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Playing Small Stakes Poker Cash Games? Here’s How to Effectively Use Your Ranges & Bets!

So, how can you make the most of a micro-stakes game? Consider the following scenario. In 6max NL, the standard opening raise amount is commonly 2 BB (Big Blind) – 2.5 BB. At these stakes, though, players don’t mind if you raise 4 BB – 5 BB alternatively. They’ll continue to call with scabby hands and chase flops in the hopes of hitting something. 

As a result, you should save your money for elite hands and strike your opponents with larger stake sizes. There will be more money in the pot, and it will be easier to get all-in post-flop with the stacks. 4–5 BB + 1 BB per each limper is a decent rule of thumb for opening raise size.

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Yes, there will be a large number of players who will simply limp their hands with a wide range of options. If you observe players refusing to fold to any raise before the flop, you can go a step further and raise 15 BB right away. It’s not a huge sum of money, so they won’t mind. People are more likely to think about money than big blinds.

Hand Selection in Small Stakes

So, what are the best opening hands to raise? As previously stated, employing larger raise sizes will increase the pot size preflop and reduce the SPR (Stack-to-Pot Ratio). If you just min-raise or use smaller preflop raise-sizing, you’ll leave less money on the table. Making an overpair or top pair with a strong kicker is usually a very nice hand in Texas Hold’em. These hands will play even better when the stacks are a little shallower after employing larger raise sizes preflop, and they are terrific hands to stack-off. As a result, when it concerns to hand selection, you should favor hands that can frequently form large pairs.

ALSO READ: What are MTTs and How to Crush Your Opponents in Poker Tournaments?

Playing Premium hands

JJ+, or big pocket pairs, are premium hands worth stacking-off to practically any preflop action. Hands like AK, AQ, AJ, KQs, KJs, and QJs will frequently hit a good top pair and should be vigorously played. It’s worth continuing betting if you miss the flop, but barrels on the turn or river should be used cautiously. People don’t want to fold at these stakes, as indicated earlier.

Small pocket pairs & Suited connectors

Small pairs are difficult to play. If you hit a set, you nearly always want the money in, but a set only hits about 1/8 of the flops. At these stakes, a solid approach with smaller pairs 22-66 is to keep the pot small preflop and try to hit a set. If they don’t hit, it’s not too difficult to get out of the way. If there are limpers  in front, it’s a good idea to follow them in small pairs. It’s a good notion to raise when the action gets to us unopened, but we wouldn’t go crazy with large raises (unlike premium hands).

When playing small pocket pairs, stack sizes are also significant. To make calling a raise worthwhile, the opponents must have at least 50 BB stacks. If a tight player opens from UTG with a 30 BB stack, fold 22-66 immediately from hijack or cut-off. 

In terms of playability, smaller suited connectors such as 65s-T9s are very comparable to pocket pairs. They are playable hands with the potential to hit some good draws, but flops are frequently overlooked entirely. With these hands, don’t put too much money in, before the flop.

Many tables allow you to get away with raising premium hands bigger preflop and more troublesome hands smaller. This may appear imbalanced, but many opponents will not notice, and employing more than one initial bet amount will boost your win rate. However, be cautious with this tactic and pick your opponents cautiously. This type of raising pattern is a pretty bad idea against an experienced player. Poker is all about understanding your opponents and making judgments that are best for you, right now.

Keep in mind that employing different raise sizes at bigger stakes can quickly expose your hand strength to others. So, while increasing stakes and playing with seasoned players, don’t become too tied to exploitable sizings.

Middle pocket Pairs

77-TT are difficult hands to play. Unopened, they are worth raising from any position, although things may turn dicey after the flop, rather frequently. If you flop an overpair, you should bet big to defend your hand. In a high-card board, you must fold your hand frequently.

Difficult hands

There are several hands that are playable in some situations but not always. It’s best to play just premium hands from an early position, but as you get closer to the trigger, you can broaden your starting range. ATo-A5o, A9s-A2s, KQo, KJo, KTo, K9s-K6s, QJo-Q8o, QTs-Q6s are some examples of hands. Depending on the position, prior action, and stack size, JTo, J9o, JTs-J7s, T9o, T9s-T6s are all playable. If you’re a rookie player who isn’t sure how to handle challenging circumstances, it’s best to play conservative and focus on playing premium hands aggressively. However, as you gain confidence in your post-flop judgments, you might begin to expand your opening range.

Other (Trashy Hands)

Hands like T5o or J2s that aren’t included in any of the categories will be folded in all situations. As you can see, the majority of the opening hands fall within this category and should not be played at all. If you find it tedious to fold the bulk of your hands and find yourself raising with terrible hands, it’s a good idea to add extra tables. When multi-tabling, you almost always get handed a playable hand at some point. Poker isn’t about bluffing in general; it’s about patience and waiting for excellent cards while steadily grinding money from opponents who play poorer hands in the long term.

3-Betting in small stakes

It’s a smart idea to 3-bet for value at micro stakes. You’ve undoubtedly heard of 3-betting some lesser ace-suits and suited connectors in addition to premium cards to balance the 3-bet range. In micro stakes, you may ignore all of that and only 3bet high premium cards like JJ+ and AQo+. 

When it comes to 3Bet sizing, you should make it larger than the conventional size because the opponents are likely to call anyhow. Don’t be concerned about “scaring people away” with a large bet. Sometimes all of your opponents will fold their hands, and you will not always get value. It’s time to move on to the next hand and not be too bothered.

ALSO READ: How to Play Seven-Card Stud Poker

Gaurav Sangwani
Formerly a startup journalist, Gaurav now works as a Content Manager & Writer for Mobile Premier League. A non-fiction author with a flair for technology & games. Gaurav has also contributed hundreds of blogs for different media publications.


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