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The Transition to Mid Stakes No-Limit Hold'em - Part Two

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Real strategies for success.

Once you are past the money jitters associated with play at the mid stakes limits and you have adapted to the different game conditions, it is time to actually start making some changes to your game in order to be a more effective poker player.

As was stated in part one, you will notice changes in the aggressiveness of your opponents. This is going to be your first change as well.

Obviously being too aggressive can be a problem. What you are looking to do is tow the line between the perfect amount and too much aggression.

In the mid-stakes games, it will be important to tune your aggression in all positions, but it is critical that you hone your early position and button skills. Isolation bets and raises become very important in late position and on the button.

You need to recognize situations where a well placed bet or raise will limit the field to you and one or two other early position players.

In mid-stakes games it become more possible to steal pots from players with deception or bluffing. One reason for this is because good mid-stakes players will think about their decisions more than low stakes players and because bets are simply more scrutinized in the mid stakes games.

Mid-stakes players are more aware of the disadvantage of being out of position all the way to the river against a very good opponent and usually do not like playing out of postion. It is much less costly to just give up the blind then to embark into a perilous fight.

Like low stakes games though, use your deceptive techniques only when the situation warrants it. Now however, you can use these techniques more often to have a substantial influence on the course of a hand.

Useful mid-stakes techniques

There are many useful strategies and techniques that all of the sudden become applicable in middle limit games. Let us examine a few of these and see how to best work them into an overall strategy:

  • Isolation betting: An isolation bet is an attempt to get heads-up with either a previous raiser or any other player still in the hand.

    It is an important move in mid-stakes games because many of the better hands you will be playing are best against few players and getting heads up will be important.

    Use aggressive isolation bets to eliminate questionable third or fourth players in the hand who are just tagging along or to forcibly eliminate a real contender who can be shown he is behind.

  • Blind stealing: Stealing blinds gets critically important as you go up in limits in NLHE.
    You have to contend with the rake and everything else that cuts into your profit. Obviously the best positions from which to steal the blinds are in late position or on the button.

    The best strategy is to put in a well-timed bet or raise against a player who frequently lays down from the blinds or someone who simply is a poor player from the blinds. Keeping good notes and information on your opponents will help you make these decisions.

    Remember, blind stealing is a critical strategy to good mid-stakes play. If the thought of doing it does not regularly cross your mind, or you do not have a strategy in place to do it, then you are making a big mistake and your poker bankroll will suffer.

If you can take both the conceptual and strategic considerations from the two articles to heart, you should be in an excellent position to become a force at mid-stakes online poker games.

Things are going to be tough at first and you may even find yourself in a position where it is best to return to lower limits for a while. That's okay, and this could happen a few times. If you play with discipline and manage your bankroll properly, you should be able to whether any storm.

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