Card rooms tend to consider games that are $50/$100 or more to be a High Stakes game. However to individual poker players a High Stakes game could be higher stakes or even lower stakes than the card room's definition. Basically a High Stakes poker game is where a lot of money is being won and lost. Normally people do not just start out at the higher limits. This is not to say that it never happens. Once in a while somebody that is extremely wealthy, and likes poker, will walk in to a casino and sit in the biggest game available. They do this because they have so much money and do not want to fool around in any game but the biggest. Amounts of money that are more than most people make in 10 years would seem inconsequential to someone like this. These people are called "Fish" and they usually lose a lot of money. These fish do not come along very often but when they do it is a bonanza for the other high stakes poker players that are lucky enough to be in the game.How is High Stakes Poker Different from Smaller Stakes Games?
No matter how much money you have it is not a good idea to start out playing high stakes poker because the other players in the get will eat you alive. You have to assume that The caliber of players gets much stronger every time that you move up in stakes. The best idea is to start out playing at the lowest level and move up in level only when you have been able to consistently beat the previous level that you were playing. You will find that the lowest levels have a lot of loose players chasing with their hands through all of the streets. As you move up to medium stake levels you will tend to find a much tighter aggressive player. And even though it seems odd at first look, you will find that high stakes games are much more aggressive.
Famous High Stakes Poker Players
Poker has been popular long enough to have generation gaps between poker superstar professionals. A classic example of this is Doyle Brunson, the author of Super System, and his son Todd Brunson. There also has developed a generation of poker celebrities that cut their teeth by multi-table Internet play.There has also been a lot of cross over. Old professionals started playing on the Internet and the young Internet guns are invading the brick and mortar card rooms and tournaments. A player, like Phil Helmuth, seems to always be in the money at tournaments, even though their style is definitely "Old School". Phil prides himself on being able to read his opponents and being able to, as he puts it, "Dodge Bullets". Even though he whines and complains an awful lot, he is after all called "The Poker Brat", he has proven that he has the discipline to go deep in to tournaments and holds the record for the most World Series of Poker Bracelets and WSOP Cashes.
The Key Ingredients in Successfully Playing High Stakes Poker
1. You have worked your way up through the limits, beating each limit before moving up, and have developed your skills as a poker player. While moving up in the limits you must be disciplined enough to move back down in level if you lose the first few times that you move up to a new level.
2. You understand about "Variance" and do not let it interfere with how you play the game. To understand what variance is, try thinking of flipping a coin. There are only 2 possible outcomes, heads or tails. With only 2 possible outcomes the odds would be 50 - 50 that the result of a coin flip would be heads or tails. However it is likely that if you flip the coin 10 times it will not come out exactly even. This is because odds only run true over a longer period of time. If you flipped the coin 10 times and came up with 7 heads and 3 tails you would be experiencing variance and over a longer time the percentages should revert to true. If you play high stakes poker you need to understand that if you consistently make decisions where the odds are in your favor, you will come out a winner over time. To do this you must have a good bankroll management system.
3. You have a good bankroll management system. Nothing is more important that having a good system for handling your poker bankroll.
4. You pay attention while playing high stakes poker and have a good memory that allows you to use the information that you have accumulated as you play. You make decisions based upon all the information in an intellectual, and not emotional, manner. When you make decisions based on emotions you have gone on "Tilt". Don't worry. We all do it from time to time. The important thing is to recognize when you are on tilt, and what seems to make you go on tilt, as soon as possible so you don't have to lose any more than necessary.
5. You have put in the effort to read strategy books and stay on top of new developments on high stakes poker at sites like www.highstakespoker.org. Why try to re-invent the wheel when there is such a wealth of literature on the subject. High Stakes Ring Games and High Stakes Tournaments are different. Although the same mathematics applies to poker regardless of the format, there is one major difference between the 2. In a tournament a player's plan is to win the tournament and this is often done by not losing your stack and staying in the tournament. In Cash, or "Ring", games the plan would be to leave with more money than you started out with. In a ring game you can decide to leave the game at any point that you are ahead and you do not have to be the last player in the game to win.
Media attention has been primarily responsible for the growth of poker, along with the advent of online poker sites. Many amateur players will watch professional poker players on television and get the wrong idea about the game. Whether the television is showing tournament coverage, like the World Series of Poker, or cash games, like High Stakes Poker, the media edits out all of the less interesting hands and only shows the comparatively few hands that they believe will be more interesting. Playing high stakes, or any kind, of poker successfully requires a lot of patience and folding.
Differences Between Online and Brick & Mortar Games
There are basically 2 major differences between playing high stakes poker on the Internet and playing at a casino in Las Vegas. They are:
1. Playing on the Internet allows you to select from a wider range of games and allows you to play multiple tables at the same time. The big advantage of being able to play multiple tables is that you are playing more hands and being presented with more opportunities. The benefit in this is that you are able to be more selective about the hands that you choose to get your chips in with.
2. Playing on the Internet you can pick up tells from another player's betting patterns. You can still do this while playing high stakes poker live at a casino. In live games you also have the opportunity to pick up physical tells, such as tone of voice, sighing, fumbling with chips, and so on.
Mike Caro, who wrote part of Doyle's Super System, is an expert on physical tells and wrote a number of books on his own about math and tells. In addition to a "Tell", which is either physical or a pattern of betting, there is a "Read". A read is when you integrate the physical tells, the pattern of betting tells, chip stacks, and cards, to come up with a read on what the other player has. Often times it is difficult to come up with a read, and in these cases, most of the top high stakes poker players of today integrate all the information and put another player on a "Range", which is a range of possible hands that another player maybe holding.
The year that Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker, the poker industry went through the roof. Here was a guy that won his $10,000 entry through a satellite at an Internet poker site and winning $2,500,000 in the main event of the WSOP. There were 839 entrants in the main event the year that Chris Moneymaker won the main event. Because of the "Moneymaker Effect", the following year 2,576 people were entered in to the WSOP main event. The number of WSOP main event entrants exploded and peaked the year that Peter Eastgate won the main event that boasted 6,844 $10,000 entries. Many of those players won their $10,000 entry fee through an online poker site where they learned the art of the game of High Stakes Poker.