(This is a post I wrote a while back which I hope will be useful for newcomers to micro-stakes NL. It should be useful up to 25NL, but it’s specifically aimed at the player of a few weeks’ experience, who understands the basics, but doesn’t know much strategy. I hope you enjoy it)
Play full ring (10-handed) for now. On these tables you will almost never be playing marginal hands. You need to be sure that your overall number of hands played (not including the big blind) is no more than 20%. Your absolute minimum pre-flop raise percentage should be 5% – between 5 and 10 is ideal. Over 10 is probably unwise as your post-flop skills are unlikely to be well enough developed; under 5% and you’re going to be letting too many drawing hands into the pot and not being paid off enough when you do hit decent hands.
At $10NL you need to up your PF raise amount to at least 5x + 1x per limper. It’s easiest if you keep your raise amount the same every time, as it doesn’t give away clues as to the strength of your hand, and it helps it become automatic.
The nature of no-limit means that you can lose in one hand what you might have expected to win in the entire session (or more). That’s how it goes. If you can’t handle this, then move to limit. This isn’t a snidey remark. It’s important to know you have the fortitude to take the inevitable lost stacks.
You need to watch your expectations. 30BB/100 (with BB = 2x big blind) isn’t possible outside the short term. 20BB/100 is JUST about possible if you play flawless poker. 10BB/100 is about the area you should be aiming at. Even 5BB/100 is solid, winning poker, which equates to, yes, $1 per 100 hands. Those are the stakes your playing at. Don’t allow yourself to get impatient about making $$$.
I hope you’re also aware of the long term nature of the game. One thing that ALL beginners do is rejoice if they make $20 one day and sob if they lose $15 the next. But, overall that means you’ve made $5! Which is what a very good player at this limit can expect to make in 250 hands! But judging it after 2 sessions is just as bad! Statistics that indicate success or failure at poker only start to have meaning when you’ve played AT LEAST 10,000 hands. That’s the figure you’ll see on this site when people do check-ups, posting their stats for other people to look at. But even then, 10k hands is very much short term. It is perfectly possible for a very good player to be down over 10k hands.
Let’s break it down even further, Let’s say we want to look at our stats with AA. Well, in 10k hands you can expect to be dealt AA forty-five times. But we’ve already discussed that TEN THOUSAND hands is a poor sample – so forty-five is an almost worthless one!…
To illustrate: Let’s say that the first 44 of these hands return a BB/hand of 5 (which is about normal for a decent player). At $10NL, this equates to $44. Then, you receive AA on hand 45. You have a big stack, say $20 thanks to previous good play, and so does the villain. He pushes pre-flop – yes! – and you call gleefully. But this time, his QQ hits a Q on the river and he takes you down…
Click here to continue reading the full thread, Pointers for Micro-Limit NL.