At the lowest levels of online poker, the recreational players are more in number. This is especially the case when you play in the evenings and on the weekends. The poker sites spend vast amounts of money attracting new blood or at least some of them do and even the big sites on the big networks spend huge amounts of money to bring in fresh customers.
These customers by sheer definition are going to be playing on the play money tables and the micro and low stakes games. If you have a strategic goal to take money out of what is a recreational system then you cannot play any higher than NL50.
It is amazing to think that you can be a professional poker player and not be a great player but it is possible online. So just what types of mistakes do the recreational No-Limit Hold’em players make? Well, although they are numerous, they still fall into several areas. Firstly, most players play tight-aggressive or a combination of tight-aggressive and tight-passive. This means that you can often take the initiative in selected situations by using aggression.
For example, let us say that it has been folded around to the cut-off who makes it 3bb to go in a NL25 ring game. You have the Qc-10c on the button and 3-bet to 8bb. In this instance, you are 3-betting to take control of the hand and not because your hand is better than your opponents. While you risk being 4-bet, if your opponents are biased towards tight play, they will either fold or call and fall into a fit or fold mind-set.
At the higher levels there is simply no way that your opponents will stand for this tactic. You will either be 4-bet or called and then floated on the flop or check-raised and your opponents will be forcing you to have a hand.
However, it is a fact that a solid non-creative game can do very well because what you essentially do is striving to take money out of a system that is largely recreational in nature. This is why in all likelihood you cannot play higher than NL50, because the player pools are smaller and also the average player is much better. The difference between NL50 and NL100 is quite substantial and NL100 is almost like an inflection point where the extra digit injects a whole new level of seriousness.
In some of my recent blog posts I have mentioned how good solid ABC play can still do very well in NLHE (just not at the higher levels). This is essentially for two reasons. The first is that NLHE is still complex enough that many players cannot solve the game even remotely. While the decision trees are nowhere near as complex as other games like chess for example, NLHE has the bet sizing dynamic where many players go wrong. Secondly, unless you are a professional or a semi-professional or even a very serious amateur then poker is a recreational pastime. And by “serious amateur” I am referring to players that are serious about improving and not just play the game every week.