BlackRain79's Top 5 Beginner Mistakes in Micro-Stakes Online Poker

Published on Aug 2014 by Pokerlistings

Nathan “Blackrain79” Williams has played millions of hands of low-stakes online poker and he's here to explain the five most common mistakes he sees beginners making at the micro-stakes. Williams is the author of two very popular poker strategy books but you can get the benefit of his experience right here for free. From stacking off with overpairs against passive players to making poor pre-flop decisions before the flop that come back to haunt you, Williams goes through the most common beginner blunders and how to avoid them. If you play low-stakes online cash games chances are these mistakes are costing you money. Listen to Williams and learn how to plug these leaks and start winning more from your online poker sessions. For more information go to Nathan Williams' website and check out his books Crushing the Micro Stakes and Modern Small Stakes Poker.

Read More

Keep Accurate, Honest Records – How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 9 03:12

Keep Accurate, Honest Records – How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 9

Not keeping a record of your wins and losses at the poker table is one of the biggest ways people suck at poker. In the penultimate episode of our beginner strategy video series How Not to Suck at Poker we teach you the easiest ways to get started tracking your poker results. It's as easy as jotting down a few notes on your phone or in a journal after each session but it's something most poker players fail to do well. Watch the video to find out the most critical information you should be recording, plus a few more detailed statistics you can use to figure out where your profits are coming from and where your losses are greatest. Video Transcript: Most recreational poker players try keep a running tally of how much they’re winning and losing but the truth is, people naturally downplay their losses and only remember their wins. There’s lot of people out there who believe they're breaking even or better. If they kept good records they’d be forced to be honest with themselves and work on improving their game. And if you’ re actually a winning player, you need good records to figure out how much you’re winning and where your profits are coming from. If you’re only playing online poker, tracking your results is really easy. Buy a quality software program like PokerTracker or Hold’em Manager and check out the articles for detailed instructions on how to use it. Live poker results are a lot harder to keep track of and since a lot of players are just taking cash straight out of their bank account to play each session, this is where most rec players get into trouble. The easiest way to get started is to buy a simple journal and write down the most important information about your poker session every time you play.At the very least you should keep track of how much you win and lose each day as well as a running total of your all-time wins or losses. Once you’ve played for a few months you’ll start to get a clear idea of whether you’re winning or losing.

George 'jorj95” Lind's Top 5 Beginner Online Sit-and-Go Mistakes 03:11

George 'jorj95” Lind's Top 5 Beginner Online Sit-and-Go Mistakes

George Lind III is part of Team PokerStars Online and has made a living playing online poker for more than a decade. He plays online as jorj95 and specializes in hyper-turbo sit and gos. In this free poker strategy video George explains the five most common mistakes he sees bad players making everyday in online SNGs. These tips are designed to give beginners a starting point to take their poker games to the next level. After you watch the video, browse the PokerListings strategy section for tons more free poker strategy. Video Transcript: #5 - Playing Too Many Hands in Early Stages: Early in tournaments you really don't want to be three-betting light really at all, especially at the lower stakes because you don't want to end up in a coin-flip situation when you're going to have such better opportunities with premium hands. #4 - Playing Too Passively as the Short Stack: A lot of the time when you're the short stack you want to take some risks because you're just never going to find that good of a spot and if you don't you're just going to blind out of the tournament. Once you get to eight or ten big blinds you start shoving or folding always instead of limping or raising and then folding. #3 - Taking Unnecessary Risks as the Medium Stack: When you're the medium stack your goal is to try to bust the shortstacks, not get into a war with the big stack. As the second-biggest stack you have a lot of equity in the tournament and you don't gain nearly enough to make it worth the risk. #2 - Not Putting On Enough Pressure as the Big Stack: Your goal as the chip leader is to leverage your stack by shoving into your opponents a lot because they can't call with very many hands and you can build your stack without much risk. #1 - Playing Stakes You Can't Beat: I recommend absolutely crushing a stake before trying to move up. It's really important to be cognizant of what level you can beat. Don't let your ego get in the way, play a stake you can beat.

Shut Your Mouth at the Table - How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 8 02:58

Shut Your Mouth at the Table - How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 8

One really common way beginners suck at poker is by inadvertently giving away information about their hands. This beginner poker strategy video will teach you why it's important to keep your mouth shut while you're in a big poker hand to make sure you don't give away important info my mistake. Strong live players are really good at making reads based on how you're acting, and the most dangerous thing you can do is talk too much while you're in a big hand. As your poker game improves you'll learn how to spot tells from your opponents but for now it's more important not to give them away yourself. You need to learn how to act the exact same way whether you have a monster or a stone-cold bluff and the first step is to keep your mouth shut. Good players just want to get you talking so they can gauge your comfort level. If you're relaxed and talkative it's likely you have a strong hand. If you clam up all of a sudden after making a big bet chances are you're bluffing. The best way to protect yourself is by acting the exact same way in every situation. It's really helpful to have a rehearsed routine you can follow to make sure you don't give away any information by mistake. That routine should start by never verbally engaging your opponent, no matter what they ask you. It's perfectly acceptable to stare straight ahead and keep quiet after making a big bet or raise so don't worry about being rude. If you watch poker pros on TV you'll notice a lot of them do the exact same moves every time they bet. Find a position that's comfortable for you and focus on returning to it after every action. Concentrate on breathing evenly and keeping your hands and feet still. In the next episode of How Not to Suck at Poker we'll show you why it's really important to keep detailed records of your wins and losses.

Randy “nanonoko” Lew's Top 5 Tips for Multi-Tabling Online Poker 03:56

Randy “nanonoko” Lew's Top 5 Tips for Multi-Tabling Online Poker

Randy Lew regularly plays 24 tables of online poker simultaneously under the screen-name nanonoko on PokerStars and today he's here to teach you the top five things you need to know to successfully multi-table. Video Transcript: #5 – Tiling Tables is Better than Stacking Tiling is better because you can follow all the action. When you're stack the tables you really can't follow on a street by street basis. Like when you get an action while stacking a table just pops up and you're already on the river. Whereas when you're tiling you can follow the action preflop, flop and post-flop and it's much easier to make a good decision. #4 – Use Hot Keys Hotkeys are useful in poker because it allows you to make decisions really quickly. If you're playing a lot of tables you don't really have time to kind of click the very specific spot where the fold button is. With hotkeys you can hover over the whole table area and click the fold button. The most important hotkeys to have are the default actions. #3 – Minimize Distractions There are times I'm playing and I'm really in zone and I can really feel the flow of the action and play really well. Then all of a sudden my phone lights up and I'm wondering who messaged me or what's going on. It's important not to have any distractions so you can just focus on playing poker. #2 – Use a Heads-Up Display (HUD) I think it's really important to have a HUD when you're multi-tabling because you need to make decisions really quickly and you need to know who the tight and loose players are. If you're not paying attention you won't know this but a HUD can tell you really quickly. #1 – Add Tables Slowly Add tables slowly because if you try to do it overnight you're going to get flustered because you're probably not going to be winning as well. It might be demoralizing if now you're a break-even player or even losing but you're able to play a lot of tables.

Stop Making Huge Bluffs - How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 7 03:35

Stop Making Huge Bluffs - How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 7

In the latest episode of our beginner poker strategy video series How Not to Suck at Poker we show you why most of those huge bluffs you're attempting are costing you tons of money. Despite what a lot of people think, being good at poker isn't about pulling off huge bluffs every other hand. The way to win is by making less mistakes than your opponents, and a lot of the time when beginners are making big bluffs, it's a mistake. There are plenty of opportunities for betting and raising without a hand but most of these spots are about taking advantage of your position, or a big draw, opposed to putting lots of chips at risk with a huge stone-cold bluff. The important thing to remember is that it's better to make lots of simple bluffs that are likely to succeed, than to make one huge bluff for your whole stack where you're basically just praying for a fold. Quick bluffs refer to things like continuation bets and three-betting loose, late-position raisers. They're designed to take advantage of your position and what you know about your opponents, but they're not designed to lead to huge pots or all-ins. These are simple plays that stand a high chance of success. When you're betting and raising with a big draw that hasn't hit yet it's called a semi-bluff. Semi-bluffing is really important because it adds a lot of value to your draws by giving you two ways of winning the pot. Either your opponent folds to your semi-bluff and you win the pot uncontested, or you hit your hand and win a big pot at showdown. Stone-cold bluffs, or naked bluffs, are when you have no clear positional advantage and no hand value whatsoever. People seem to think that stone-cold bluffs are what poker's all about but the truth is, you'd be better off ignoring them completely. Until you're at a level where you can put your opponents on an exact hand and understand how to make them fold, you should focus on playing solid poker and not spewing chips by trying to get fancy.

Have a Poker Bankroll - How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 6 03:16

Have a Poker Bankroll - How Not to Suck at Poker Ep. 6

Not sucking at poker is one of the most important things you have to do if you want to have fun playing poker. In the 6th installment of our landmark poker strategy video series How Not to Suck at Poker we explain one very crucial way you need to not suck, by having a poker bankroll and following proper bankroll management. Most people are extremely attached to money. They work most of their life to have enough of it and losing it can be pretty scary. That's why to be an effective poker player you must have a poker bankroll that's separate from the rest of your regular money. Even the best poker players in the world have losing weeks or even months. The best way to deal with that psychologically is to trust in your ability to win in the long run, and to structure your bankroll and the stakes you play so that you can make it through long stretches of bad luck without going broke. When you have a big enough bankroll you won't be stressed out about a couple losing sessions, and you won't be afraid to pull the trigger on a big bluff, or make a big call when the time is right. The most common guidelines say that in a cash-game you should never put more than 5% of your bankroll in play at a time. That means if you're playing $1/$2 No-Limit at your local casino and you buy in for two hundred dollars, your bankroll should be at least two grand. If you're multi-tabling online you should have even more. For tournaments you should have a bankroll of at least 100 buy-ins. So if you're playing the nightly $10 MTT at your favorite online poker room, you should have at least $1,000 in your account. That probably sounds way too high for recreational players but that just goes to show how much variance there is in tournament poker. These numbers are also designed to make sure you never bust your bankroll. If you're an amateur player who has no problem re-depositing if you go broke, it's definitely okay to take bigger risks with your bankroll.

Nathan Williams Explains How He Got First Poker Bankroll for Free 04:12

Nathan Williams Explains How He Got First Poker Bankroll for Free

Nathan "BlackRain79" Williams has been playing poker for almost a decade and now lives in Thailand supporting himself by playing low-stakes online poker professionally. Williams grew up near Vancouver, Canada, and in this interview explains how he got his start playing poker, and how he grinded up his first online poker bankroll by playing play-money poker on PokerStars. Williams is the author of two poker strategy books and is considered one of the foremost experts in the world on low-stakes online poker. Williams' teachings are very useful for beginner players since they focus on strong fundamentals and what kinds of practical strategies you need to know to win at the micro-stakes cash games on the internet. Check out the interview and head to to buy his books and take your game to the next level.

2014 Battle of Malta Features Parties, Pros and €500k in Prizes 02:01

2014 Battle of Malta Features Parties, Pros and €500k in Prizes

We spoke to poker pros Maria Ho, Kara Scott, Andreas Hoivold, Sofia Lovgren and Gaelle Baumann about what makes the PokerListings Battle of Malta so special. With a €500,000 guaranteed Main Event, new celebrity host and a packed schedule of side events and parties, the Battle of Malta will have tons to offer both on and off the felt. This November the Battle of Malta will set the record for the biggest poker tournament every held in Malta and poker pros from all over the world will be competing. Listen to five hugely successful poker pros explain why you should consider adding the Battle of Malta to your poker vacation schedule. Whether you qualify online or buy in directly for the affordable price of €550, you'll have the chance to play in one of the best-value poker events on the planets. Playing out November 6-9 at the beautiful Portomaso Casino, the 2014 Battle of Malta will be held in a new, bigger tournament room and will feature a brand-new High Roller Event. Go to for more information and to find out how to qualify!

Annette Obrestad's Best Poker Moment: The No-Look Tournament Win 02:06
Annette Obrestad

Annette Obrestad's Best Poker Moment: The No-Look Tournament Win

In 2007 Annette Obrestad won a 180-person online poker tournament without looking at her cards a single time. Obrestad, then just 18 years old, covered the portion of her computer screen that showed her hole cards with a piece of paper and proceeded to crush her way to victory playing aggressive, position-based poker. Obrestad has since won the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for £1 million but says more people know her from winning a $4 online tournament blind than being a WSOP champion. In the latest episode of's new series “Best Poker Moments”, Obrestad reflects on what it was like winning that tournament blind and the reaction she got from poker players and fans. In addition to being an amazing feat, her accomplishment also stands as compelling evidence for poker being a predominantly skill-based game. Listen to Annette Obrestad talk about her best poker moment and keep your eye out for new episodes coming to soon.

Brad Booth's Best Poker Moment: Bluffing Phil Ivey with 4-High 05:09
Best Moments

Brad Booth's Best Poker Moment: Bluffing Phil Ivey with 4-High

In the third season of GSN's High Stakes Poker, Canadian high-stakes phenom “Yukon” Brad Booth pulled off one of the most iconic bluffs in televised poker history against poker legend Phil Ivey. Now, almost six years later, Booth tells us what it was like bluffing hundreds of thousands of dollars against the best poker player in the world. In the first installment of's new poker video series Best Poker Moments, Brad Booth tells the story of traveling to Las Vegas, picking up $1 million in cash and how Phil Ivey reacted when Booth told him what he had after the hand was over and the TV cameras were turned off. Check out the story behind one of the greatest poker hands in history directly from the person who played it and keep an eye out for more Best Poker Moments short documentaries on