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So you want to be a low stakes grinder?

March 23 Sandra Wong

Low stakes poker grind

low stakes poker fish game

Let me tell you this, you will need a lot of patience and thick skin to survive the grind. Grinding at a living at the 1/2 and 1/3 levels really takes a toll on your emotional/physical well being at times. You have to deal with the bottom of the barrel when you play these stakes. I am talking about the low stakes poker grind.

Generally the vast majority of the player base will be tight, unimaginative players who do not have any money. Usually they will play very cautiously and passively without taking much risk. Their goal is to grind out little wins while cutting back on variance. These players are very easy to play against and are very exploitable.

Then you will have the chronic short stackers, these dirt bags are like little cockroaches that just won’t die.  You always see them with a little stack, usually when they double up they make up some excuse to leave the game (classic hit and run artists).

You also might run into the classic degen, who always look to hustle and borrow money off people. Never lend money to anyone in a casino, it just never works out in the end! Most low stakes games are filled with bad beat hunting degenerates playing shallow stacks. Game selection and patience are by far the most important qualities to have when grinding in these games.

Value betting and knowing to make big folds are probably the next most important qualities on my list!

Don’t have life leaks! Don’t smoke, drink or do drugs as these will take away from your judgment and make a dent in your bankroll! Not to mention most of these habits are bad for your health. DO NOT PLAY TABLE GAME AT THE CASINO! That is a major leak and has the ability to destroy lives. Also go easy on the sports betting, I have seen so many good poker players get in huge trouble with this habit. Betting on sports is a high variance activity!

Then you have to deal with the speed of the game, usually at the lowest stakes people will not know how to play. You will have to deal with the drunk people as well who slow down the game incredibly. Be prepared to play less than 15 hands per hour at these type of games. Generally in your standard game you will see between 25-30 hands per hour. This is where the patience comes in! Tilt control is key as well, you gotta know when to come back and fight another day when you can’t control your emotions at the table.

Not to mention most low stake players exaggerate their win rate. I have met many players at this level who have told me they make $50/hr playing 1/2. I just chuckle inside and feel sorry for them as they are very delusional. If you are a top level 1/2 grinder be prepared to make $20-$22 per hour. Most decent profitable regs will make $12-$16 per hour. Then you will have to take in variance and expect to put in massive hours. I always tell anyone who wants to play these stakes for a living to have a second income that doesn’t rely on variance. That way you can pay your bills with your steady income and pocket your poker earnings and build a bankroll. That helps when you want to live a balanced lifestyle, you still want to have some experience in the normal world. You also want to sleep on a somewhat regular schedule, eat decently and exercise when you can. Spend time with family and friends as well, enjoy the freedoms that being a poker player brings. Travel to different places and play poker, playing in different places makes you a better player!

Being a low stakes grinder is not a glamorous lifestyle, far from those who play on TV. If you are patient enough and have the discipline, you can grind out a decent living (usually just enough to pay your bills).

Your goal should always be learning and moving up in stakes when your bankroll and skill level permits it. Try to surround yourself with the good players from your area and talk strategy with one another. This will improve your game and help you take advantage of local players weak tendencies.

Don’t get caught in the trap of being one of those 1/2 lifers, try to get better and move up to the 2/5 and 5/10 games. You just need to work on your game and have the confidence to play at the bigger stakes. Take some calculated shots at the bigger game and test yourself.

Well I hope these tips help you in your low-stakes grind, if you any questions about hands or anything else let me know.

Good luck at the tables and may you never be drawing dead!



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