Coming in at a whopping 251 pages, Crushing the Microstakes is a fairly impressive eBook. Williams, who claims to be the winningest player at the microstakes, walks beginning players through playing NLHE at the $2 and $5 buy-in levels.
While you probably won’t get rich playing at these stakes, Crushing the Microstakes is perfect for players just getting started. Most books out there teach you how to play against low or mid stakes players which is not exactly the kind of action you see at these micro stakes. In fact, Williams admits that some of his advice at $2 NL might sound crazy to people who player higher stakes but insists that the strategy works against your typical $2 NL players.
Another thing that makes Crushing the Microstakes unique in the poker eBook market is that Williams also walks you through many of the tools you can use like Hold’em Manager (HEM), PokerStove, automation scripts, etc. Basically everything you need to know to multi-table the micro stakes and crush them.
One of the things I particularly liked about Williams’ style is that he recognizes just how bad your opponents are likely to be at these levels. Most poker books assume you have better opponents so they don’t address the fact that pre-flop raises just aren’t going to drive out some players. Williams, on the other hand, counts on it. He suggests that when you pick up hands like AA and KK you can slip in 10BB raises because once a fish has decided he’s going to play a hand, anything less than an all-in shove is not going to dissuade him from calling your raise.
That’s one of the real strengths of this book. Williams understands these micro-stakes players. He gets how they think about hands and Crushing the Microstakes is all about exploiting their fishy tendencies.
Of course, some of those same moves will get you slaughtered at $100NL but this book isn’t about $100NL and Williams readily admits that. His book is designed to take you from knowing very little about online poker to being able to crush the smallest games.
Another example of the difference between micro and higher stakes that is worth talking about is bluffing. The percentage of players who will call you down on the river with ace high or an under-pair to the board is much, much higher in the micros than it is at even low-stakes. The value of bluffing goes way down if you’re up against a guy who has called down 99 out of the last 100 river bets.
This is one of the reasons I like this book. How many times have you heard someone complain that they want to move up in limits where people respect their raises? Well, if you can’t beat the total fish you don’t understand the game well enough to beat people who do respect raises.
Poker is a game of adjusting to your opponent. If you’re playing against a guy who has never met two cards that he wouldn’t see a flop with or will call a big river bet just to see whether you’re bluffing, and you don’t adjust your game to exploit that, you really aren’t a very good poker player to begin with.
You can bluff into this guy all night long and complain about how everyone on 2+2 agrees with your line or pull out PokerStove and empirically demonstrate that you made the mathematically correct move, but you’re still going to end up losing pots to this guy. Not because he’s a better player than you, but because you’re employing an ineffective strategy against that type of opponent.
I give Crushing the Microstakes a big thumbs-up for players who are just starting out and even for players who haven’t yet figure out that there isn’t a single perfect strategy in poker. There are a lot of little snippets here and there that I’ve learned (usually the hard way) over the years of playing but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone actually put down on paper before.