Why you are still stuck at lower stakes?


You are a brainy guy, or so it seems, you know something about the game and even able to learn others some moves – but yet you are still playing at low stakes. Why? Why do we like to stand still while we can see the clear path? The reasons vary, but in most cases the problem is within ourselves.

Is it a common thing for you to see other people’s mistakes clearly and even predict something (in most cases relevant things), you are able to analyze hands but when you sit at the table, you start to lose it. You call when you know you’re behind and push when you don’t have fold equity.

You make correct decision in, like 60% of the situations. The players at higher stakes make optimal decisions in 75-80% of the hands. Let it be. You know well that they are imperfect either, but they still play on the other level.

What’s the secret?

Skill of making correct decisions

There is no secret usually. The world consists of simple formulas. Just make more adequate decisions. Here are the keys to it:

  1. Changing the orientation

It is not what you thought of initially. Usually the player counts the profit: “I lost $1,000 today” or “won some today – around $500”. This is a normal approach but if you’re willing to become better and move up the stakes, you need to ask yourself other question: Where all my decisions today were correct?

  1. Focus

You have much more information than online players. Why don’t you use it? Use all the information you have (look at the opponents during and between the hands) and don’t be in a rush.

  1. Set clear goals

Yes, something trivial here, but it works. Why do you play poker? Want to earn more and play at the higher stakes? Then aim for this, don’t let short-time entertainment stand in your way. Don’t hurry to order alcohol drinks, don’t participate in the discussion that it not interesting to you, don’t hesitate here and there.

You’ve set the goal and moving towards it. That’s it. There are no other ways.

If you’re willing to just entertain yourself and have a nice chat spending time with your friends – well, that’s fine. But you need to realize that this is not an approach to claim for professional growth. These are different goals.


Variance and tilt

It is 100500 time easier to write of it than deal with it. But there is no other way to give you this information.

Variance is one of the strongest factors that stands in a way of focusing on major goals and making optimal decisions. When you lose pot after the pot, when a fish that has to bring you profit somehow wins every other hand, it seems to you that everything is wrong. You start to doubt.

That’s the way variance works. You may realize everything but be unable to deal with it. Don’t worry, even the best players sometimes have to deal with these issues. It seems that only experience is able to make you fully realize the situation.

The same goes for tilt. You’re infuriated, being irritated by one of the players but you’re unable to do anything about it. The focus immediately disappears as you get run over in every single pot like some boy.


Some players are able to make optimal decisions. But they can only do that while being in their comfort zone. The higher stake are other man’s land, which is unknown to them. It’s cold and dark out there: the regulars are evil and fishes are wild whales. You draw all the possible scenarios and persuade yourself to stay where it’s cool and you are still able to make some money here.

The same goes for business. Some businesspersons get used to a certain income and limit it with their own hands (sometimes without them even knowing this).

Yep, it’s all good for you at $1/2, you feel yourself a king or a prince at least. And at the higher stakes you are no one who just starts to climb to the top. And that’s fearsome.


You’re afraid of the new numbers. How much can you lose at your current stakes? $200-$300 per hand maximum? At the stakes $2/5 the numbers reaches $1000. One is able to lose several thousand dollars easily. And that it too many. Some people don’t make that amount in a year.

That’s hard to process. Optimal decision search becomes irrelevant as you start to count your money. And that’s something you must avoid.

You’re afraid of not meeting your expectations. What if I fail to stay at the higher stakes? What if its hurts my ego? What if you think too much of yourself? There is no shame in losing and personal experience like this makes you stronger. Besides, if the play at higher stakes is tougher and you don’t win right away, it’s OK.

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