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Poker news | Jul 19, 2023

From Freerolls to Low Stakes: Top Tips

By RTR Alex

Poker chips ace green preview

If you’re a fan of freerolls and like the idea of boosting your bankroll, then low-stakes tournaments could be the perfect next step on your poker journey.

Low stakes poker refers to a form of poker where the betting limits are relatively low. It’s often played among friends, in casual home games, or at small buy-in tournaments.

Low stakes games may not be quite as competitive as the WSOP, but unlike freeroll tournaments, the buy-in costs lead to some great guaranteed prize pools when compared to freerolls. So, if you’ve spent years winning in our freeroll tournaments, taking your talent to the low-stakes tables could help you cash in on all those hours of hard work.

What’s more? You can earn plenty of extra rakeback at a variety of sites through RakeTheRake promotions if you venture outside of the freerolls…

So, without further ado, here are our top tips for transitioning from freerolls to low stakes poker.

1. Play Tight

By far the most valuable tip anyone could give you for low stakes poker, is to play tight. This is because low stakes tables are full of inexperienced players that will regularly play bad hands. Making sure you have higher standards than them will give you an advantage over the riskier players.

Sure, the rookies at the table might win a few of their risky bets, but poker is a long game. We measure our success over weeks and months of playing, and eventually, the gung-ho attitude of the less experienced will catch up to them.

A good rule of thumb is to play the top 20% of hands you are dealt. The more players at the table, the lower that percentage goes, but it obviously depends on the calibre of players at the table.

2. Bankroll and Rakeback

This may sound pretty simple, but it’s just as important for small-stakes as it is for high-roller tables.

Even though the stakes are low, it's essential to have proper bankroll management. Set a budget for each session and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses or playing with money you can't afford to lose. If you manage your bankroll well, you’ll ensure that you can continue playing low stakes poker without risking more than you can afford.

Another way to keep your bankroll healthy, is to take advantage of rakeback.

Whenever you play poker at an online poker room, the room will take a portion of the pot on every hand - otherwise known as rake. The rake amount is usually set at between 5-10% of the pot and the poker site would use this to maintain services, pay staff and of course, make profit.

But with the help of RakeTheRake, you can claim some of that rake straight back into your bankroll with rakeback!

We have tons of rakeback deals with poker sites around the world, and with some sites you can earn as much 60% or 70% in rakeback! But what does that mean exactly?

To make things simple, let's say you bet $10 in a hand. Whether you win or lose, the poker site takes 10% - so $1 in rake. BUT if you're signed up to that site with RakeTheRake and you have a deal for 65% rakeback, you'll get 65 Cents deposited straight back into your account. Remember, this fee is for every single hand, so if you played a hundred hands you could claim back $65, for no extra work!

If you're serious about managing your bankroll, but you're not taking advantage of all our offers at RakeTheRake, you're missing out on a huge source of completely passive income.

3. Pay Attention to Position

Position plays a critical role in poker, and it becomes even more important in low stakes games. In late positions on the flop, turn and river, you can take advantage of acting last on each betting round.

Betting late allows you to gather more information about your opponents' actions and make more informed decisions. Whereas betting first means that your bets can’t be based on the attitudes or moves of other players in each round.

If the action starts with you, it’s a tough spot to be in. You’re attempting to lead the betting down the path you want to take without giving anything away, but there are no guarantees, and everything can change by the time the action returns to you.

On the other hand, betting last allows you to observe the moves of other players and make calculated decisions.

The bottom line: play more hands when you're in a late position, and be more cautious in an early position when you have less information.

4. Focus on the Basics

In low stakes poker, you’ll face plenty of players who don’t know how to use pot odds to their advantage and they may not even be familiar with hand rankings. So, if you can raise your poker IQ you’ll have an upper hand at most of the tables.

Mastering the basics of hand rankings, pot odds, and position will give you an edge over the rookies. You don't need to get too caught up in complex strategies or bluffs, as you won’t see too many pros that venture into low stakes tournaments.

5. Keep Good Players Guessing

It may be a rare occurrence, but when you do bump into a player who seems to be winning more often than not, you’ll have to up your game. And this is where confusing the good player comes in.

A good player only needs to get one or two reads on your playstyle and betting habits to consistently steal pots from you. So, you should make an effort to switch up your play between hands and various situations. This should keep them guessing, and make winning those touch-and-go hands a little more difficult.

What you might do is play tight and conservative on day one of the tournament, then play loose and aggressive the next day, and play like a madman on day 3. I wouldn’t always advise playing like a madman, but it can certainly throw some people off their game.

6. Use a HUD

A poker HUD (Heads-Up Display) is a tool that provides you with extra information while you play poker online. It's a helpful software you can download that collects data on your opponents' playing patterns and displays it on your screen while you play. If you’re serious about winning at the tables, using a poker HUD is key.

Using a poker HUD allows you to see important stats about your opponents, such as how often they raise, call, or fold. It also shows you their aggression level and their success rate in showdown scenarios. This information can give you valuable insights into their playing style and strategy.

By having access to a HUD, you should make better decisions at the poker table. You can adjust your own strategy based on your opponents' tendencies, and take advantage of their weaknesses.

However, it's important to note that a poker HUD is just a tool. It doesn't guarantee you a win, but it can enhance your decision-making process and give you an edge. It's up to you to interpret the data and use it wisely

7. Prioritise Table Selection

Facing off against a good player can be fun, but if you’re looking to win, finding tables with plenty of newbies will be far better in the long run.

A basic rule of thumb is that you play at a table where there is at least one obviously recreational player.

The easiest way to figure this out is by checking their VPIP score on your poker HUD. This score tracks how often they voluntarily put money in the pot (VPIP). So, given we said that you should aim to play 20% of your hands (or less), any score significantly over this should reliably signal a recreational player.

You should look for players with a VPIP of 40% or more, meaning they play 40% (or more) of the hands they are dealt.

When you do find a table with someone that has a high VPIP score, you should cash in. Try to play more hands against that player than the others at the table.

There you have it! Our top tips for succeeding at low-stakes poker.

To break it down into bullet points:

  • Play tight

  • Manage your bankroll

  • Pay attention to position

  • Focus on the basics

  • Confuse the Good Players

  • Use a HUD

  • Prioritise Table Selection

If you put these tips to the test, you might find that you can win far more at the low-stakes table, than you do trying to grind for a top spot in the freerolls.

Check out all the partners we work with for the best rakeback deals and you can put some extra cash back in your pocket, simply by signing up through RakeTheRake