If you have successfully navigated your way through low stakes no limit Hold’em games, then you probably have acquired the skill set necessary to take on tougher games. Most likely you have slaved away at $.50/$1.00 to $1.00/$2.00 no limit hold’em games and are ready to move up and try $2/$4 or higher. Generally speaking, these games are referred to as medium stakes and they will require some adjustments in order for you to be successful.
Who Plays Medium Stakes No Limit Texas Hold’em?
When entering the realm of medium stakes no limit Texas Holdem, it is important to understand that you are facing a different kind of opponent. Unlike small stakes where players are mostly beginners or just bad players who never move up, medium stakes will start to introduce you to some more dangerous players. Let’s take a look at a few player types:
Workhorses: These are players like you. You started out at the bottom with a small poker bankroll and have learned your way up to the bigger stakes. You have a good knack for the game and you are always learning. You are playing medium stakes Texas Hold’em games because you have earned it and have the potential to win. You will have your faults and bad sessions, but overall you are a strong player and other workhorses like you are strong as well. Play them carefully as they are the most frequent opponent you will find in the middle limits.
Unsatisfied Casual Players: These players are the ones you are looking to prey on. They generally have enough money to play poker when they feel like it, but the small and micro limits simply don’t give them the thrill they seek. Look at these players as young to middle aged single guys with money to burn, but aren’t all that good at poker.
Idiots: Although not as frequent in medium stakes games, these are the players who take a shot at a higher limit poker game with absolutely no reason for it. When you find them, stick by them and take their money.
Strategies For Medium Stakes Play
The biggest thing to remember when entering the world of medium stakes no limit hold’em is that you are now facing considerably better opponents and your play must be adjusted accordingly. Players at these levels are usually using some type of tracking software for both their own play and their opponents play. Take the hint and start doing the same if you haven’t already. Below are some things to keep in mind when playing mediums stakes no limit hold’em:
Starting hand strength becomes more important. Large multi-way pots often associated with low limit play will not be nearly as frequent in middle limit games. Be even more vigilant about playing only premium pairs and big face cards. Play middle face cards like KQ, KJ and JQ with more caution than ever, you routinely will be outmatched if you play these mediocre hands out of position.
Be gutsier. Your money means more now and the right players will take your bets more seriously. Use the knowledge you have of your opponents and proper position (read late or after a target player) to make profitable bluffs.
Aggressiveness is the key to poker, especially when you start moving up in limits. Calling is generally the wrong move. When you enter the pot, come in betting or raising. Use your stack, its your biggest weapon.
Generally speaking if you increase your aggressiveness and toughen up your starting hand requirements you’ll be better set to handle the changes you will experience when playing medium stakes no limit hold’em. Remember to study your opposition carefully; solid poker isn’t enough to win anymore like it was at the low limits. You need to be ahead of your savvy competition and that means studying them. After you are ready to move up please read this article on high stakes no limit Texas Holdem strategy. If you have made it this far there is probably not much I can teach you but knowledge is power at the poker table.
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