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I am a new player, playing microstakes. I recently came across this problem. I started from the smallest blinds possible 0.01/0.02. I was a small winning player for a couple of days, then I started not caring about the small stakes and lost. Then I moved to 0.02/0.05 and again was a winning player for a couple of days before the winnings looked small and I tried playing more and more weak hands and so lost. In short, after playing in some stakes for some time, the winnings start to look very small and I start to not care. How would you address this issue?

Solution: What I think can help is have a goal relative to the buy-in or BB. So question arises: How much is normally considered to be a good winning?

  • If you are losing then that is clearly not the goal. – paparazzo Apr 13 '16 at 1:49
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Stop thinking of it as "I won 1$, that's not much" and start thinking of it as I won a buy-in or two buy-ins. Start asking yourself what you want to use poker for? If you're playing cash games and want to play them for the sake of earning a side income or main income you need to change that attitude. You need to decide in x months I want to be player y level so will need a bankroll of z. If you're only playing for fun and can't take that level serious, just ignore the rest of the advice, throw in some money onto your account and play something like .25/.50 or .50/1. Where the money might mean something to make you focus.

A good rule of thumb for cash games is to have at least a minimum of 20(ideally 30+) buy-ins for the limit. So for a .01/.02, assuming you buy-in for 50bbs or 1$ you will want at least 20$ to play that level.

When you know you should have at least 20+ buy-ins for a level use that as a gauge what your goals should be. If you want to move up to .02/.05 you should have at least 50$.

Now the 20$ and the 50$ I've said I would actually advise more, they're like literally the minimum, but if you're on the bad side of variance for awhile it wouldn't take long to eat your bankroll.

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I like Grinch91's answer about clarifying what your goals are and looking at the money as buy-ins--I just wanted to add a couple perspectives. One skill that would really help you is to be able to disassociate money from your chips at the table. Think of them as chips--just a tool for keeping score. When you start with 100 chips, whether they cost 1 cent each or $100, you have 100 chips in front of you. They're a placeholder for the money and you can worry about that part when you're done. There are people at the other end of the spectrum from you who buy in for more than they can afford, and who end up playing scared and losing out because they're worried about what the chips are worth dollar-wise if they lose; so you can see that the same advice applies to all levels--disassociate the chips from money.

The other point I'd make is to tap into your competitive side. Besides competing against the rest of the table (with chips to keep score), you have to compete with yourself. You should be constantly striving to play the best you can, even if the amount of money you're playing for means nothing. Some people are just super competitive by nature, even with play chips. For others, where the end goal is really to make money, follow Grinch's advice in moving up based on bankroll when you can, but realize that even though you might not win much at low stakes, the experience and improvements you gain will pay off at higher stakes.

An analogy would be an athlete who starts off at a young age, competing against friends, practicing by himself, joining a school team--can you imagine if they complained about not being famous and a multi-millionaire professional? The fact of the matter is that some of those athletes continue improving, moving on to better and better teams when they're ready. Even for recreational athletes, scoring should feel good, even if it's "meaningless" in the grand scheme. In the same way, coming away as a winner of one buy-in at micro-stakes should feel almost as good as winning a buy-in at a higher stake.

One last thing is that you should realize that poker is a grind and you have to somewhat embrace that fact. Even the best players have periods of continuous losses or insignificant gains, but you have to stick to the plan. It's not a slot machine where you can potentially win a ton all of a sudden(well, unless you play big poker tournaments). All anyone should reasonably expect from cash games is a steady rate of winnings over long periods of time, with lots of variance in the middle.

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  • Some really nice points made here too. Couldn't agree with the competing against yourself any more. It all comes down to what you want out of poker, if you want to make money you 100% need that attitude of wanting to improve and being better than you were yesterday. – Grinch91 Apr 14 '16 at 9:18

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