Originally Posted by Mr Casson
For those who play for real money, what do you feel the step up between play games and the lowest level of actual money games? I can win easily with play money but I expect it's a lot more serious when cash is at stake, but I suppose if your strategies are sound it shouldn't matter?
Low-level cash games have a reasonable enough standard in my experience. You'd never, for example, call a pre-flop re-raise with AJ in a low-level money game, which you might when playing for free. That's a quick way to lose money.
Low-level tournaments have a horrid standard, but the variance is brutal so you'll end up being sucked out by someone shocking a lot of the time anyway.
Personally I love the $5~ heads-up tournaments. The level's just as low as in the other tournaments but they can't get away with their inherent crapness so easily. There's nowhere to hide when you're playing heads-up, and there's no ultra-methodical strategy that decent-but-inexperienced players can revert to.