Low stakes challenge

This challenge was off topic from another discussion so I have started this new thread to track it separately. @BigDogxxx challenged me to test the differences between low and high stakes ring games on this site by dropping down to the low stakes tables and taking on the regular players there. To paraphrase, his hypothesis is that lower stakes tables are tougher because there are fewer people who have bought chips. My hypothesis is that the higher stakes tables are tougher because they contain mostly people who have beaten the lower levels.

Parameters for this challenge:

  1. I will play games at low stakes level, specifically 10/20, 25/50 and 50/100. I might play at other levels during the challenge period but I will not include them here.
  2. I will track all of my sessions played at these levels and post results here.
  3. We will assume I have a starting bankroll of 100k - this is 10x100BB buy ins at the highest low stakes table.
  4. The challenge will start today and finish on Sunday October 21. This will give a week of play and so hopefully a reasonable sample of hands to even out some of the variance. Conveniently there is a leaderboard running for this period for these stakes. If I do not finish in the top 100 I will post a screenshot of my actual position at the end of the challenge. The leaderboard tracks the number of big blinds won at low stakes tables so it is only counting the results at this level.

I will post comments in this thread with my results and observations of the play as compared to higher stakes on this site. I’m not sure that I have a definitive way to say that one hypothesis or another is correct, but hopefully the experiment and discussion will be interesting.


@love2eattacos cool challenge! Good luck. Would be sick if you can get in like 5k hands+ my guess is that your winrate will be 50BB/100 osro

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May I suggest that there should be a return event to this challenge. Currently, replay are offering 1 million chips for $10 so I propose @BigDogxxx partakes of this offer and uses them as 10 buy-ins of 100,000 to “Acropolis of Athens” ring table and reports how he gets on at a higher buy-in. I’m sure both sets of results would be interesting.

Not exactly accurate and I said you will find as many good players on lower stake tables that have no interest in playing high stakes and they don’t buy chips and don’t have the time to play very day.

It wasn’t actually a challenge either and was a suggestion for you to not get trapped in a box playing the same few people all the time and maybe stop seeing Replay rank on a free chip website as meaningful when it comes to actual skill.

However, your experiment will be interesting and I think you seen from playing on the 10/20 table today that their are people there that can give you a challenge and will happily felt you if you get cocky.

What I would like to see is more of the top players make an effort to come down and play the lower stakes table once in awhile because it might humble you a little and certainly would help the players that are just learning to see how poker is played and you might even learn a thing or two you didn’t know.

See ya on the tables and good luck Tacos!

Day 1 results:
Hands played: 843
Chips won: 54,002
Big blinds won: 699
BB/100: 83
Starting bankroll: 100,000
Ending bankroll: 154,002

Notes from today
I will save observations on player skill until the end of the experiment.

Today I mostly played 50/100 with a little 10/20 mixed in. I am playing 2 tables at a time. @NoBluf I don’t know if I will make it to 5k hands this week but I will try to get close.

In terms of the cards, subjectively I felt like I ran pretty average today overall. I had a spot where I flopped the nut straight, got it in and it held. I also had a couple of spots where I flopped strong hands, got callers and my opponent hit their 3-outer on the river.

The player pool is significantly bigger at this level (I usually play 20k/40k or 10k/20k). There are many more tables running and it’s nice not to have to wait for a seat. I do not know many of the players so I am not trying to optimize seat selection in any way - I just hit the “play now” button from the lobby and let the computer sit me wherever it likes.

Replay’s leaderboard seems to calculate my total big blinds won as slightly higher than I do. I think this is a rounding thing where I am tracking fractional blinds won for each session and they are rounding each session to a whole number of big blinds. I imagine this will even out over a bigger sample.

Favorite chat quote today
Drabble: “aww, and look at these cards. this isn’t a hand, it’s a foot”


I think it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to read more.

Day 2 results:
Hands played: 602
Chips won: 44,526
Big blinds won: 445
BB/100: 74
Starting bankroll: 154,002
Ending bankroll: 198,528

Notes from today
Not sure whether I will be online later so I’ll call this a day for now. If I play more today I’ll add the hands to tomorrow’s.

All 50/100 today. Up 1,144BB overall and I was briefly on the top 100 leaderboard for low stakes. Right now it has me as #118. Perhaps I will break in there tomorrow.

If I was trying to move up through the stakes, at this point I have doubled my original bankroll and would be taking a shot at medium stakes at 100/200.

I seemed to run pretty average again today. Card dead for a good while. Made a couple of flushes on the river; had someone hit their two-outer on the river and felt me. So, poker.

I said I would save comments on player skill, but at this point I will just say holy banana, people it will not kill you to fold preflop sometimes!


Day 3 results:
Hands played: 529
Chips won: 40,454
Big blinds won: 404.5
BB/100: 76.5
Starting bankroll: 198,528
Ending bankroll: 238,982

Notes from today
Got off to a bad start today, losing several buyins early on, but battled back later.

I played all 50/100 again today. Perhaps tomorrow I will play some 10/20 instead and see what’s happening at that level.

The size of the player pool definitely is making a difference to how I am playing. At high stakes I already know most of the players at any given table so will have a reasonable feel of their styles and how I want to approach each one. At low stakes there are so many more players that I am finding I have notes on maybe one player at most at a table when I sit down, so I have to take a more generic approach while I look for more information.

A couple of hands I noted down today:

KK cracked by 83o, so maybe folding preflop isn’t as good an idea as I have been suggesting :smiley:. Probably I should check-fold the river here given that villain seemingly had the “call any” checkbox checked on the turn.

Should I have gotten away from this at some point? Tough to fold at the time but looking back I can’t think of a hand that I beat on the turn beyond a total bluff.


Sounds alot like the point I was making Tacos.

i disagree, i played in my high rank league again last night, same players ,much better competition and took over 2 hours to get to showdown with only 21 peeps. reason… all high caliber players that dont get knocked out easily. all of our games go past 2 hours where normally would take 1 hour with 20 to 40 players in a normal MTT, our games take double that time with 20 to 40 players. just goes to show u that playing similar players but all great skilled players is much more competitive than many different players that are less skilled. ive done both a long time each and thats my conclusion.

@BigDogxxx I’m not sure that getting KK beaten by 83o is going to “humble me” or convince me that the low stakes players are as good as the high stakes players. It’s just poker. Winning or losing one or two big pots is more or less meaningless. It’s how you play over the longer term that makes the difference. 83o is going to beat KK 12% of the time but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to play it.

In terms of the player pool, if your point is just that the players are different and unfamiliar then yes, I obviously agree. But I thought you were trying to convince us that low stakes, low ranked players are at least as good if not better than the high stakes, high ranked players?

I am still saving my comments on player skill until after this experiment is over. For now I will just note that I said I am adjusting my playing style but not that I am having trouble beating the players at this level.


If all those “low rank” players are felting you I highly doubt it is because they just got lucky.

As I said in my OP to you:

Your results are showing that there are many good players that play on the lower stakes that play as well or better than you do and they are felting you.

No where did I say you won’t find an easy table full of fish you can beat and make a big stack lol!

Have a good one and keep posting the honest reviews of your own play please Taco and let’s see how it turns out.

I’m sorry but this is simply not true. My results are showing nothing of the sort.

Sometimes I will get all my chips in and lose. That’s just poker. It’s a game of short term luck, long term skill. That’s why we have a bankroll. If I stack off a hand and I either win or lose that doesn’t tell us anything about the skill level of the players involved. It just tells about the cards that happened to fall on that hand.

Skill level doesn’t show up in one hand, it shows up across many hands. If I was losing buyin after buyin consistently over a few thousand hands then yes, that will say something about my skill level. But that is not what is happening. I am winning far, far more than I am losing.

Are you seriously trying to persuade us that the person who is calling raises preflop with 83o is a skilled player who is beating this game in the long term? That they did not get lucky on the hand that I posted?


Of course it does. You either over estimated your hand or the player fed you false signals and you bit.

How many times do you see top players get felted and have to rebuy especially against “low ranked” players?

Have a good one Tacos!

Let’s take a scenario. You have AA and go all in preflop. I call you with KK. A King comes on the flop and I win with my set. So by your argument, because I have felted you this one time, that tells me I am the better player.

80% of the time, the AA will win over KK. Sometimes KK wins but that does not mean it is a better hand.


It obviously wasn’t one lucky hand you lost and you said “several buyins”.

It is pretty obvious you got on to a table with some of those experienced regular players I told you hang out on the lower stakes tables just waiting for some high ranked player to get cocky so they can take their stack.

To them that means more than the stack and that is the point I was making about there being many players just as good or better than you and the high ranked players that play on those lower stakes tables.

That is enough on that point so let’s see how you do for the rest of the experiment and good luck on the tables Tacos.

Specifically I lost 3 buyins. Here are the hands. I already posted 2 of them. You can decide for yourself if I was unlucky or beaten by a better player.

I get all in with the nuts on the turn. Villain hits their 3-outer on the river to win.

I raise KK large preflop and get called by 83o. Flop contains an 8 and 3 and I lose.

I have AK. Board comes K44A and I stack off with top 2 pair, losing to KK.


Thank you for addressing this specific issue. In determining poker skill, the result of the hand is irrelevant. If a player is stacked 5 or 10 or 20 times in a row but has gotten his chips in well to the good each time, he is the better player. All we can do as players is try to get paid with the best hand or try to win by getting the best hand to fold. Well, then there’s not getting ourselves into difficult spots unnecessarily to begin with but that’s another chapter.

I know for a fact there are solid players at low stakes and some uber-fish in elite stakes. Individuals aside, the average capabilities of the players at any level should increase as you move up. Someone who has the ability to adapt to the players he is facing at the moment is more skilled than someone who cannot. People who have robust enough games to be profitable across a wide spectrum of populations are the most skilled, IMO.

GL with the challenge. Will have some questions for you when you are done and hope you will field them.


Interesting thread. Of course, you already completed the “low stakes challenge” by working your way up the ranks, so it would be a major surprise if you got beat! haha, maybe some high stakes players should come down and ruin your experiment!

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238k not bad tacos, you have made more in a few days then many peoples bank on low. keep up the good work

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