly with the same small circle opponents, there will be almost always just few other guys at the last 2 tables.

I couldn't agree more with this notion. Most of the paid content out there is not very applicable to the microstakes. When I first started grinding micros, I adhered to the GTO concepts taught by the paid content. However, the vast majority of players play far from GTO, making exploitative rather than fundamentally sound poker way more profitable. You will still be profitable playing GTO, but I found the variance to be much greater as bad players are willing to play for stacks with marginal hands. I wouldn't completely discredit paid content for micros though; they can be good for nailing down your own ranges while teaching you good strategies for exploiting players' tendencies. However, you can find much of the same information for free online.

IMO microstake MTT's are only worth playing if your objective is to learn tournament play, such as how to play different stages of the tournament with different stack sizes, and how to exploit different player types. They can give great experience in the tournament format while risking very little, while also teaching you how to beat both the fish and the regs. However, if you are looking to make even a somewhat reasonable profit/hourly rate, micro MTT's can be quite the struggle. Say you're an absolute crusher with a 50% ROI at the $3 stakes. You've honed in your fundamentals and can now play 8 tables at once. Your average tournament lasts 4 hours (this is just an estimate). Your hourly rate is only $3/hour. Of course, you can still build a bankroll with this, but it will be a long and hard grind.

One other thing to note about MTT's, which OP mentioned in his post, is the player pool size. The more players in the field, the higher the variance. They might provide for a higher ROI, but they can easily provide a lower ROI if your sample size isn't large enough (1000+ games). Try to find games with smaller player fields and a cash overly (i.e. $3 buy in, $900 GTD, but only 250 players register). You can often find a few tournaments that repeatedly have overlay for a few weeks before the site realizes they're just giving away money.

Despite the low hourly rate, I do think it is worth playing microstakes until you know you can beat them before moving up to small stakes. If you jump up in stakes too soon, you will just burn away the cash that you spent weeks building up. You need to be confident in your ability so that you can maintain a steady headspace through the downswings (which will be larger at higher stakes). A winning player can quickly turn into a losing player if they tilt after a few bad beats. Micros can train your stamina to persevere through these swings.

If you're looking to build a bankroll at the micros, I think cash games and SNG's/STT's are a much better way to go. There is way less variance at cash games and slightly less variance at STT's while providing for a greater hourly rate due to a shorter game duration. STT strategy is fairly simple after you get down to 6 people or less if you put in just a few hours of studying these spots. But they can also be a bit dry and monotonous.

My biggest recommendation for MTT and STT is to not focus on your cards that much and instead focus on your strategy for the overall game. Mark who the fish are and who the regs are. Both are beatable, but in their own way. Focus most of your study on preflop ranges (these can easily make or break your ROI), exploitative adjustments, ICM (this is where players punt the most money, so if you have a sound understanding of ICM, you will crush), and your strategy for each stage.

And to OP's last point, I think it is best to try to maximize both profit and enjoyment. If you don't enjoy cash games, don't play them (I don't). There's no point making a couple of bucks an hour if you're not enjoying it. Studying can be a bit laborious and dry, but it will easily make the games more enjoyable as you start to see results from your hard work. Best of luck to you.
 
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kristersb123

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Micro stakes is the best option for new players, they can learn a game and understand basics, there are a lot of fishes there so if you play tight and thinking deeply then you will make money even if you are new to poker. Every player started from micro stakes and gradually upgraded to higher stakes. You have to start somewhere and micro stakes is the best choice for beginner player.
 
KRANKES

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Have you tried the KO Bounty hunter tournaments on PS? I think with your budget you can play the 1,10 the 2,20 and the 3,30 on a daily basis (assuming you cash every now and then).
After a while you will find out, which level suits you most and get knowledge of the other players.
 
whiskers77

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I do not understand this attitude "I am ready to burn $150 per month", but I keep playing on the micros and feel at the same time bad about this.
At all I do not understand the attitude, I want to burn some money for playing poker. In my opinion poker is more fun when I win on the long term and do not loose. Otherwise it is not only wasted money but also wasted time.

If you are ready to spend $150 per month for one year, then you should sum up your bankroll for example, this would be $1800, I would suggest to put this money on a bank account or e-wallet just for poker to keep better track on it.

And then do some proper brm according to your bankroll and your skills.
 
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redsfan

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I play a lot of micro tourneys,With all the re entry and rebuys,micro tourneys have some very good payouts,for the money you invest.
 
A

annoyingguy

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There is a lot of value in playing micro-stakes. It's a mistake to have an idea of what real poker should look like and then avoid games that look different than this.

What you want is opponents making significant mistakes. Your job is to identify and exploit these mistakes. Do that well and you will be rewarded (after a large enough sample) with good profits and the knowledge that you're ready to move up.

MTTs will not give you rewards in the short term, the goal in poker is always the long term, do not look at a particular tournament or hand. Playing within your budget will always be the most recommended, do not play what you are not willing to lose. I think one piece of advice I could give you is to study a lot more, about banking management, about what is the variance of poker. Poker is a very complex game that depends on many things in order to win, and especially in tournaments where professionals even have a majority of negative sessions, so it is important that you understand the value of variance in the short term.

I do agree with both of the answers above and after thinking about them for a while, I got to better understand why I am being so unsuccessful in the last few weeks and was able to fix some leaks. Additionally, I really needed to learn more about BRM, which I am now working on.

If you have time for online poker, how you wrote, in my opinion the micro level is the best, especially if I see how much you can afford. It is definitely enough for micros, and there is value, and yes, you will face with hands more often than you think, or thought before. You will get it, when to count on them, even play for it, what most of the 'education' does not includes.

Based on my experience, except the basics, forget all the 'educational' things out there for free or any cost. Useless. Just messing up everything more. If you know what limit, structure, game you are profitable, how to play it to be profitable, then you don't need anything else. It is not an exact science, atom physics, or something like that.

If you play on micro, you definitely do not need the mainstream sold things, as it is mainly not even about that limit, especially not about micro tourneys. You should focus there how your opponents, especially the regulars play, as in the FT bubble, you will face mostly with the same small circle opponents, there will be almost always just few other guys at the last 2 tables.

Otherwise the RNG variance, probability have a much wilder range like the live poker. That's also just based on my experience, years, and basic math knowledge, as I am able to count variance and probability and compare it.

Yep! The thing I was most conflicted about when I wrote this post was if there was any value in playing microstakes hoping to improve my game to the point in which I would feel comfortable in small stakes.

Since you specifically say, you are playing for fun, and that you are willing to set aside a budget for poker, then I will go a little bit against the consensus here and say, that you dont HAVE to start with the lowest possible stakes, if playing a smaller number of higher stakes games feel more rewarding.

With that being said you need to be aware, that "insane and loose" players are also found in low and even mid stakes games. Maybe there are a smaller percentage of them, but they are still there, so its something, you need to learn to deal with.

And yes I get it. They can be annoying to play with, because they give you few chances to win small easy pots without showdown. And this can be frustrating, especially if you are card dead or miss all the flops. They call your C-bet, or they stick a donk bet in your face, and again and again you need to fold. Or they hit some ridiculous two pair with J4, and you lose a big pot with top pair top kicker.

But the reward comes, when you finally have a big hand and win their entire stack, because they make some ridiculous call. And for those of us, who play for profit, either professionally like Collin Moshman and Evan Jarvis, or part time like myself, they are literally our customers. They pay our bills. So we need to learn to embraze these wild players and actively seek out games, where they are most abundant.

And then also play well against them. Sometimes the problem is, we tilt, and then we make some bad call, when it should be obvious, they have gotten lucky on us. If you accept the fact, that the goal is to get your chips in good, then it can actually be a quite rewarding feeling to get value, when they are drawing, and then not pay them off, when they got there. Sometimes they are even kind enough to show their hand, so you know, you made a correct fold.

Another thing to be aware of is variance. If you play MTTs with 1.000+ participants, then its completely normal even for winning players to have losing streaks of 1.000 tournaments or more. This is because, a lot of the price money is paid out in the top, and to consistently reach the top you need to put in insane amounts of volume.

If you only play an amount like 50 or 100, then your results will be totally dominated by, weather you got lucky and took down a single big price or not. This is also the reason, why I mainly play MTTs with 300 or less participants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLnxYreq-c

Agree with you as well, I think I was just tilted while trying to play a nitty strategy that didn't apply very well to the games I was playing. Yesterday a few microstakes tournaments while adjusting my overall ranges and strategies, and some of my leaks became very clear.

I couldn't agree more with this notion. Most of the paid content out there is not very applicable to the microstakes. When I first started grinding micros, I adhered to the GTO concepts taught by the paid content. However, the vast majority of players play far from GTO, making exploitative rather than fundamentally sound poker way more profitable. You will still be profitable playing GTO, but I found the variance to be much greater as bad players are willing to play for stacks with marginal hands. I wouldn't completely discredit paid content for micros though; they can be good for nailing down your own ranges while teaching you good strategies for exploiting players' tendencies. However, you can find much of the same information for free online.

IMO microstake MTT's are only worth playing if your objective is to learn tournament play, such as how to play different stages of the tournament with different stack sizes, and how to exploit different player types. They can give great experience in the tournament format while risking very little, while also teaching you how to beat both the fish and the regs. However, if you are looking to make even a somewhat reasonable profit/hourly rate, micro MTT's can be quite the struggle. Say you're an absolute crusher with a 50% ROI at the $3 stakes. You've honed in your fundamentals and can now play 8 tables at once. Your average tournament lasts 4 hours (this is just an estimate). Your hourly rate is only $3/hour. Of course, you can still build a bankroll with this, but it will be a long and hard grind.

One other thing to note about MTT's, which OP mentioned in his post, is the player pool size. The more players in the field, the higher the variance. They might provide for a higher ROI, but they can easily provide a lower ROI if your sample size isn't large enough (1000+ games). Try to find games with smaller player fields and a cash overly (i.e. $3 buy in, $900 GTD, but only 250 players register). You can often find a few tournaments that repeatedly have overlay for a few weeks before the site realizes they're just giving away money.

Despite the low hourly rate, I do think it is worth playing microstakes until you know you can beat them before moving up to small stakes. If you jump up in stakes too soon, you will just burn away the cash that you spent weeks building up. You need to be confident in your ability so that you can maintain a steady headspace through the downswings (which will be larger at higher stakes). A winning player can quickly turn into a losing player if they tilt after a few bad beats. Micros can train your stamina to persevere through these swings.

If you're looking to build a bankroll at the micros, I think cash games and SNG's/STT's are a much better way to go. There is way less variance at cash games and slightly less variance at STT's while providing for a greater hourly rate due to a shorter game duration. STT strategy is fairly simple after you get down to 6 people or less if you put in just a few hours of studying these spots. But they can also be a bit dry and monotonous.

My biggest recommendation for MTT and STT is to not focus on your cards that much and instead focus on your strategy for the overall game. Mark who the fish are and who the regs are. Both are beatable, but in their own way. Focus most of your study on preflop ranges (these can easily make or break your ROI), exploitative adjustments, ICM (this is where players punt the most money, so if you have a sound understanding of ICM, you will crush), and your strategy for each stage.

And to OP's last point, I think it is best to try to maximize both profit and enjoyment. If you don't enjoy cash games, don't play them (I don't). There's no point making a couple of bucks an hour if you're not enjoying it. Studying can be a bit laborious and dry, but it will easily make the games more enjoyable as you start to see results from your hard work. Best of luck to you.

Thank you very much for your reply, very insightful as well! Best of luck to you. :)

Have you tried the KO Bounty hunter tournaments on PS? I think with your budget you can play the 1,10 the 2,20 and the 3,30 on a daily basis (assuming you cash every now and then).
After a while you will find out, which level suits you most and get knowledge of the other players.

KO poker is something I plan on dipping my toes in but currently I don't feel very comfortable playing it. I think it is fun, but I don't know enough about the format to play it (at least not yet).

I do not understand this attitude "I am ready to burn $150 per month", but I keep playing on the micros and feel at the same time bad about this.
At all I do not understand the attitude, I want to burn some money for playing poker. In my opinion poker is more fun when I win on the long term and do not loose. Otherwise it is not only wasted money but also wasted time.

If you are ready to spend $150 per month for one year, then you should sum up your bankroll for example, this would be $1800, I would suggest to put this money on a bank account or e-wallet just for poker to keep better track on it.

And then do some proper brm according to your bankroll and your skills.

Yup, I agree poker is more fun when you win, the attitude "I am ready to burn $150 per month" is me trying to say that although I would love to win, I am not looking at poker as a way to make money I am looking at it as a hobby, almost like a videogame or racing cars, in the sense that I am looking to maximize enjoyment and I might have to pay for this enjoyment


An example of this is what I mentioned about cash games, I feel really comfortable playing these microstakes cashgames and I am sure I can easily make U$2/hr/table (I would say even more than that), it is "easy money" but I would not enjoy it and given I can only play 3 tables at a time, I would be better off spending this time working additional hours in my 9-5 job which would pay me better and would help me with promotions on the long-run. Sure poker is more fun if I win, but it is still a fun if I am loosing in a game that I can win in the long-term (either by beating variance or by improving my strategy).
 
shinmenkami

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You will be facing A6 more than you think in every game level....
 
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valanddon

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You spend a lot of time to make very little money but I just enjoy
playing the game.
 
Luvepoker

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I am a somewhat new poker player, started taking the game more seriously earlier this year and I don't want to win money with poker, if I am able to not lose money, I am happy with it.

What I do want, however, is to have fun. I set aside U$150/month to poker and I honestly don't mind burning it all as long as I get 10 hours of fun per week with this money. Another thing I want is to get better at the game, a big part of the satisfaction I get from something is seeing I am getting better and it shows.

Having said that, I am getting increasingly more frustrated with poker as I continue to play microstakes MTTs because of how insane and loose most players are. Not that I play a perfect poker, but I am dedicated to learn the game, I spend more time reading about poker than actually playing, I watch hand reviews, do quizzes, try to review my own play, and I am 100% sure that I am now a better poker player than I was 2 months ago.

But I am loosing now more than I was loosing 2 months ago when I didn't know what "pot odds" meant. Back then I only played looking at my own two cards and I was able to win (more than once) MTTs with 1000+ players, nowadays I barely ever get in the money playing 10x more MTTs than I did in the past.

I have tried adjusting my play to a tighter style, tried changing strategies, but doesn't matter what I do, doesn't look like I can get profitable playing against the guy with A6o that calls my 3-bet when I have KKs and ends up winning the hand hitting backdoor straight on the river (7-9-5-K-8).

Again, not that I am a perfect player, I am still a beginner, but I don't think there is much to be learned from finishing a tournament for going all-in with more than 90% pot equity.

My question right now is: should I just go for small stakes, and focus in playing less, but in higher buy-in tournaments hoping for a more better experience? Is there any value in playing microstakes?

I have been getting some profit while playing microstakes cash games, but I don't really enjoy playing it, and as for SnG or STTs, I try to avoid them because even though I can play decently when 9-handed, I am an absolute mess when the game goes lower than 6-player on a table.

Micro stakes is the training grounds of poker. They are the place you can learn and try things out at the lowest cost. As you said you are a beginner and can add funds each month if needed. Thats good for you as you dont have to play the lowest games out there but there are Microstakes and there are Microstakes. Playing in a $0.25buy in against a $3.00 buy there is a big difference in the play. Go to the 6.60 games and there are even more different.

You say you won some tournament with 1K+ players but nowadays barley make the money. You need to remember that if you cash 1 in 7 time you are about average cashing. Also going 20 or 30+ tournaments in a row without a cash is not unheard of. Tournament poker is a long term game and short term results mean nothing. Most people seem shocked by this coment but here is something you may not have thought of. The money is at the top of the payouts. When you make the final table is where the money is. If you play agaisnt 1000 people every time do you realize you are only making the final table once every 111 times you play? That's just average and going 200 or 300 between final table could happen.

I play in the micros and do well. I also play there due to the disadvantage of getting fund on and off where I live. Since your on poker stars I assume you dont have my issues. If you are OK with depositing each month as long as your having fun, I would play 1-3$ buy ins. This would give you plenty of play and would not be the worst bankroll management out there even though its not ideal.

As for your barley cashing I have a question for you? You did better when you knew less. When you won those games were you just playing a small amount of games? Are you now multi-tabling more? If you are really learning the game I have some advice for you. Play less tables and 1 or 2 would not be bad. Why? When I play 6-8 I miss things all the time. Its easy to have a few hands going at the same time and trying to put the puzzle of the hand together is not easy this way. On days when I play just one table I see so much more of the game. Patterns, plays that dont make sense and avoiding making mistakes. It maybe much more boring this way but when learning the game this will be a greater help to you. Best of luck mate.
 
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fundiver199

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and as for SnG or STTs, I try to avoid them because even though I can play decently when 9-handed, I am an absolute mess when the game goes lower than 6-player on a table.

This is a problem, if your goal is to be a profitable MTT player. While most MTTs play 9-handed or 8-handed the majority of the time, the big price jumps are right at the top, and you need to be able to finish the job. So rather than avoiding STTs why not see them as a cheap and easy way to practice short handed play?
 
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bruno1234poker

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I don't like

I never won when I play this kind of game. So I don't play anymore.
 
MAGICUZ

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I think success in micro limit poker depends on your play, your play should be very aggressive with strong hands (2 pair or more) and as tight as possible with weak ones. The lowest stakes players just love to “check”, so if you want you can often watch the following streets for free and come to showdown cheap.Micro-stakes play stands out for its huge number of hands with several players. As a rule, several people see the flop at once, and at the same time they can have absolutely random cards on their hands (4-5) (AA)You can piste a lot about micro limits, but the most important thing is to know:pLAY WITH STRONG HANDS, WEAK HANDS RELEASE:DON'T bluff:BET A LOT WITH STRONG HANDS.Discipline is the fundamental guarantee of success at micro stakes. Use a tight-aggressive style of play in all hands: if there are cards - bet, no - fold. If you want to stay profitable in the distance, try not to shy away from it.
 
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