Blackrain79: How to Build a Poker Fortune a Few Cents at a Time

Nathan Williams 2
Blackrain79 has earned more money at NL2 and NL5 than any other player on PokerStars.

Nathan “Blackrain79” Williams has played six million hands of small-stakes No-Limit Hold’em online with some of the highest win-rates in history.

In his new book Crushing the Microstakes Williams shows you exactly how to replicate those results.

This is a book geared towards the beginner, designed to help newbies build a bankroll and a solid understanding of the game while sticking to the lowest stakes.

Surprisingly, it’s a niche that’s been largely ignored in poker publishing. Especially surprising since the micros are home to more players than any other stakes on the Internet.

And while a lot of strategy writers might have played the micros early in their career, they’ve long since moved on to bigger games. Williams makes a living playing low-stakes and has a proven track record crushing the very lowest.

That’s the experience that he brings to bear in this book and because it’s so current, and specifically geared to the madness that is micro-stakes online poker, it stands apart as a unique tool for beginner online players.

From University Grad to Microstakes Master

A university graduate who found poker at the relatively old age of 24, Williams grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada and turned pro in 2007.

He got his first bankroll selling the play chips he had accumulated on Party Poker for $60 and since making the move to PokerStars he’s earned almost $30,000 at NL2 and NL5. That’s 1.5 million big blinds at NL2.

Nathan Williams
Experienced? Williams has played six million hands of online poker.

While that doesn’t represent his total winnings it does put him among the biggest micro-stakes winners ever on PokerStars.

According to Williams he’s the biggest.

“When PTR came out my exploits at the lowest stakes became public knowledge and it became interesting for people to talk about,” Williams told in Vancouver.

“I guess because no one was playing as many hands as I was and getting such high win-rates, people just thought it was crazy,” he said. “At the very lowest stakes I have the most winnings ever on PokerStars, at 2NL and 5NL.”

What to Expect from Crushing the Microstakes

In Crushing the Micros Williams shows you the moves that made him famous, including spazz-shoving all-in with the nuts into miniscule pots, and opening for 10X raises against players who don’t know the difference between 3X and a 300ZX.

Higher-stakes players may scoff at some of the advice, but Williams knows a lot more about the micros today than they do. Heed his wisdom and it will pay dividends. He’s drawing on his experience playing the same games, as well as what he’s learned about teaching as a coach at

Nathan Williams 3
Williams also coaches at

Coaching and writing strategy books, helping fish and newbies to become better players, seems to be at odds with trying to make a living playing poker but Williams maintains that no matter how much material is made available, there will always be players willing to lose their money.

“I realized that the players you make the most from playing lower stakes are just recreational players. They’re not joining training sites or reading forums or buying my book,” he said.

“Sure, the regs in these games will continue to get better by using books like this, but the recreational players really aren’t doing anything to improve, and that’s where most of your money is coming from at the micros.

“And I don’t subscribe to the opinion that anyone can just join a training site or get some coaching and expect to be as good as the best regs. There’s always going to be a pecking order in poker,” he continued.

Studying Crushing the Microstakes will help make sure you don’t get stuck at the bottom.

Click here to read the full interview transcript of our conversation with Nathan "Blackrain79" Williams. For screenshots and more information on Crushing the Micros head over to Blackrain79’s blog

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You need to wait 3 minutes before posting another comment. 2013-09-14 02:35:33

do you want to play microstakes day in

Tino 2012-02-15 09:21:40

Before you pour scorn on this guys achievements, go and take a look at his blog and see his overall HEM stats.
Why move up in stakes and maybe lose money when you are already crushing a limit and doing nicely from it thank you very much?
Now a published author and a small stakes poker coach, I think he has done more for the game of poker than you ever will.

Jeremy 2012-01-20 12:15:11

I bought Crushing the Micros a few days ago, and I am already on page 160. It's an easy read, and you will learn a bunch. It's a great book for beginning players, players who now have to play the micros because of bankroll issues, or players who just struggle in cash games.

I used to be a decent winner at 25NL, but that was several years ago, when the games were much juicier. Since Black Friday, I've had to play much smaller games, and have been struggling to make a profit at 2NL & 5NL. Since reading Nathan's book, my BB/100 ratio has really improved. It's only been 5000 hands or so, but I am feeling more comfortable playing cash games.

Buy the book. It's only $20!

zani 2012-01-19 00:14:10

probably he wanted to achive something no one else has done??


Brian G. 2012-01-18 22:53:32

30k is good money for 2NL. I would kill myself before I got that far.

jj85 2012-01-18 16:46:49

That looks like Vancouver but it couldn't be ... no clear sky in January IMO

No durrrr 2012-01-18 16:44:59


Yeah pretty he doesn't just pay NL5 bro. I'm sure he's made more at NL10, 25, 50, 100 ... DUCY?

JK 2012-01-18 16:17:46

Amazing feat to be fair....but why grind it out there now when you can make a whole lot more with your larger roll.Stupidity at best for a pro!30 K in 5 years for someone turning pro.RETARDED.Although great achievement to begin with.

Hank 2012-01-18 16:00:46

$30k at the micros really is quite amazing. Just the patience to play that many hands with all of those utter donkeys. Well done Nathan.

acesacesaces 2012-01-18 15:26:02

sick sick sick, how can you spend that long at micros!? true love of the game? Although I think most people reading this would be overjoyed if they made like $5k a year playing poker ...


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