The High Roller Series is not for the faint hearted. There’s a lot of money on the line, not to mention pride. These events bring the very highest echelons of the poker world together in fierce and skilled competition.
It isn’t going to be an easy ride. This is a playground for the poker elite, so if you want to get involved you had better be ready for mind-boggling situations and frightening poker finesse. Put it this way; you’ll need to know much more than just your poker ABCs to take down the High Rollers.
Of course, bankroll should always be a factor when considering which poker tournaments to play. Anyone who buys in directly for the High Roller Series will need a hefty one.There are also satellites available for each event. You can find them on the “High Roller Series” tab on the PokerStars client.
More than just the money, the High Roller Series is also about the challenge. It’s about taking on the pros and beating them at their own game. If you succeed, you deserve all the credit (and huge prizes) that come your way.
The only question left is, are you ready?
Here are the traits that suggest you have what it takes to move up to the High Rollers.
There are many different “styles” in poker. But more important than developing a “style”, is being able to adapt to opponents and to each situation at the tables. Sometimes, play will dictate that you sit back and keep tight. Sometimes, the situation will demand aggression.
It’s important to be actively looking for spots where you can pull the trigger, whether it be to fire off a well-timed bluff, or find the best line for maximum value. Selective aggression will be crucial to accumulating chips and giving yourself a chance to take down a High Roller event. It’s not about being reckless. It’s about playing optimally and not becoming a victim.
With so much at stake in terms of the buy-in and prize pools, it can be tempted to sit tight and aim for the min-cash. We can’t tell you what to do, but we can say that sharks can sense scared money.
If you’re full of fear at the thought of losing your buy-in, or you struggle to find the raise button when you know the situation is right, then the High Rollers is probably not for you.
Poker is all about levels. When you first start to play the game, you will be functioning on “Level 1”. This involves looking only at the strength of your own hand. As you learn what the game is really about, you will advance to higher levels of thinking.
Level 1 – What cards do I have? On this level of thought, you are only concerned with the cards that you are holding. “I have pocket Tens!”. It’s always a mistake to think only at this level, as your hand’s strength is relative to your opponent’s and play does not only depend on your own cards.
Level 2 – What cards does my opponent have/what is their possible range? On the second level of thinking, you consider your opponent’s possible hand as well as your own. For example, you know that if your opponent has a lot of overpairs in their range, your pocket Tens are no good. Or, you know that if your opponent is likely to be holding an underpair or draw, you can value bet to extract more chips.
Level 3 – What does my opponent think I have? On this level, you take into account that your opponent is also trying to figure out your holding. This is an important step in the thought process, as it brings the possibility of deception into the game. You will begin to balance your ranges and bet sizing, disguise hands, make bluffs that look like value bets, and so on. You can take advantage of the moments when your opponents misread your hand, and make bluffs or value bets to build or take down a pot. This level opens up a world of possibilities.
Level 4 – What does my opponent think that I think they have? In the same way that you are thinking on level 3 and trying to outwit and deceive your opponent, other players are also trying to do the same to you. Experienced players will be thinking about what you think they have (gets confusing now, doesn’t it!), so that they can play their own hand in a certain way. The trick is identifying the players who are thinking in this way, so you can raise the bar and introduce level 4. You can give your opposition false signals about what you think they have, hoping they will act in a certain way and make a mistake. An example of this is letting on to the other player that you think they have the nuts, playing scared to induce them to bluff when you actually have the better hand.
Level 5 – The levels go on and on… Ultimately, poker levels between two extremely talented poker pros could go on forever, with each aiming to give the other the wrong impression about what they have and what they think the other has. Level 4, 5 and beyond tend to translate into rallies of 5-betting, check re-raising and other tricky moves that would blow the mind off less experienced players. The more capable you are of sensing when to make these moves (and actually being able to make them), the more success you are likely to have at the High Rollers.
Emotional control is a huge skill to master in life, and in just about every logical game on the planet.
In poker, emotional control is crucial. Even more so if you plan on swimming in the shark-infested waters of the High Rollers, where the stakes are nosebleed and the players even more brutal
No matter how well timed your aggression, or how successfully you can level with the pros, a single emotional blunder can cost your entire stack. One lapse in attention, a “screw it” moment, or a pointless shove against an aggravating chip leader, and it could be game over. You don’t want to be busting a $5,200 event over a screw it moment.
Emotional control is one of the defining traits of a successful poker player. If you want to move up to the High Rollers, make sure you have a good grip of your emotions when playing at the lower stakes first. It ain’t gonna get easier when you’re playing for your share of over $1.5 million!
The High Roller Series is happening right now, with events running until Monday March 30. Buy-ins range from $215 to $10,500. There’s still change to buy in or satellite to a number of tournaments.
The Main Event kicks off on Sunday March 29, with a $5,200 buy-in and $1.5 million guaranteed!
If you think you’re ready for the challenge, check out the ‘High Roller Series’ tab on the PokerStars client, where you will find the remaining tournaments,including the Main Event, as well as satellites for each game.