“How to Crush the Low-Stakes Tables at Replay Poker” by William Austin
Are you looking to defeat your opponents on Replay Poker’s low-stakes tables? New guest contributor William Austin, also known as Scrover on the site, has extensive tips on how you can best the competition. Read part one below!
Author’s Disclaimer: This guide is mainly meant for people that play at play-money poker sites such as Replay Poker. If you are playing low-stakes real money poker, this post is probably not for you.
Are you a beginner or low-stakes poker player at Replay Poker? If so, this article is 100% for you!
In this article, you’ll learn strategies that will help you beat the low-stakes cash game players at Replay Poker. I’ve done all the hard yards for you. I’ve done all the research for you. I’ve played lots of hands down at the low-stakes at Replay Poker. And I’m here to share my results.
Consider this a comprehensive guide in what I intend to be a multi-part series on how to be a winner at the Replay Poker tables. But before I get into this, I need to clear up a common question: What are the “Low-Stakes”?
The “low-stakes” (also referred to as the micro-stakes) are poker games where it costs very little for you to play in. These games are great for people who don’t want to use a lot of their chips. Because there are very few chips at stake, the quality of play is relatively low. Many people play these games to enjoy themselves and relax.
At Replay Poker, the low-stakes (or micro-stakes) are when the blinds at the table are from 1/2 until 50/100.
Now, armed with our knowledge, let me introduce you to …
The Comprehensive Guide to Beating the Low-Stakes Games at Replay Poker (Part 1)
How Do People Play at the Low-Stakes Games at Replay Poker?
I can sum this up into three bullet points.
- Low-stakes players play too many hands
- Low-stakes players call too much after the flop
- Low-stakes players are not aggressive enough or are too aggressive
Why is this? Because many of them are simply inexperienced. For that reason, our average low-stakes Replay Poker player plays in an easily exploitable manner. This means that with a few simple adjustments, we can beat them.
Low-Stakes Players Play Too Many Hands
This is quite understandable. After all, if you’re playing in a 30 chip pot on Replay Poker, who cares? You’ll get 500 more chips just for logging in tomorrow anyway! Plus, it’s only a few play money chips, right?
Because of this, many low-stakes Replay Poker players are willing to play 50%, 60%, or 70%+ of hands. Sometimes you’ll see players that will play almost any two cards because they just want to have fun.
This is something you should avoid if you want to win. Most of the hands you will receive in Texas Hold ’em are junk. So your opponents are calling to see the flop with most of their hands, and they’ll be calling with a lot of junk.
And this is great for us because we’ll be able to take advantage of it. But how do we do it?
How to Take Advantage of Players Who Play Too Many Hands
To take advantage of people playing too many hands, you should do two things:
- Fold most of our hands before the flop
If you’re a beginner, I recommend you use the following as guidelines as to how many of your hands you should play before the flop:
- 6-Max (6 people): 20% of your hands
- Full Ring (9 people): 15% of your hands
The reason we play such few hands is simple: we want to get rid of our junk. That way, when we get good hands, we can earn lots of chips from our opponents. Who will call us with junk.
However, you may be asking, “Hey William, how do we know what 15% or 20% of hands to play?”
If that’s you, click here and read the first half of this article (the “preflop” section). This article can give a rough starting idea of what hands you should call and fold before the flop.
2. If we have a premium hand before the flop, raise BIG
The definition of a premium hand differs from player to player. But for this article, I would define a premium hand as the following:
- 6 Max (6 people at the table): AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, AK, AQ, AJ
- Full Ring (9 people at the table): AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, AK, AQ
If you get one of these hands, congratulations! You have received a hand in the top 5-6% of poker hands. And such a hand is likely to be the best hand before the flop.
Assuming your other opponents have not been aggressive before the flop, I recommend you put in a big raise. If you’re stuck on what size the raise should be, I suggest you press the “pot” button and add 20-50% onto that number.
Now is a great time to take some notes that you plan to actually implement. And if you’ve got those down, let’s move to my second point.
Low-Stakes Players Call Too Much After the Flop
It’s a similar story to the first problem.
Many Replay Poker players will call too much after the flop for many reasons. Here are a few of them:
- They don’t understand how strong their hand is. So if your opponent has anything that might seem good, they may call because they want a chance at winning.
- They want to try to hit a big hand, no matter how small the chance (e.g. calling with a straight or flush draw).
- They don’t care too much about the chips – after all, it’s play money right?
This is again something we should avoid ourselves. Instead, we should follow this very important rule: “Big hand, big pot. Small hand, small pot.”
How to Take Advantage of Players Who Call Too Much After the Flop
I give three recommendations to help you exploit this tendency.
- Bet around a pot-sized bet when you have a strong hand
After the flop, I recommend you bet 90-120% of the pot with your strong hands. If you’re playing at very low-stakes at Replay Poker, you could get away with even larger bets.
Remember, many of our opponents love to gamble. Many people at these low-stakes will call a big bet when they’re close to making a flush — even if they only have a 1 in 5 chance of making a flush. Lots of people will get over-attached to one pair, even when it’s clear that they should fold.
Punish them for doing this. When you have a hand that is likely better than your opponents, bet close to the size of the pot.
2. Be cautious with a weak or mediocre hand
You don’t need to make crazy bluffs or fancy moves. Simply put, if you have a weak or mediocre hand, you should not be betting. Instead, you should be calling or folding.
Even with a flush draw or a straight draw, you don’t need to commit lots of chips in the pot. Checking, calling, and folding will be your best bet most of the time. When you get better, you can consider semi-bluffing with a straight and flush draw.
Unfortunately, calling with mediocre hands gets people into too much trouble. If you’ve seen any of the following, you’ll likely know what I mean.
- Players who call really big bets from their opponents to hit a flush, even when their chance of hitting that flush is approximately 20%.
- Players who will call your bet on the river “just because” they’re keen to see what you have.
- Players who once they get a pair will start betting like crazy.
- Players who will call any raise before the flop, just because they want to see those three cards.
They’re the sorts of things someone would do if they wanted to have fun on Replay Poker. They’re also the signs of someone inexperienced. And you should exploit that.
Remember: “Big hand, big pot. Small hand, small pot.”
3. Study analysis from professional poker players on the “micro-stakes”
Confused as to what makes a good or bad poker hand?
A lot of it comes from experience and seeing previous examples. To build up your experience, you should study videos of professional poker players analyzing the “micro-stakes”. The micro-stakes are real money poker games played for small amounts of money (approximately the price of a few cups of coffee).
Once you find these videos, watch what happens during the hand. Then, try to predict what the professional poker player will say. Write down your guess so you don’t cheat! After you hear what the professional poker player says, compare it to what you’ve written. And learn from your mistakes.
Granted, the players in the “micro-stakes” will be quite different to the ones you’ll experience in the low-stakes at Replay Poker. However, by doing this, you will learn a lot about the decision process you need to have. And you can apply this to your poker game here at Replay Poker.
Low-Stakes Players are Either Not Aggressive Enough, or are Too Aggressive
From my experience, it seems like most low-stakes Replay Poker players are one of two things:
- Too passive, because they don’t know how to extract the highest amount of value from their strong hands
- Too aggressive, because they overvalue their hands, or love the thrill of bluffing
Lower stakes Replay Poker players are like this either because of inexperience or because they want to have fun. And I don’t blame people if they want to have fun.
As a general rule, most people at the lower stakes of Replay Poker are too passive. This is because they simply don’t know how to get value from their strong hands. As a general rule, I recommend you assume that your opponent is too passive unless shown otherwise.
How to Take Advantage of Players That are Too Passive
There are two main things you need to remember against a passive player.
Firstly, if you see a passive player bet big, run for the hills more often than not. Remember: your opponent is passive. They won’t bet often enough with their big hands. So if they are betting with their big hands, be cautious and make some disciplined folds.
And secondly, if you have a strong hand, bet big. Your opponent will likely not bet or raise for you. After all, they’re passive! So you should do the work and bet for them.
How to Take Advantage of Ultra-Aggressive Players
The following strategies are best implemented against people who are ultra-aggressive. You simply need to allow them to be aggressive.
This requires you to pay some attention to the tendencies of your opponent. This is because depending on your opponent, you will need to employ different strategies. For example:
- Does your opponent bet whenever checked to? If so, consider checking to him with your strong hands to not scare him away.
- Does your opponent raise and recklessly bluff every time someone makes the minimum bet after the flop? If so, make a minimum bet to try to induce a raise from them.
- Does your opponent just randomly go all-in with mediocre hands? If so, give them the opportunity to and don’t unnecessarily scare them away.
In essence, against someone who is ultra-aggressive, give them the rope to hang themselves.
Of course, a lot of what I’ve described are general guidelines. I am not the official bible of poker. Therefore, you should adapt these guidelines to your situation at the table.
If some of the characteristics of these low-stakes players sound like you, don’t fret. You’re reading this article. That’s a great first step to improving your poker game.
What have you learned from this article? How are you going to apply this to your poker game? Let me know in the comments below.
The author has generously donated his chips for the article to our readers! Take a moment to comment below with a tip you’ll use at the tables and we’ll credit two random participants with 50,000 chips each. Winners will be drawn Thursday, April 30th.