In this article, we will describe what the different dynamics and game styles are like at the low stakes, the mid stakes, and the high stakes.
Low Stakes – $10 and under, $3 – $5 re-buys
-Multi-way pots will be extremely common, especially pre-flop
-Large field sizes and eratic competition will increase variance
-Players will invest heavily into pots with weak holdings and no plan, usually resulting in folds
-You will see terrible shoves with full stacks and sometimes hundreds of blinds, players are way less disciplined at the level
-Bubbles will be very exploitable as most at this level are focused on cashing and pay jumps
-Players will be unaware of timing and sizing tells, allowing you to narrow their range of hands better
You will often be very deepstacked at this tournament level due to your opponents mistakes. Practice positional 3-betting and keep c-bets relatively small. Players will become frustrated with you and make huge postflop mistakes often calling out of position and overvaluing their hand when they do get a piece of the board. Wait patiently for them to pay off your top tier hand or to call their bluff when they take a stand against your past aggression.
Mid Stakes – $20-$75, $10 rebuys-$30 rebuys
– 3-betting (re raises pre-flop) will be common but players will be less likely to play big pots or defend 4 bets without premium hands
– Money bubbles will become harder to exploit as “leveling” will enter your tournament experience
– Players will recognize steal attempts much better and as a result your opens will be reshoved by 20-30bb stacks often
– Less premium hands will become must shoves based on prior encounters with players and your chip stack
– Their will be great players at this level, not only playing for a living, but ballers from the high-stakes filling their screen space and funding larger buyins
A nice tip for a smooth transition to this level is to join the rebuy tournaments at the end of the registration hour. This allows you to usually recieve between 30-50 blinds when the tournament restarts (one buy-in and an add-on). Now you have a shot at a great payout and the investment is light on your bankroll.
High Stakes – $100-$1000’s; $50 rebuys-$200 rebuys
– Must pay attention to every hand
– Fields are shark infested, most players here have played 1000s of tournaments exceptionally well
– Your game must adapt; note taking, hand history reviews, tracking software etc.
– Game selection is everything, and you can find beatable tournaments with 100 person fields
– Do not play unless you and your game are in a good place
– You will be tested and exploited if your leaks are not fixed
– Payouts are lifechanging, satellites, satellites, satellites!!!!
This is a different world. 4-5 and 6 betting is non-stop and you will encounter top professionals deep in every event. There will be some dead money as wealthy amateurs play at a stake that is comfortable to them even while learning. But for most this will always be a shot taking venture and that is fine. Playing at this level requires insane commitment and a bankroll that can sustain downswings in the tens of thousands.