Unlike many other players who turn pro after a big tournament score, my poker career started with $10 on micro-stakes. It has been a long grind to where I am today, so I am very familiar with how poker players with modest bankrolls trying to move up stakes feel. Naturally when I decided to LiveStream, I thought that showing others how I did this would be the way to go. So I decided to walk this path once again.
Of course, I am not the player I was eight years ago, and it showed. Despite the games being a little tougher than they were in my early days, there is still a lot of people making a lot of big mistakes, and I breezed through the stakes to my $1,000 goal. I don’t say this to brag but to demonstrate my initial objective: to show people that it isn’t very difficult. I used a seven-buy-in bankroll management method (to move up or down). I didn’t make any fancy plays (except for when I was trying to specifically teach a concept to the stream). I played a bit less than 10,000 hands of solid and basic poker, and that was all it took.
So, to anyone who is stuck in micro-stakes or simply wants to do this, I strongly recommend you watch all the 32 episodes in my YouTube channel. Watch one before your session for motivation or binge watch them, whatever your style is.
If you cant be bothered to watch hours of videos, then here is some pragmatic advice that I can give you after experiencing this grind again:
I completed this challenge this quickly because I know more poker than the opponents I faced. So your only goal is to learn more poker. It isn’t growing your bankroll, moving up stakes, or anything else. It is simply to get better at this game.
Your bankroll is a tool to learn the game. Don’t see it as money or goal or as any kind of metric. Lose any emotional attachment to it.
Despite what you read elsewhere do not use a conservative bankroll management (using 50 buy-in rule for micro-stakes is a huge mistake). The lower you play, the less you will learn. Moving up is essential for the learning process, but don’t overdo it. If you lose your bankroll, you can’t learn any more. So, I’d suggest something like 15 buy-ins to move up or down, and obey it religiously.
There isn’t a big gap between skill level of stakes. Each stake higher is slightly more difficult than the previous one, don’t be afraid, get frustrated, or be superstitious about a stake you have “bounced” back from a few times.
When you are forced to move down in stakes don’t feel bad about it. Again, your goal is to learn and only learn. It might help with these kind of distractions to use software to see the tables in big blinds and not money. That way, all the stakes will be the same.
I know, easier said than done.
So, get to work and see you at the tables!
Jorge “Baalim” Limón is a member of Team PokerStars Pro Online
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