That's how a mid-stakes regular adjusts to the low-stakes

Francesco Campioni
14 Mar 2024
Holdem Database Review
14 Mar 2024

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Today I would like to show you how a midstakes player, that would be me, adjusts his gameplay when playing lower stakes. These hand bases that you see right now were played in a relatively short amount of time. They were played in between the end of 2020 and 2021 and they are mainly from a bankroll challenge I made on Twitch last year and I hope my conclusions may be helpful for you.

I'm going to tell you how different statistics and expectations change when moving up in stakes. Let's dive in.

#1. My overall results in PokerStars Zoom: from NL10 to NL200

So for you to know all these hands were played on at the Zoom tables. My general approach is really exploitative meaning that unless I have particular way to exploit my opponent, I am trying to play something similar to GTO but if I think he has some leaks, I switch to full-exploit mode.

What I want to say is that the way I plan a hand normally is totally focused on my opponent and this means that the stats I keep at tthe various stakes are pretty much influenced by my average opponent.

So if you take my (Zoom) NL10 sample, this is how I would play versus the average NL10 player, If you look at NL25 results, this is gonna be what I play versus the average NL25 player and so on.

But of course since I'm playing exploitatively, I may play very differently versus specific opponents.

The first thing you may notice is that I was playing a bit tighter at NL10, especially concerning my VPIP, and I think that was simply because at NL10 I was trying to defend the big blind a bit tighter since there is high rake. I think I should have done it also at NL25 even if it doesn't look like I did.

#2. How much rake is paid at different stakes in bb/100

And if you look at the rake column in bb/100, you can see it's decreasing when you move up in stakes.

You can see that at NL10 it's a bit lower than the at NL25, but it's not because of the stake - it's simply lower because I played tighter.

The tighter you play, the less often you participate in pots on postflop and the less rake is taken from your investments.

Look at this numbers again. You might ever ask yourself - how much rake is influencing your bb/100 at various stakes? Here is the answer - you can clearly see how much I paid bb/100 in rake at different stakes in Zoom: from NL10 to NL200. So you can see that it has kind of an impact on your losses in rake.

#3. How winrate varies from one stake to another

Your winrate is typically going to decrease when you move up in stakes even if you pay less rake simply because of the fact that your competition get stronger and stronger as stakes grow up.

#4. How 3-bet-frequency depends on the stake

A thing which was surprising me when I was comparing the stats is my 3-betting range which as you see is increasing typically with the stakes and I don't think that's good. I think it should be the opposite actually because at NL200 your average opponent is going to play pretty good against 3-bets.

And I don't think you should 3-bet on average much more than what is optimal, while at NL10 for example I think your average opponent is going to fold too much and not 4-bet enough. He is going to play also poorly postflop which should lead to a higher 3-bet frequency, and to be honest I don't know why I didn't do that.

Maybe (but I'm not sure) the number is lower because there were more opens and calls so of course I'm squeezing less than 3-betting, but I don't think that it influences that this much, so it is something weird which I don't think you should do. I think you should 3-bet more at lower stakes than at higher stakes in general.

3-bet more frequently the lower the stake

#5. Fold to 3-bet

Something else interesting to notice is the fold to 3-bet, which is decreasing when I move up in stakes. And this is fine to me seeing for 2 reasons. First of all at lower stakes you pay more rake so it's correct technically speaking to fold a bit more to 3-bets, and also I think you should consider that at NL10 an average player 3-bets less than at NL200. So theoretically speaking, it's fine to fold a bit more and maybe 4-bet a bit less and also call a bit less. There is something which I think should happen.

So if you play lower stakes, I think it's fine for you to fold a bit more preflop even if you have an edge on your opponent postflop.

#6. WWSF stat

WWSF stands for "Won when saw flop" and represents how often you take pots before showdown on postflop.

And this is another thing that you may notice, which decreases as you move up in stakes. This means how frequently when I saw a flop I also won this hand. And there are no surprises here - the better my opponents are, the tougher it is going to be for me to win a pot before showdown. Nothing to say here I think. it's pretty obvious, and that's it.

#7. Postflop Aggression %

And something which may be interesting also is the aggression percentage that as you see here, my average aggression percentage decreased while moving up in stakes.

And also here I think it's fine simply because when you play higher stakes, you want to be more balanced. And if you want to be more balanced, this means checking a bit more and of course when you start checking your aggression decreases.

If you play versus opponents who do not require you to be balanced, you are typically going to play more aggressively. You're not going to worry about checking to balance your checking range with some decent and strong hands - you're just going to bet them typically for value. It's pretty straightforward. And of course that happens a lot more often at NL10 than it happens at NL200 and as you can see it's really decreasing every stackes I played. Again simply because when I was moving up mistakes I was also encountering more players who required me to be balanced.

#8. Flop C-Bet Success

Also the Flop C-Bet Success i think is something interesting.

As you see typically it looks like the C-Bet Success decreases when we move up in stakes, and it was surprisingly high at NL100, but I don't know why it was that, but in general the trend was decreasing.

And there is something which I think is a huge misconception

Very frequently you hear things like "I cannot bluff much at the micro stakes where people never fold". But at least on the flop it's quite the opposite. - The average player is not defending enough on the flop. - They're not defending enough vs double barrels and having just A-high on dry boards for example. And this of course leads to a much higher C-Bet Success.

So in general you should CBet more frequently at lower stakes than you should CBet  at higher stakes. And of course this is also connected to how aggressive you are - look at how my Flop C-Bet Success stat correlated with my Postflop Aggression %.

If your CBets are so successful, you're going to CBet more and your aggression is going to rise. If your CBet success is not that high, you should of course decrease your CBet frequency and your agression is going to go down a bit.

If you want how to bluff perfectly in poker, read the Best tips from Jonathan «JCardShark» Little.

#9. Turn and River C-Bet Success

It is also interesting to compare it to the Turn and River C-Bet Success.

To be honest, I wouldn't consider the river because even on huge samples they stand to be a bit variance-influenced and here it looks a bit random to be honest, so I don't think the river River C-Bet Success is something we should look at.

But it's interesting to see the Turn C-Bet Success, which is exactly the opposite as the Flop C-Bet Success. It is higher at higher stakes and lower at lower stakes. C-Bet Success is much higher on the river than it was on all the previous streets. And at any stake.

This is of course connected partially to the Flop C-Bet Success because if your opponent folds a lot on the flop, this means that he is going to fold a bit less on the turn and vice versa. But in general, if you want to take a brief look at the river C-Bet Success, it is in general pretty high. I think that may be an interesting information for some of you to know that c-betting on the river seems very profitable at all stakes.

A good exploit against the field at any stake is to triple barrel a bit more than it is theoretically optimal

But be careful on the flop - you should be more careful to good players because they are going to punish you if you exaggerate.

#10. Summary

Here are my tips. If you're playing at lower stakes, the 3 main adjustments you should typically start doing in the field:

  • You should probably fold a bit more against 3-bets
  • You are allowed to CBet more frequently
  • And also take into account the rake.

At NL10 the rake is considerably higher than at NL200, so you should probably defend a bit less to pay much less rake on later streets and increase the chance you win at showdown. Especially when you are calling preflop like calling against 3-bets and calling from the big blind.

Regarding CBets, at lower stakes you are simply not going to be punished enough than you are at higher stakes, so exaggerating with CBets is a profitable approach.

This article is made from That's how a Mid-Stakes Reg adjusts to the Low-Stakes | Poker Tips video by Vladimir «ABIVPlus».

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