Poker Stakes: From Micro to High Stakes

poker stakes

Whilst the online poker platforms, the devices we play on and the variants of poker change, the stakes do not. But the different levels of poker stakes can confuse recreational players as to what levels there are and where they should be playing. If you’re unclear on the categories of poker stakes and which level belongs where, don’t worry, I will clarify in this article. Furthermore, I’ll give an overview of what you can expect to find at that level too.

Micro Stakes Poker

This is the first place to start if you’re new to poker. The tournaments are $10 and below and the cash games run from $0.01/0.02 to $0.10/$.25c.  Most poker platforms have vast traffic at these levels as its where people start their poker journey. You can find an abundance of fishes here who are just playing for fun. They may have just come from playing on Apple Pay casinos and decide to give poker a try.  You’ll also find some players keen to move up stakes but wanting to beat their current level first. Naturally, the calibre of play changes as you move from NL $2 to NL $25 too.

To win at micro stakes poker takes a solid approach. You should be able to beat it through solid fundamentals in hand selection, a tight aggressive style and not deviating too much from it. You could probably beat it without extensive HUD analysis or advanced strategy but its unlikely to be for much per hour given the small amounts involved.

Low Stakes Poker

The low stakes poker games are typically $11 to $30 in tournaments, and NL $50 to NL $200 in cash games. This is where you’ll start to find more professionals lurking about. The games are generally tougher and even the weaker players tend to have fundamentals covered. To win at low stakes games takes more creative play, a greater emphasis on poker software like HUDs and some careful game selection too.

Mastering the fundamentals can go a long way to helping you achieve a high win rate. That’s why I created some poker courses on continuation betting and bluffing to help people primarily looking to beat games up to NL $200. Many of the players I coach want to crush these levels as the rewards are much more tangible. A decent low stakes poker players putting in volume can make thousands a month.

Mid Stakes Poker

The mid stakes poker scene is not for the faint hearted. This is where a lot of money is changing hands and advanced strategy is the order of the day. Any time a fish sits, it will be gobbled up in moments. The poker players at these stakes tend to have millions of hands of experience, a strong mindset and often adopt a GTO based poker style.

Players at mid stakes are more attentive to individual tendencies and are therefore more concerned with hand ranges. They will be studying away from the table regularly and will be very careful about what games they sit in. If the table is full of opponent’s similar level to you, what is the point of sitting down as you’re all losing to the rake. The mid stakes games are generally up to NL $1,000.

High Stakes Poker

Very few people actually make it to the high stake’s poker games. Every pot is life changing money and the nosebleed games are closed off to a small percentage of people. After all, other than the very best poker players in the world and successful businessmen, who can afford to sit in games where a buy in is a deposit on a house?

I expect to beat these games you need to have a detachment from money. In other words, you can completely ignore the fact you’re playing for tens or hundreds of thousands. Additionally, you’ll need a mentor who has crushed the highest stakes games. Lastly, you’ll only want to play when a random new player joins as there is no point butting heads with the best poker players in the world.

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: