Having put in a fair amount of volume at Micros over the last 5 months since Lock left the Merge network to create the Revolution gaming network, I just wanted to jot down a few quick thoughts which might be helpful to high volume micro stakes grinders about the quality of the games on the different networks. I have attached my results at the three main networks I have played at-Poker Stars (25 NL), Merge (25 NL), and Lock Poker (20 NL).
Of the three, I have found the games on Lock Poker to be by far the softest.
It really helps that they divide the tables into Shallow and 100 BB tables, since that helps you avoid many of the short stackers and will increase your win rate. The biggest drawback is the terrible software, but that helps in a way too since I'm guessing that it is a big turn off to competent multi tablers, and thus adds to the softness of the games overall. Although the software will probably annoy a new user a bit at first, after awhile you get used to it and it is only slightly annoying. Another big plus of Lock Poker is that they are just about the only site to use the dealt method of ******** these days, which really helps tighter players. It will probably increase your ******** in the 25-30% range. That coupled with the fact that you can get very good value through Leggo Poker VIP (hit up Matt Young who is known as Probability on Leggo Poker) makes Lock Poker pretty attractive right now in my opinion. Usually, good ******** is a bit of a chimera as it attracts tougher regulars to the tables, but in the present environment that doesn't seem to be the case.
I also played quite a bit at Poker Stars in my recent trip to Canada.
The games aren't as soft as they are on Lock in my opinion, but they are still pretty good at 25 NL and below. Obviously, with Stars you have the advantages of really nice software, great game selection since there are so many tables, fast cashouts, and your money is pretty much as secure as online poker money can be. On the downside, the ******** is a little weaker than it would be at some other sites since at 25 NL and below you are really not going to put in enough volume to get to the super high Supernova Elite ******** levels. Still, I really like Stars and definitely plan to play there quite a bit on my next trip abroad, wherever that ends up being to.
Finally, I've done some grinding on the Merge network.
This site has the toughest Micro stakes games of the three mentioned in this blog in my opinion. One of the reasons for this is that this site is presently infested by alot of short stackers playing shove or fold poker. While I have nothing against those players, as I think people have the right to play their money any way they want, I do think it will cut into a 100 BB player's win rate a little bit. It also seems to me that the regs at this site are pretty aggressive in terms of 3 betting and 4 betting preflop, which also makes the games a little tougher. On the plus side, I do like this site's software the best among U.S. facing sites, and you can get quite good ******** deals through Leggo Poker VIP on this site as well.
If you do choose to try a U.S. facing site (both Lock and Merge are U.S. facing), obviously you don't want to keep too much money on there in the present environment. Even for international players, cashouts are running over 2 weeks to process to your ewallet in many cases, and realisticaly we all have to assume there is some chance we are going to lose whatever money we put on a U.S. facing site due to the site going bankrupt. Therefore, I recommend keeping no more than 40 buyins for whatever stake you play on a U.S. facing site, and when you reach 40 buyins, cashing out down to 20 buyins. If you follow this formula, you will probably never build up to more than 60 or 70 buyins even while you are waiting for your cashouts. If you play U.S. facing sites, I think it is a good idea to diversify your play across several sites so that if one goes bankrupt you don't lose your entire bankroll. I learned this lesson the hardway on Black Friday when I got back the $100 I had on Poker Stars with no problems, but I have yet to see a nickel of the 15K I had on Full Tilt!