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Small or high stakes: which is better?

Like it or not, learning poker rules and practicing for hours on end won't guarantee you a win. Many different things can affect the outcome of your poker session: the type of players you compete against, the cards you get, and the stakes involved.

When you play poker online, you need to decide how much risk you're willing to take and how high the stakes should be. But what does that really mean?

What are the differences between micro-stakes and low stakes, mid stakes, and high stakes? And can the stakes affect your chosen strategy? Find out the answer to those questions now, and you might become a stronger player for it!

Different Levels of Poker Stakes

When it comes to poker stakes, live and online games are often divided into five categories:

  • Micro stakes – Games in which the blinds range from $0.01/$0.02 and $0.10/$0.25
  • Small stakes – When the blinds range from $0.25/$0.50 and $0.50/$1.00
  • Mid stakes – In this type of game, the blinds often range from $2/$5 and $5/$10
  • High stakes – In this case, the blinds range from $5/$10 and $50/$100
  • Nosebleeds – When blinds are at least $200/$400 or more

When you start playing poker online, you must pick a level suited to your gambling preferences and skills. How much risk are you willing to take? Are you looking for a slow and steady income or a quick payout? Once you decide on the stakes level you're comfortable with, you should learn how to adjust your strategy accordingly.

How to Change Your Poker Strategy According to the Stakes

Every stake level attracts the attention of different players, thus warranting the usage of specific betting strategies.

Micro Stakes

When it comes to micro stakes, you will meet two types of players seated at those tables: recreational players who simply want to enjoy the game at a low cost and serious players who are willing to grind their way to the top.

Because there isn't much risk involved at this level of the game, players tend to play loosely at the pre-flop stage and adopt a more passive approach after the flop. Not many players fold while the stakes are so low, so bluffing probably won't work.

Therefore, your only option is to play a lot of hands when in position and try to grow the pot after the flop if you have a strong hand.

Small Stakes

If you are ready to move on to small stakes, you will probably meet more aspiring poker players who want to become pros but still don't have the funds for the big leagues. However, since $0.25$-$1.00 stakes are still pretty low, plenty of recreational players will still frequent those tables.

That means you will meet all sorts of players at those tables, and you must take the time to figure out who your opponents are whenever you start playing. In most cases, simple strategies that worked for you in micro stakes games won't be enough. You must start thinking about employing more sophisticated poker tactics if you want to win big.

Also, if your goal is to maximize your wins, you should find the best poker room that offers lucrative Rakeback deals and special offers that can help you increase your profits.

Mid Stakes

Now things are becoming more interesting. Once you crank up the risk levels, you will meet a completely different breed of players at the tables. Your opponents will be more competitive, experienced, and knowledgeable, so you must bring your A-game to the table if you want to win.

If the small stakes required you to get acquainted with simple poker strategies, when you play mid-stakes games you should have complete knowledge of the basics and move on to a more advanced territory. At this poker level, you should have a decent understanding of when to fold and when to raise, and you should pick your playing style and stick to it throughout the game. Also, you can try learning more about GTO and using it to your advantage.

High Stakes

Not many players, even professionals, reach this stakes level. You can make a profit without putting hundreds of dollars on the line in each round, so only players willing to take a major risk move on to high-stakes poker.

The allure of winning thousands of dollars in one go appeals to some pros, but the danger involved in high-stakes poker will change how they play. When large sums of money are involved, players tend to adopt a tight and even somewhat passive strategy, only placing bets when they are confident in their ability to win.

More often than not, high-stakes games tend to be slow-paced, as players might play fewer hands than usual. To ace this type of game, you should have a full understanding of all possible strategies and tactics, which might require you to get some coaching. You should pick your games wisely, and if you want to keep the cash flowing, maybe engage in mid-stakes games from time to time.


You won't see many nosebleeds taking place on a regular basis, as very few players are willing to participate in them. Mostly, only highly experienced and wealthy players allow themselves to engage in such a game from time to time, and they are usually hard to beat.

What Kind of Poker Game Suits You Best?

How much money are you willing to put on the line each time you play? And do you want to take things easy or invest the necessary time to learn poker rules properly? There is a perfect fit for every player, so you only need to choose and start playing!