Medium Stakes Basics

The medium stakes, 400NL, 600NL, and 1000NL, are where poker starts to get really serious. There is no longer easy money to be made simply by applying ABC poker techniques. If you want to survive in the medium stakes games you will need to learn how to run with some of the best players on the internet. Years ago it was not too difficult to absolutely crush the 400NL online games, but today it is entirely different. There is money to be made, but it is not easy money. Some skills that you will need to learn are going to be built upon skills that you had previously learned, 4 betting is a good example. If you don’t know how to make a proper 3 bet you will have a difficult time making a good 4 bet. Another good example is triple barreling. Without a thorough understanding of how to double barrel it will be hard to make proper triple barrels. Your poker skills will always build upon themselves, for better or for worse. If you have poor techniques there is a good chance that they will only worsen over time. You must make sure that your game is well refined when you decide to take the leap into the medium stakes arena.

Advanced Bluffing Techniques

Different types of bluffing methods will begin to play an important role at the medium stakes. The triple barrel, a double float, and check bluff raising the river will all start to become commonplace. These moves would be considered extremely advanced for small stakes players, and would probably be unprofitable, but they become necessities at the medium stakes. Each play is going to involve a bit of risk with a bit of reward, as most plays in poker will. The key is to use them at just the right time in just the right way.

The first skill is triple barreling. Triple barreling is one step beyond double barreling. Double barreling is when a player bets the flop and turn with nothing in an attempt to take down the pot with pure aggression, triple barreling is when a player bets the flop, turn, and river with nothing. Triple barreling is harder than double barreling because the river is going to be the toughest time to convince someone to fold. When a player reaches the river they are probably committed to the pot, to one extent or another, so it will inevitably be harder to get them to fold. The other reason that a triple barrel is so tough is because of the money involved. A pot is always going to be at its largest point on the river. When the pot is larger it means that you will have to invest more money when trying to take it away. It is great when you can successfully pull off a triple barrel, but you can experience significant losses when you are wrong.

The second skill that is implemented at the medium stakes games is the double float. Most poker players are familiar with the general concept of floating (calling a bet with nothing in hopes of taking it away later), but there aren’t nearly as many who have experience with the double float. A double float is when a player floats both the flop and the turn. When someone double floats it means that they will only be left with one chance to take down the pot, the river. It will be expensive to double float because of the obvious costs associated with bluffing the river, but it is fantastic if you are able to execute a successful double float.

Check bluff raising the river is the third new concept that begins to really show up at the medium stakes. Small stakes players are probably well versed in the idea of check raising the river for value, but the odds are that they haven’t attempted too many check raises on the river that were bluffs. It is an extremely difficult move to pull off and is very risky. Only the best hand readers will be able to repeatedly implement the river check bluff raise with any amount of success. If you don’t have a very accurate read on your opponent it would be a good idea to abandon the idea altogether as it will more than likely just end up costing you money.

Value Betting

Value betting is a very basic poker skill that players from all limits use in one way or another. The medium stakes players will use the value bet in a way that small stakes or micro stakes will be unfamiliar with. The general idea of a value bet is betting a small amount so that you are able to make some money from your made hands, but medium stakes players are able to expand on this basic concept. When you see a massive over bet in a medium stakes game you will probably assume that the player just has no clue what they are doing, but sometimes this is completely incorrect. Medium stakes players make “true value bets.” A real value bet will extract the most money possible, after all getting bang for your buck is the most basic definition of value. If an over bet is going to get called it would be the proper value bet. There will be situations where medium stakes players make abnormally small value bets as well, this is just another way that they work to extract whatever is possible. Don’t bet according to your hands strength, instead bet according to what your opponent is going to call.