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How Poker Stakes Work – Buy-Ins Explained


poker stakes

Poker stakes refers to the amount you are willing to pay to buy-in to play a poker game. Your stake or buy-in changes how a game is played. How important is it for players to understand how poker stakes work?

Well, poker stakes work hand-in-hand with your bankroll. Playing at a high stakes table with a small bankroll is not ideal. Real online casinos offer varying poker stakes. Find out more about this below.

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Understanding Poker Stakes

poker stakes online

Different Poker Stakes

Before we get into it all, let us explain how stakes work. A stake (or a buy-in) is an amount you need to pay to play a hand. Some games have a limited number of buy-ins.

For example, a tournament may limit you to a total of 30 buy-ins. Generally, players are advised to have at least 25 buy-ins for a game.

There are four kinds of poker stakes found in online poker rooms, ranging from micro to high:

  • Micro stakes – games with stakes between $25 and $50.
  • Low stakes – low stakes games range between $100 and $200.
  • Mid stakes – the table stakes range at about $400
  • High stakes – games with stakes starting at $2000.

You can estimate how big your bankroll needs to be for a particular game by looking at the blind. For example, if you are playing at a table with a 0.10 blind, the buy-in would be $10. Multiply the max buy-in by the number of buy-ins you would like. In this example, 30 buy-ins multiplied by $10 gives you an estimated $300 bankroll.
poker stakes bankroll

Bankroll Management

Your bankroll is important where stakes are concerned. Usually, beginners play Hold em games outside of their bankroll by accident. As with all casino games, you must decide how much money you are willing to invest in a game before joining a table.

This will help you determine which poker table is suited to you. You don’t want to join a table that has a $50 buy-in if your total bankroll is $100. You are limited to only two games if you lose both rounds.
poker stakes tips

Poker Playing Tips

The heading may seem a bit confusing, but there are loads of poker tips out there. Here are some tricks we suggest you try and master at micro stakes cash games before moving on to more challenging opposition:

Position is Everything

You have to be position orientated. You are most likely to profit from the button, and you may lose the most from the blinds. Position also lets you act the last post-flop, allowing you to take down more pots when you have the least favorable hand.

Not Everyone Will Bluff

Popular media will have you believe that poker players bluff every hand. But most players don’t bluff as much as you see in films, which do show it to increase the ante. So, you really need to consider folding a medium-strength hand when you are raised.

While you may have a three-of-a-kind, most players aren’t going to be raising on two pairs or less unless they play without a strategy. Also, if you are starting on low-stakes games, you aren’t really going to go up against opposition like Daniel Negreanu, who is more likely to bluff tactically.
low stakes poker

Play At Low Stakes Poker Sites

The best part about playing poker online is you can play games with any size buy-in easily. You need to have a sufficient amount of money for the game you choose to play. Before playing games with higher stakes, we recommend you ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I comfortable with moving stakes?
  • Will my skill level and poker playing style be suitable for the stakes-level of the game?
  • What is my return on investment?

The answers to these questions will tell you if you are ready to increase your buy-in. Remember, poker is a fun game, and you don’t want to ruin your playing experience by playing at tables you cannot afford.

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