Most poker players whether amateur or professional are always looking to move up in stakes as they want to increase their winnings. Most players make the decision to suddenly move up in stakes without realizing that it could do them more harm than good.
Deciding to move to the next level in poker is not as easy as it seems. Being a winning player in the games that you currently play does not always guarantee success when you climb up in stakes. Some end up with a drained bankroll, while others are forced to restart their career from the bottom. It is not wrong to want to play at a higher level but it must be coupled with a clear plan.
How do you know if you are ready to take your game to the next level? We have list out four key questions that you need to answer that will give you clarity whether you should move up a level or stay where you are.
Am I Doing Great In My Current Game? 
You can answer this question by keeping a clear record of your play. This is the basic requirement when moving up the stakes – you need to make sure you are winning in your current games.
Record your wins and losses, your impressive victories and terrible sessions. See if you are able to win in more than 500 hours of play (if you are playing live), or 15,000 hands (if you are an online player). Carefully assess your performance in the games that you currently play. If you think you have already hit the ideal record, then proceed to question number 2 below.
Will I Be More Profitable In The Next Level?
When you are contemplating on playing the bigger games, remember that the competition will be tougher. So if you’re winning the $1/$2 games with ease, things might be different in the $2/$5 sessions. Always consider the skill level of your potential opponents. Test the waters first. We can feel proud about being able to compete with the better players, but it will never be enough to compensate potential huge losses if you do not act with caution.
So if you feel you are better off staying in your current game, then you might be right!
Can My Bankroll Sustain Variance?
Bankroll requirements in the bigger games depend on a lot of factors, including what type of player you are and the variance involved. As a rule of thumb, a player must have at least 600 big blinds to play in the next-level games, but this only applies if you have a stable win rate. But if you’re always stuck on the losing end, your bankroll will deplete before you know it.
So before deciding to increase the stakes, make sure you have funds in reserve for variance and potential downswings. If you’re a loose-aggressive player, you need to prepare more as players like you are prone to greater variance, compared to the tight, conservative players.
Also, games don’t always have the same level of volatility, and as the stakes go up, it becomes more difficult to top up a bankroll, especially if you’re a live player. You can’t always easily replenish the $5,000 stack in the bigger games, compared with the $300 in your previous stake level.
Taking risks is always part of the game.  You can explore and play huge once in a while for the sake of experience, but make sure you can deal with the consequences.
Will I Be Willing To Start Over Again?
So assuming things don’t work in the higher-level games, will you be able to move back down and start low? Some players can’t do this because of pride, but always remember that the goal is stay longer in the game, and no amount of pride will let you do that.
If restarting from the bottom would mean saving your career, then do it. It’s never a sign of weakness. It simply shows that you know your place as a player and you’re willing to accept defeat. You have to learn how to leave a game if you think your skills are still not on a par with competition.

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