Reaching the higher stakes is the dream for both poker enthusiasts and pro-wanna be. The action and the thrills you can get playing larger amount of money, with the plan to win bigger of course, are widely desired, but can you handle the pressure?

Let’s see some advice.

Level up – pre requisite

There are two main factors that impact on your wisely taken decision to level up.

First of all you need to take the step within your bankroll management rules. If you are not confident your bankroll can take a bad shot at an higher stake, just do not do it. If you are following the 50 buy ins rule for the small stakes tournaments, make sure that moving to mid stakes, you still have the 50 buy ins backup.

The second mandatory requisite is that you have beaten the previous stake. Why should you move playing with stronger opponents for higher money, if you cannot beat the smaller stakes? No reasons at all. You are here for the thrills of the game, you are playing to make a living out of it, so play wisely, keep your focus on and never, ever, just gamble.

Level up – be ready to swing

Higher level means stronger opponents and, therefore, variance will hit harder. That for several reasons:

  1. more good aggressive regulars mean that ranges are wide and going all in preflop with TT+/AQ+ is way way different from the QQ+ strategy you have successfully adopted at the smaller stakes. Variance will be bigger because ranges are bigger and because it will be harder to steal blinds or make successful bluffs. The game is just tougher, acknowledge it from the very day one.
  2. less amateur players in percentage given the money at stakes
  3. less tables to choose from: you have to keep a good table selection to avoid playing with strong regulars, but generally there are less tables to it will be a bit harder to spot the fish around among the sharks

Level up – be ready to lose

A stronger level means more swings and it takes some days to adjust. If you cannot take it mentally as an investments, it’s better keep on building your bankroll at lower stakes. You might win straight away, but you also might lose money you are not used to play.

Do not be scared if so happens and just make sure do you not tilt and play to recover the losses: if you have studied enough you will be winning at the new stake, just know it takes some practice.


If it goes good, then you are set to play to a new stakes, but if it’s not going as expected, be ready to level down again and do not feel ashamed about that. The really thing you should be ashamed of would be losing a big cut of your bankroll keeping on playing a game you are not confident with.