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BlackRain79 Start Here
Me 18 tabling on Pokerstars 
(Tiled and stacked 2 deep)


My name is Nathan "BlackRain79" Williams and I have been a pro or semi pro online poker player for over 10 years now.

If you are new to the world of online poker or you are struggling at the micro stakes then this page was created for you! It contains all of the information that you need to quickly start playing with confidence and success.

Success in Poker

Before we start with anything though, let's talk about what success in poker means. Success to me in poker is a long term positive win rate.

What do I mean by long term? Well it depends a little bit on how often you play and how many tables but in general several months at least for most people.

I want you to understand above all that poker is a long term endeavor. There is no quick buck in this game. Success in poker requires a solid work ethic and the commitment to consistently improve. Then, and only then, will the money start to roll in.

In the video below I discuss the 5 biggest keys to success for new and struggling players at the micros. Having played millions of hands at these stakes I can tell you that all of the biggest winners know them.

What Success in Poker is NOT

1) Success in poker does not come overnight.

As I mentioned above, this is a long term game. Poker is not a get rich quick scheme. Those who succeed in this game focus entirely on monthly and yearly progress, not day to day or week to week.

2) Success in poker is not easy.

Those who are the most successful in this game also tend to be the ones who work the hardest. This means studying away from the tables to improve their game. This also means putting in the hours at the tables even when they don't feel like it or things aren't going their way.

3) Success in poker has nothing to do with luck.

Poker is a game of skill in the long run. There is a reason why you see the same faces and names at the top of the leaderboards, money lists and final tables year after year.

It is not luck. It is dedication and a deeper will to win than the next person.

Here's the bottom line:

Please understand that I don't say all of this to scare you. I say all of this to "be real" with you. If you have a deep passion for poker and are willing to put in the effort then believe me, there is big money to be made in this game.

Yes, even in today's supposedly "tough" environment.

Why? Because there is always a pecking order in poker. If you are at the top, and maintain your place there, then playing this game will always be like printing money to you.

BlackRain79 Start Here

How to Crush the Micros

Along with my free poker ebook, I have also written countless strategy articles for this website now based off millions of hands with some of the highest winrates in online poker history at the micros.

If you are just starting out in your poker journey or you are having trouble finding your way at the micros, then I think there is probably something here for you.

I have organized some of my most popular posts below according to skill level and experience. I will be frequently adding to this list in the future so feel free to bookmark this page and come back later.


47 Things That I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Started Playing Poker

The Biggest Key to My Success at the Micros (It Might Shock You)

Why You Need to be More Patient at the Micros in Order to Succeed

The Ultimate Guide to Table Selection for Today's Online Micro Stakes Cash Games

How to Deal With River Suckouts

Can You Win at Online Poker Without Using a HUD?

How to Play Against the Fish Who Doesn't Fold Anything

Moving From NL2 to NL5: What to Expect

The Complete Guide to Bankroll Management at the Micros

The Top 5 Signs of Bad Poker Players

Starting out in Poker (The Right Way)


How to Beat Online Poker in 2017

The Only Checklist You Need to Launch Your Poker Career

The Step by Step Guide to Dominating in 3Bet Pots

Zoom Poker Strategy - The Essential Guide

15 Mental Tips That Will Double Your Results at the Micros

How to Play More Online Poker Tables

When Should You Move Up the Stakes in Poker?

Moving From NL5 to NL10: What to Expect

How to Play From the Blinds

How to Play Draws at the Micro Stakes

The Art of Bluffing at the Micros: When to do it and Why

How to Approach Donk Bets


How to Optimize Your HUD for Today's Micro Stakes Cash Games

The Ultimate 6-Max Poker Strategy Guide

How to be a Poker Shark - Getting Ahead and Winning Big

Fixing Your Red Line: 9 Simple Ways to Increase Your Non-Showdown Winnings

Don't Get Left Behind: How to Outplay the Regs and Win More Pots

How to Effectively Conduct a Poker Session Review

How to Conduct a Poker Database Review

Optimal Bet Sizing Strategies at the Micros

Beating the Regs

Triple Barrel Bluffing

Online Poker Timing Tells and Betting Patterns - How to Read and Exploit Them

Professional Poker Player

10 Years as a Poker Pro: This is What I Have Learned

How to Kick Ass in Poker, Business and Life - 12 Simple Actions Steps

Online Poker Players Living in Thailand

The Top 3 Poker Tools Used by Online Pros

Becoming an Online Professional Poker Player

Good Winrates for Micro and Small Stakes Online Poker Cash Games

How Much Do Poker Players Make?

Interview With 2x Supernova Elite Sit & Go Beast Aaron "abarone68" Barone

Interview With Small Stakes Crusher Kieran "KieHa" Harding

Interview With Rising Poker Talent Willian "Khaldragon" Mates

My Strategy Books

I am also the author of two popular strategy books which focus specifically on micro stakes cash games.
  • Crushing the Microstakes (NL2, NL4 and NL5). To learn more click here.
  • Modern Small Stakes (NL10, NL25 and NL50). To learn more click here.

My Strategy Videos

The NL2 Mastery Course is a 9 part video series where I show you exactly how I created some of the best results in history at these stakes.

This is a great companion to my first book (Crushing the Microstakes) which gives you all of the theory and strategy. The NL2 Mastery Course is about putting that into practice at the tables so you can see how it works yourself

Click here to learn more.

Poker Tools

If you want to know the software tools that I use to crush the micros as well as which educational materials I recommend, you can find it all on my Poker Tools Page.

Poker Sites

If you want to know all the fishy poker sites that I play on to produce some of the highest win rates possible, then check out my Poker Sites Page.

I Appreciate You!

I just want to let you know that I am here for you as a guide, mentor and a friend. I know that the path to success in poker can be a slow, painful and lonely one at times. I am not somebody special, I am not some poker genius. I am just a guy who works hard at this game to get the results that I want.

Make sure you pick up my free poker ebook in order to learn the strategy that I have used to create some of the best results at the lower limits in online poker history.

And lastly, if you have made it this far, come say hi on my Facebook Page. Cheers and all the best at the tables!

Let me know how I can help you improve at the micros in the comments below. What spots are causing you the most trouble?

BlackRain79 Micro Stakes Strategy


  1. Hello Mr. Williams, my name is Alex and I am trying to crush the micros.I come from a poker family with both of my uncles being what one could call semi-professional players. Unlike most young people of today I started playing live poker( with some success nothing special) before playing online which I started doing last Monday with a deposit of $35. I have been running well and I have been able to get to $102, I have read around eighty percent of your articles and I can safely that I have based my style on your articles. Hence, I wanted to ask you knowing that you have been through everything that I am going through a couple of questions. My first question is regarding discipline, I promised my father prior to depositing that I would play only two hours during the night and none whatsoever during the day as I am 19 and i have my most important academic year in front of me but when i get behind, I play up to the early morning and even during the day so I can get ahead so I wanted to ask you how do you structure your poker session. The second question is if you were in my place on which site would you play, I am playing on tilt but the traffic is terrible, on weeknights there are 3 full ring 5nl tables at best and now with their new software one can play a maximum of 6 tables per game. Thank you for making this site and I would love to hear what you would advise me to do.

    1. Hey Alex,

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad my articles helped! I always suggest to people that they put school first. It is awesome that you have that drive to succeed and play a lot but the truth is that most people do not make it in this game. A college degree though is a much more sure thing for your future. Poker will always be there even after you graduate. I would suggest making your school #1 in your life and growing your poker hobby/career on the side.

      As for what poker sites to recommend, this is not something that I do. However, I did write an article recently which talks about everything that I look for when choosing a site:

      Which poker site should you play at?

      I will say though that I don't play very often at Full Tilt and with some of the recent changes that they have been making such as limiting your ability to table select and the number of tables I won't be playing ever again there in all likelihood.

  2. Hey, Nathan I bought your book Modern Small Stakes last year. My harddrive crashed and I lost it.
    I was wondering you would be willing to refresh the download link. Not sure what information I would need to give you to prove I bought it. Also didn't see a contact email so hopefully you see this.

    Thanks, Robert.

    1. Hey Robert,

      Sure no problem, just send me an email at and I will send you a new set of download links.

  3. Hi Nathan,

    Love the guides and blog, quick question regarding the choice of game though.

    6 Max or Full ring, Which do you prefer and why?



    1. Thanks Richard! I honestly play both almost equally now these days for increased table selection. But I will always be a little bit of a full ring nit at heart. I was a huge volume mass multi-tabler for many years and full ring is bettered suited for that.

  4. Hi Nathan, Originally a fellow Canadian and poker player who is moving to Chiang Mai later this year. I have played live MTT no limit for years always a little in the black without really working on my game. Now I want to spend the next couple of years studying hard to improve my game. My dream is to play the WSOP in a couple of years and hold my own. Went to Vegas last year for the first time and won $1650 first day in tournaments. Want to build on that. Can I contact you when I get to Chiang Mai?

    1. Hey Martyn, Nice work and good plan! Yes, just send me an email at

  5. Hi Nathan, Your screen( on above picture) looks perfect to play 9 tab on pokerstars. So what kind of this screen ? It's very good to play poker with them ^^.

    1. This is a Samsung 21" screen. I ordered a few of them with player points right from the Pokerstars VIP store. This was many years ago though.

    2. yeah, thank You very much :)

  6. Hi, Nathan. My name is Taras, I am from Kiev, Ukraine, 32 years old. I play poker for 5 years.

    Question 1:
    What do you think about Dusty Schmidt? He recommends 100 buyins bankroll, not 40. Is this bankroll too big on micros?

    Question 2:
    I play 16 tables on PokerStars nl2 after work. 2-3 hours monday-friday, 5-6 hours saturday-sunday. Is it enough to be a semi-pro, or a pro someday? :) It is really hard to work 8 hours a day and play poker after it. And if you drink vodka and go to parties, it is much harder :) Can a monk-lifestyle be useful to get success in poker? Do you have any bad habits?

    P. S. In Ukraine a $400 month salary is considered good nowadays. So it’s time to play poker, I think. Is it hard to get $400 a month on micros?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Taras,

      1. Dusty Schmidt is somebody who I have looked up to for a long time. He knows what he is talking about. My advice would be 40 as a minimum for most people. But if you want to play with 100, that is fine too. I personally use closer to this amount myself.

      2. I think the best idea for you would be to move up a few levels and then consider going semi-pro or pro. You can make $400 a month at NL2 but it will require a lot of hours of work and leave you with little time for play (vodka and parties :P). But at NL25 for instance, you could make $400 a month in rakeback alone with consistent play.

  7. Hello Nathan! I've played 20,000 NL2 hands and I'm breakeven. Could you analyze my game? I'd send you my PokerTracker4 history and you'd send me back what I have to do to improve my game. Tell me the price as well. Waiting for a reply. Thanks.

  8. Hi!

    Is it usual that web site like 888 ask us for ID card?

    Thank you!

    1. Yes this is pretty usual. This prevents people who are underage from playing for example.

  9. I mean for money transfer or withdraw...Do I trust them for sending image of my driver licence?

    And last question, I want to buy one of your books, which one do you suggest?
    I'm a breakeven player for one year experience...on 6max NL10 and NL30

    Thank you:)

    1. If you are able to beat NL2 or NL5 easily then I would suggest Modern Small Stakes. If not, then Crushing the Microstakes.

  10. I'm playing nl 50
    And breaking even .
    Do you think that the book is suited for
    Me also ?

    1. Hey Pedro,

      If you are playing NL50 then Modern Small Stakes is the best book of mine for that game. I am actually coming out with a new book in a couple of days though as well that you may want to look out for. It covers all small stakes games.

  11. can you help me , and tell me how to withdraw money from poker stars . I live in serbia and skrill not work any more for people who dont live in EU . thanks forward . pantoworld.

    1. Sorry but I can't really help with stuff like that. Pokerstars email support have always been extremely helpful. I would recommend sending them an email and asking them what the withdrawal options are from your country.