Top 5 High Stakes Poker SitesThursday, 17th August 2017
When the bets are measured in $1000’s, and the World’s greatest poker minds are trading raises and re-raises – poker becomes a compelling spectator sport. High Stakes Poker is the name of a popular television show. If waiting for the next episode to air seems too far away, you can watch pros play high stakes poker online for stakes that seem incredible to the casual player.
Depending on how you define high stakes, many sites offer these games. No-Limit Holdem games with blinds of $25 / $50 and above are available almost everywhere. Outside of a couple of the high traffic poker sites, you are unlikely to find too much action above $5 / $10. While that is plenty high enough for most of us – the real excitement starts above this.
I have outlined the best places to watch high stake poker games online, and the kind of action to expect. After this the important question of whether this is just entertainment or whether you can learn from these pros is discussed. Finally, for the aspiring pros out there, a roadmap for reaching the biggest games online.
High Stakes Poker – Big Buy-In Poker Games At Full Tilt Poker
Full Tilt was once the only place to be to watch high stakes poker games online. This peaked with the ‘Durrrr Challenge’ in which Tom Dwan gave odds of 2/1 against any pro who could beat him heads-up over 100,000 hands. The first match – against Patrick Antonius – made headlines around the world and was analyzed by armies of amateurs on forums after each session. In addition, pros like Gus Hansen, Chris Ferguson and Phil Ivey swapped pots that ran into $100,000’s regularly at Full Tilt.
This was stopped by the 18 month shutdown and legal issues in the US, and for a period high stakes poker was forced to return to the brick and mortar casinos. Today you can find plenty of high stakes action back at Full Tilt, though the ‘nosebleed’ stakes with the big name players are not as common as they once were.
What I like about Full Tilt is that regular players get the opportunity to do battle with the pros. The best chance to do this is to play in one of the regular tournament events known as the ‘Full Tilt Online Poker Series’ or FTOPS. Each game is hosted by at least one pro, and you’ll find plenty of others at the tables too.
High-Stakes Poker – Big Buy-In Poker Games At PokerStars.com
PokerStars have a stable of pro representatives that put the other sites in the shade. Big names like Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso and Bertrand Grospellier rub virtual shoulders with World Series Main Event champions including Chris Moneymaker and Joe Cada.
There is plenty of what I’d call high stakes action, with games with $50 / $100 blinds ($10k buy-ins) running almost around the clock. Occasionally you’ll find even higher games – though the $100,000+ buy-ins which used to be the big attraction at Full Tilt do not run here.
PokerStars also have High Stakes Poker Tournaments – there are regular games with buy-ins of up to $1030 – and when events like the World Championship of Online Poker roll around there are high-roller tournaments with buy-ins of up to $10,300 running. What is more, you can win seats in them by winning your way through a series of satellite qualifier games.
What Can You Learn Watching High Stakes Poker Games?
When you see a showdown in a high stakes poker game, it can be educational to go back through the betting in the hand to try and work out the thought process of the players involved. Many times the history between them and ‘levels of thinking’ which are simply beyond us mere mortals will prevent you understanding the action. However, now and again you’ll see that a smart move was being made and maybe even add a weapon to your own armory.
One thing you will notice is that these games are very aggressive. It always seems to me that the best players use big bets when they are weak to help disguise their action when they do wake up with a hand.
How To Reach The High Stakes?
Every single one of the players you see at the high stakes tables was a novice once. They worked hard on their game and moved up through the levels – sometimes with the help of a big tournament win along the way.
There is nothing to stop you becoming the next big-game player. With smart bankroll management, and the willpower to look at your own game critically and plug any leaks you find, you could be on your way to challenging Tom Dwan one day – or maybe even offering fellow pros a challenge of your own!