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Beating 200NL on PokerStars

Where top money can be made

by Jonathan "Casius14" Askew on May 8, 2011 9:42 AM

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200NL can be a very lucrative level of poker if you are successful in the games.

A good win rate can lead to sums of $50,000+ per year; however the games are far from easy.

Throughout this article we will be looking at what win rate you need at 100NL to move up, bankroll requirements, how your game will need to adjust and the difference between 200NL and 100NL.

What win rate do you need at 100NL?

Before you even consider your venture into 200NL, it’s vital that you have a good poker base behind you.

This includes a positive win rate over a large sample of hands at 100NL. It’s often thought that if you are beating the games for anything around 2-3PTBB+ then you are a steady winner and on the right tracks.

In years gone by you could expect to see players with win rates much higher than that. However, as the games have gotten tougher due to the increase in training sites and the vast amount of poker literature readily available to anyone who wants to improve, a steady decline in win rates have occurred.

Bankroll Requirements for 200NL

NL200 is often seen as the first level where it’s possible to make serious amounts of money over a sustained period of time.

As mentioned, the games are tougher now then they have ever been due the gambling laws in place for US players that made a large chunk of the player pool disappear.

Tougher games will mean it’s harder to win money and more often than not people moving up from 100NL take a few attempts before really cracking 200NL. This means it’s important to have more of a financial cushion behind you due to the fact the inevitable downswings will be more brutal than you’ve previously witnessed.

The requirements for your bankroll rise with the stakes and whereas you may be used to the old 30 buy in rule for a level, you will need to adjust this for 200NL. It’s often considered the minimum to move up permanently will be 50 buy ins plus. This gives you much safer net as wiping a 30 buy in bankroll that you’ve strived to get over the past year at 100NL can be gone in quick sharp fashion.


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How your game will need to adjust

If you’re a good winner in the games at 100NL, then there’s probably not a lot you need change right away at 200NL.

A solid 100NL should be good enough to at worst break even at 200NL and starting out, that’s not a bad thing. It will give you time to get used to the games and become more comfortable with the regulars, different game dynamics and the increased amount of money you will have in front of you.

Obviously once you find yourself becoming ever more comfortable at the limits, then this is the time you may need to start to tweak your game.

The amount of fish to regular’s ratio will decrease and continue to do so throughout every limit, but that’s not to say there aren’t bad regulars or even no fish.

You will need to be much more aware of your opponents and how they play at 200NL. A good way to find leaks in their game is to review your sessions hand histories and take notes on how they have played specific hands. Conversely, look at how you have played a certain hand against them and jot it down so you can mix up your play in the future.

If you get in a position where you’re beating the majority of regulars then this is going to give you a fantastic base to make some serious money at 200NL and look to progress up to 400NL.

A massive mistake people make in the leap from 100NL to 200NL is that they over adjust and give bad players too much credit in their ability.

Probably one of the most important points when moving up is not to over adjust. Start off by playing your own game and go from there. In the current poker climate a player with a good win rate at 100NL is no mug, so back your ability to start, whilst looking for ways in which you can pick up on your opponent’s weaknesses.

The difference between NL100 and NL200

The main difference between the two stakes is the increased aggression in the games. The regulars you face at NL200 will be that bit more competent then that of a 100NL regular and these players will look to put pressure on you at every given opportunity.

Try not to let this overwhelm you however and if you feel uncomfortable at a table with certain players then simply leave and find another table. The bonus of a huge site like PokerStars is that there’s always another table.

The amount of fish will decrease and the amount of regulars will increase. This does not mean the fish aren’t there, they most definitely are, but you will need to be a bit more creative to find them.

The monetary factor is often too much for some people to cope with at 200NL. The fact of losing 5 buy ins, which in poker terms is very little, now equates to $1k and all of sudden loosing 4 figures in a day or even session will become something that is all too common. You MUST look at it as big blinds rather than dollars at the table until you are totally comfortable with loosing that amount of money.



Not all poker rooms are equal and the NL200 regulars know it. There are more poker pros at pokerstars than any other room simply because PokerStars is the online poker room with the best selection of tournaments and active stake levels including NL200.


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