How to Beat NL100
Every starting player dreams of being able to beat NL100. Moving from micro to lowstakes is one of the hardest transitions in poker. Like every jump, you’re simply doubling your buy-in, but for some reason NL100 feels more threatening.
It’s true – the regulars are better, and the stakes are higher. But you continue to see an excellent selection of weak players at NL100.
Below, we highlighted key strategies that will help you to beat NL100.
By the time most regulars have reached NL100, they have mastered the basics of Poker. They are comfortable in the fact that they are winning players. Confidence is great, but all too often this leads to poor table selection. You will frequently see tables at NL100 with 6 regulars playing against each other.
Since player pools are smaller, you should be able to recognize many of the top regulars in your NL100 games. Avoid them.
Similarly, take note of which regulars have major leaks. Is one player still Cbetting every flop? Then you can make tons of money by floating them in position and attacking their Cbets with semibluffs.
Are some players only 3betting and 4betting QQ+ and AK? If so, learn to flat or lay down hands that are stack-offs against more aggressive players.
Sit down with the weaker regulars and with recreational players. Don’t be afraid to leave tables, even if you’re winning. Your attention is better spent quickly figuring out a fish’s leaks and taking his money.
Analyze your own play
To move beyond NL100, you will need to start thinking about your overall gameplan. Players will begin to take notice of your leaks.
You should be looking through your database for spots (on the flop out of position, in the small blind) where you aren’t maximizing your winnings.
Look at your biggest winning and losing hands. Tools like Leakbuster that automatically scan your database for major leaks can be helpful in identifying areas for improvement.
Whenever you play a hand you’re unsure about, mark it. Look on forums, chat rooms and even make friends with other regulars on your limits. It helps to have someone whose game you respect to help you go through hands you aren’t sure about.
Similarly, when you’ve identified a weakness, don’t just blindly overcorrect it. Look for a corresponding page in a poker book, or watch a video dealing with that topic.
In order to succeed at lowstakes and above, you must have a good work ethic and learning strategy off the tables.
Leakbuster is an excellent game improvement software that will point out leaks and suggest improvements.
Learn to make big folds
The hardest thing to do as a poker player is make big folds. It’s tough to lay down the overpair on a Ts 9s 8c board. If you take one thing from this article, take this: The single best thing you can do to improve your game and maximize your winnings is make more smart laydowns.
If you’re anything like I was moving up from NL50, you can recognize some spots every session, where you could have saved big money by folding.
These spots add up to save entire buy-ins. Don’t take this too far: don’t lay down good hands against heavy bluffers, or when you’re getting awesome odds on a call. But recognize where you’re likely to be beat and even pot-odds won’t be able to make the call profitable.
Go for thin value
Recognize spots where your opponent is weak and you might be able to squeeze a little extra value out of a smaller bet.
Over time, these small bets of 5-10 BB add up to mean major increases in your winrate. Think of it like this – if you can identify two thin value spots for 10bb over each session, you might boost your winrate by 3-4bb/100!
Above is a good example. You cbet the flow with your overcards + backdoor straight and flush draws. Although the turned Ace is a good scarecard, it ruins most of your hand’s equity and you have better gutshots and open-enders you could turn into a bluff.
When your opponent checks the river to you, he’s said that he doesn’t have a value hand (Ax or better) and he doesn’t have total air that needs to take down the pot.
On this board texture, showdown value is something like KQ, QsJs, QdJd, 9x, 88 or even 7x. Against most of his range, you can get good value for your hand with a half pot bet here.