One of the most common questions put to forum members and magazine columnists is from players asking how to beat the micro-stakes cash games online. The majority of the questions mention the fact that the weak players often found in these games do not respect preflop raises, call too much post flop and are impossible to get off a hand.
Whilst this above description of a typical micro-stakes player is completely true, to think the games are unbeatable is absurd. In fact quite the opposite is true, the games are an absolute goldmine and if you cannot beat the players at the micro-stakes then you do not stand a chance higher up the food chain.
Most of the advice given suggests playing a straightforward tight-aggressive style, do not bluff and then viola, winning is guaranteed. Well it is not as simple as that but that is actually the main gist of how to beat micro-stakes cash games! The most important ingredients in our recipe for success are position, aggression and simplicity in that order. Why? You will find out below.
Although there are some solid micro-stakes players out there, you should assume that more than 90% of them are complete fish. The majority of them will play too many hands, play them regardless of their position at the table and far too passively so you should use this to your advantage. Utilise your position by combining aggression and raise limpers and isolate the weak players. Many micro-stakes players will limp into a pot with a huge array of hands, call a raise and then check/fold to your continuation bet, only playing back at you if they have a piece of the board. You will be amazed how many times you can raise a limper preflop and then get them to fold with a c-bet, the small amounts soon add up.
Constant, controlled aggression is also needed on later streets as even the fishiest of players are now aware that people make continuation bets lightly. What they fail to realise is that some of us can and do make turn continuation bets too. Again, you will be surprised at the amount of times you get a caller on the flop only for them to check/fold the turn. Obviously, firing a second barrel is dependant, at these stakes, on the board texture but well timed second barrel will almost always result in you scooping the pot and if they have called two streets you can almost guarantee they have you beaten or at least have part of the board.
Simplicity also ties in with aggression in the respect that you should be value betting your hands to maximum. There is little point, against the vast majority of players at the micro-stakes, in getting tricky and trying to induce bluffs by betting small or by checking, instead just bet, bet, bet and let them call you all the way to Value Town. The reason simple is best is that weak players are not observant or skilful enough to deduce what you are trying to do. All they are worried about is pairing their ace by the river. They do not care that you are representing a set, in fact they probably do not care at all about your betting patterns, they have an ace in their hand and it is the nuts!
Value bet all of your hands as much as possible, even hands as weak as top-pair decent kicker because these guys will turn up with second and third pair so often it is laughable. But try not to throw in too many bluffs, mainly because of the reasons stated in the above paragraph, and also because the hands you would probably be bluffing on such as when a possible flush or unlikely straight comes in they will have it there in their hands!
Finally, prepare yourself for some crazy swings and ensure you have an adequate bankroll to sustain them. Yes you should be crushing the games and winning at an alarming rate but there are certainly going to be times when your opponents seem to be catching miracle second pairs and flopping the nuts with all sorts of weird and wonderful hands. I would definitely recommend 30 full buy-ins, even though I have never been more than ten buy-ins down, as having a good cushion behind you helps take some of the mental side of losing away. Happy fishing!