Everything You Need To Know About High-Stakes Poker

min read
A poker dealer touches a playing card on a poker table.
BetMGM May 22, 2023, 9:23 PM

People tend to equate poker with high-stakes games, whether it’s depicted in a James Bond movie or associated with famous poker players like Daniel Negreanu and Justin Bonomo. The outcome of playing high-stakes poker can be quite exhilarating.

Take the World Series of Poker, for example, where even the blinds can accumulate to thousands of dollars and millions of dollars are often at stake per game, making each round as tense as the last.

Traditionally played in casinos and by the game’s elite, the introduction of online poker has allowed people from each corner of the globe to enter the high-stakes conversation from the comfort of their homes. We discuss everything you need to know about high-stakes poker.

What Is High-Stakes Poker?

The only difference between high- and low-stake poker is the amount of money involved — the rules remain the same. Players in high-stakes poker games usually put up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars as their initial buy-in. During the game, bets and raises can also be equally significant. This high-risk, high-reward nature has produced some jaw-dropping moments. Some of these include Patrick Antonius winning nearly $2 million in a single round and Andrew Robl’s $9 million winning game.

One of the most well-known high-stakes poker games is the Big Game, which is a cash game played regularly in Bobby’s Room at the renowned Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. Typically, the blinds in this game are set at around $800/$1,600, but they have been known to go as high as $4,000/$8,000. The minimum buy-in for this game is $20,000, but most players tend to buy in for around $200,000 – $300,000. The poker variant played in the Big Game is rotated every few hands, with games including no-limit Texas Hold’em, Razz and Omaha.

The Risk and Rewards of Playing High-Stakes Poker

When the poker stakes are high, there isn’t much room for error. You can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, you can win unfathomable amounts of money. For beginners, it’s best to leave high-stakes games to the professionals.

From an outsider’s perspective, high-stakes games make for excellent viewing. Played by the world’s best, the amount of money being bet in each round is extraordinary. Combine this with expert play and intricate strategies and you have a visual feast.

So, on the one hand, the potential rewards for winning high stakes can be enormous, with players potentially winning hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in a single session. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Often, players are putting up large sums of their own money, so there is always a chance that they’ll lose it all in a single hand (or game.)

High-Stakes Poker Tips

If you’re considering entering the high-stakes arena, you’ll need to be capable and equipped with an arsenal of skills and strategies. If you’re on a hot streak and you’ve won a few games, then you may be ready to enter the conversation. However, if you’re a beginner, it’s best to stay far away.

Why? Because high poker stakes mean coming up against the best of the best. A novice player in this scenario is like an infant running into battle — they aren’t going to stand a chance.

Once you’re ready, there are a few things worth knowing before sitting down at the table. Bankroll management should be your top priority. In a game where small blinds are worth thousands, it’s easy to let your bankroll slip away. To stand a chance, you must enter the game having staked tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Without substantial financial backing, your game can unravel within the first hour.

However, it’s important not to become fixated on the money. Remember, even if you lose big, there’s still a chance to make up for it. The keys are patience and knowing that another chance will come. If you’ve experienced a loss and your mind becomes money-orientated, you start to force bets, make out-of-character decisions and tilt.

Additionally, practice makes perfect, making low-stakes games the perfect training ground. The more you play, the better your game becomes — it’s that simple. Try to target your weaknesses so you can improve your overall game. And if playing isn’t enough, there’s an endless array of books, blogs, videos and courses to choose from.

Micro-Stakes Poker Tips

For beginners, micro-stakes poker offers an accessible and thrilling entry point into the world of poker. Whether you’re a novice player or seeking to improve your skills, engaging in micro-stakes games can help break out of the micro-stakes and pave the way for higher rewards. In micro-stakes poker, players are exposed to a diverse range of opponents, each with their unique playing styles and strategies. By participating in these games, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of the game’s dynamics, refine their decision-making abilities and learn how to adapt to different playing environments.

To successfully navigate micro-stakes poker, it’s essential to approach the game with a strategic mindset. So, think hand rankings, positional play and pot odds. Next, focus on bankroll management to ensure longevity in the game and minimize the risk of substantial losses. This involves setting specific limits for buy-ins and being mindful of table selection.

Networking in Poker

Socializing and mingling and at the core of poker. For decades it’s become a place for men and women to unwind, play and talk for hours. And online poker is no exception. From Discord and Reddit to the in-game chat box, there are numerous ways to network with players.

Moreover, online casino sites such as BetMGM allow you to play with friends, putting more of an emphasis on networking in the poker sphere. Online poker forums and communities provide an excellent platform to connect with poker enthusiasts worldwide. You can share your personal experiences, seek advice and play together.

Test Your Skills at BetMGM

Want to play poker online? With the option of low- and high-stake games — available 24/7 — there’s always a table for everyone, regardless of your skill level. Register, play with friends, enjoy poker tournaments and explore our extensive array of poker variations — from Texas Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud to Omaha.

Outside of poker, BetMGM gives you access to an endless array of online casino games. From themed slots and bingo to roulette and blackjack, play from anywhere and anytime.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.