Differences between NL4/NL5 and NL10 Fast Forward/Zoom/Snap and how to take a shot!

In late January I sucessfully made the progression from NL4/NL5 
to NL10 (finally!
I failed 3 times in 2016 for different reasons).

In this post I'm going to write down what I noticed is different 
in both limits.
I only have 35k hands on NL10 until today, so I talked to other 
players who recently made the transition on partypoker/bwin from NL4 
to NL10 Fast Forward to have a bigger samplesize and more opinions to 
work with. I hope this Topic will help everyone to be better prepared 
when making the jump to a new, higher limit.
don’t fear the jump

Regs try to trap more with monsters

This is the biggest change I have experienced while moving up.
Regs start to hide their monsters better. 
When a Reg on NL4 hit his Set on a dry Flop he would most of the times
raise you up right on the Flop. 
At NL10 they hide it better and will just keep calling you down and 
only raise you up on the later Streets. 
While on NL4 it was very easy to lay down an overpair it is way 
harder(and more costly) to figure out where you stand at NL10. 
Potcontrol gets more and more important!

As Daniel Negreanu already wrote:

"The truly great players recognize the problem with playing big pairs 
like A-A, K-K, and Q-Q and make the necessary adjustments. Rather than 
over value their big pairs, they proceed cautiously in the face of 
danger." - Hold'em Wisdom for all Players

Light-3-Bet and Light-4-Bet (Preflop)

On NL4 most of the Regs will hold a Monster when they 3-Bet (i.o. AK 
or Q-Q+) and would only 4-Bet the Preflop Nuts (K-K and A-A). 
While it is boring as f**k to play against them you still can easily 
abuse that (by folding! lol).
There are not many bluffs in their ranges (if any!).
That changes drastically on NL10.
You have alot of Regs who 3-bet(8-12%) and even 4-bet (4-6%) you light! 
After playing on NL10 for a few thousand hands it finally felt like I'm
 playing "real Poker" for the first time in quite some time. Finally I 
had to filter out for myself for every individual player what the best
line against them would be.
You can win alot of money if you know your Oponnent and how to abuse 
them. They look good on the first glimpse, but when u work with 
positional stats you can find out their tendencies. 
Alot of them love to 3-bet light from the button, others love to 3-bet
from the blinds vs the button. 
Light 4-bets in the right spots can be very very profitable! 

On the other hand they have 4-Bet- and even 5-Bet-Bluffs (All-In most 
of the time) in their ranges. Easy to say against some of them we can 
narrow down our All-In calling range. May the Snapcall be with you!
Phil Helmuth Trademark All-In Snapcall

Regs are more balanced

In General the Regs on NL10 are more balanced. It is harder to find 
leaks. Yet we are still on the bottom of the Micros and pretty much
everyone should still have 
(huge) leaks (so do we), we just have to dig a little deeper. 
While it was easily profitable on NL4 to adjust to a few players and 
play "against" them on NL10 it will be harder. Players will adjust 
towards you aswell (which was rare on NL4).
"vs Hero stats" get more important. Autopilot won't work as well as it 
did on NL4.

NL10 is more agressive

NL10 Reg!
It's common sense that the higher you play the more agressive the
games will be. Agression means money in poker (if done well). Jumping 
from NL4 to NL10 you will notice that increasement of agression.

Fish are Fish!

Recreational players are in it for the fun!
On NL10 are not as many fish as there are on NL4. (because it is the 
lowest limit) But there are still plenty.
They don't want to improve and only play the game for fun and the 
adrenaline! They just want to make their herocalls or bluff you out 
of a huge pot.  Winrates don't matter to them. Just let them win (suck 
out on you) from time to time and they will come back and deliver new 
money to the Ecosystem of Poker.


Smaller Playerpool

The Playerpool is smaller by around 20-30%. During Prime-Time 
there's no major difference. 
But at certain "Off-Times" it can get tricky. There are positive 
things and negative things.

-You gather hands on the individual Players quicker
-Fish to Reg ratio increases (Some Regs only play when ther are 50+ 
 players in pool)
-Tables start with only 5 or less players (which is not necessarly bad)
-Hands per hour go down drastically (from ~1200 to <600 on 4 tables)

Your Winrate will be smaller

The Increasment of general skill will lead to us having lower 
expected Winrates.
The lower Winrate will result in longer Downswings so 
Bankrollmanagement is key!
From my experience the Winrate will go down 25-50%.
Still, if you are comfortably beating NL4 there is no reason why 
you shouldn't beat NL10, too!

How to take a shot!

The most important thing to have in mind is, it's not a big deal 
if you fail your shots at a higher limit. Everyone failed (multiple 
times) when trying to climb the ladder. Just stick to your plan, 
rebuild your Bankroll and try again.

Set out a fix amount of money which should not be more than 33% of your
bankroll. If you have lost it just go back to your old limit.

It's very helpful if you play less tables to acclimate to the new limit.
Get used to the playerpool and the tendencies first without taking the 
risk to spew money to fast.

When you just went up a limit it also should be one of your daily 
habits to review the biggest hands (winners and lossers) of the day 
before. Also look for some mid sized hands you won if you left Value 
at the table.
Reviews are very very important when you've just joined a new 

Stay calm and may the Odds be ever in your favor!


5 thoughts on “Differences between NL4/NL5 and NL10 Fast Forward/Zoom/Snap and how to take a shot!

  1. Heya, i like your post. It is really informative. Im from czech and im currently waiting for poker parties to get licensed here. PS should open pretty soon. Im wondering if you can write article about mind leaks. I would love to read about it from your perspective and experience. As it is my main reason, why i am only beating the lowest stakes. 😦 keep up the great work! 🙂 good luck


  2. hey,
    thank you very much for your kind words. I hope CZE will sort things out fast!
    The Mental part sometimes strikes on me, too. At my peak times I always think i got rid of it only to find out a few days later that it can still effect me hard. So i defently should spend some time on reasearching the why and how to fix it. I will gladly transform my gathered knowledge into a post than 🙂


  3. Yeah I have the same experience. For the few days I can manage even bad losses, but suddenly I get to the tipping point (might be to run Aces to Kings or lower pair and lose for the fourth or fifth time that day) and I start to rage. Only good thing is that I can see that Im tilting and I can go away from the tables in the instant. But I have hard time coming back next day. I feel like Variance is the biggest enemy for me, I have to work on myself.

    BTW I have Mental game of poker from Jared Tendler, if want it I can send it to you, it is really great read if you want to work on your “mental game”


  4. hey, i have mental game of poker but I am not yet through with it. I have so much material to learn right now so it might still have to wait a little bit longer until tilt bothers me to a great extend again 😀


  5. Its really worth it to go through when you will have to do it properly. I discover many flaws of mine which I cannot understand before. 🙂 Well, pokestars just announced they are starting here from Thursday, so I will come to micros again. Hopefully 888 and bwin will get the license aswell. 🙂

    Anyway I wish you good luck and Im looking forward to next blog post. Do you have a twitter btw?


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