Starting Poker Stakes

One dilemma that many beginning poker players face involves what stakes they should initially play. Most players choose to begin with freerolls because of the fact that A) they’re free, and B) they offer weaker players. However, you don’t necessarily have to start with freerolls if you already have a solid bankroll. Going further, it’s probably best that you don’t begin in freerolls because the competition level is so bad that you won’t learn anything.

So does this mean that you should start at the lowest cash game and/or tournament levels such as $0.01/$0.02 and $0.10 buy-in sit and go’s? Again, starting this low isn’t necessary or advised assuming you know anything at all about poker. Now if you’re mainly looking at poker as a fun recreational activity, then by all means go ahead and play the lowest limits along with freerolls. However, if you’re a semi-serious player who hopes to move up the stakes, you should play whatever limits you can afford.

A good rule of thumb is to have a large enough bankroll to cover at least 300 big blinds of a certain cash game level, and at least 100 buy-ins if you’re a tournament player. These are just generic numbers, but they offer a good guideline for beginners who don’t want to play above their heads.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should play $10/$20 No-Limit Hold’em just because you have a starting bankroll of $6,500. After all, a lot of really experienced players are at these limits, and you’ll get crushed as a beginner. On the other hand, you don’t need to play the smallest micro stakes just because you’re starting out since you want to be able to beat your stating limits before moving up. And if you’re starting out at the $0.01/$0.02 limits, that’s a lot of stakes to beat before reaching a level where you can reasonably earn profits.

To sum things up, consider your poker knowledge and bankroll as a means of determining where you should start.


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