Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Phil Galfond, Tom Dwan, and Viktor Blom… these are a few of the players that navigate the waters of high stakes poker. They risk large amounts of money, but occasionally pull down enormous pots. A single hand of high stakes holdem can grow to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, a no limit holdem hand involving Di Dang in 2008 climbed past $700,000. A pot limit Omaha game with Antonius in 2009 saw the pot soar to $1,356,947 (Antonius won).
The winnings from a single high stakes poker hand can fuel months of activity at the tables. Of course, going deep into the hand, and coming up empty might deal the death blow to your bankroll. More than a few players have watched chip stacks that took months to build go up in smoke within minutes.
Whether you’d like to play or simply watch, high stakes online poker games are exciting. We’ll explain how to get started on this page. We’ll also make a few suggestions for protecting your stack, and improving your chances of taking down the pot.
Getting Involved In High Stakes Poker Online
While opinions vary, most players agree that the high stakes poker tables start blinds at $100/$200. That’s the low end. A few sites coordinate games that require $500/$1,000 blinds. Most fall in the $200/$400 and $300/$600 level.
These online poker games are obviously not for the faint of heart. Nerves of steel are essential, especially when you’re trying to bluff an opponent with tens of thousands of dollars at stake. Building those nerves takes experience.
Before jumping onto the tables, realize that a $200/$400 Texas holdem game is essentially the same as a $2/$4 game. You’re simply betting 100 times as much. The question is not whether you know how to play high stakes poker. The question is, how large a loss can your bankroll withstand?
At a minimum, you should be able to take a $5,000 loss without it impacting your game. If you can lose $10,000 on a hand, that’s even better. Otherwise, you’ll end up playing scared, tightening up your game when you should be doing the opposite. For more details on getting started in high stakes online poker games, including tips on bankroll management, click here.
How To Win At High Stakes Poker
There’s no way we can give a complete strategy guide for playing high stakes poker on this page. However, we can make a few helpful suggestions.
- First, learn how to manage your bankroll. This is always important, of course, but even more so when the stakes are so high.
- Second, learn how to play your position at the table. Late is always better than early, but unfortunately you don’t get to choose your position. It rotates with the blinds. Learn how to adjust your betting accordingly. You can read more about playing position in high stakes poker games here.
- Third, learn how to bluff. The tables usually have experienced players, so don’t take this skill for granted. A high-stakes player can often smell a bluff. Do it well, or not at all.
- Fourth, know when to fold. You should not be going into a high percentage of flops. Learn your starting hands, and get a feel for how aggressive your opponents are. Figure out how they work their way to the end. Do they bluff a lot? Are they bullies? This will give you insight into your chances of taking them down.
Top Poker Sites To Play Or Watch High Stakes Poker Games
The number of sites that offer high stakes poker with plenty of traffic is limited. You might find tables at several rooms, but the tables are usually empty (or, nearly so). Both PokerStars and Full Tilt used to be among the best sites to visit for high stakes games. But both have since closed their doors to U.S. players.
The following sites have track records we’ve come to trust over the years. While none of them receive the level of traffic that once visited Stars and Tilt, they are popular among poker players. Given our experience, we strongly recommend them for playing – or even watching – high stakes poker games.
Use caution when approaching the high stakes poker games at the sites above. There are seldom fish at these tables. The players tend to know what they’re doing, which makes watching nearly as much fun as playing.