The poker term 'mid stakes' refers to games with a larger buy-in than 'low stakes' but a smaller buy-in than 'high stakes'. 

The exact definition of ‘mid stakes’ depends on who we ask and whether we are referring to live or online games. As a rough guide, mid stakes in the online world refers to cash games from $1/$2 up to $3/$6.  $1/$2 online used to be considered ‘small stakes’ but is now considered ‘mid stakes’ by many grinders. 

For live players ‘mid stakes’ refers to cash games from $5/$10 up until $10/$25. The same limits would be considered ‘high stakes’ in the online poker world. 

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

Which Poker Games are Considered Mid Stakes?

It depends whether we are talking about live or online games. Online mid stakes cash games range from $1/$2 to $3/$6. Live mid stakes cash games range from $5/10 to $10/25. The answer might also vary depending on who we ask. For example, some players refer to $1/$2 online games as ‘small stakes’. The definition of ‘mid stakes’ has also changed slightly over time. 

Why Are Online Mid Stakes and Live Mid Stakes Different?

Online ‘mid-stakes’ starts at $1/$2 while live ‘mid-stakes’ starts at $5/$10. It could be to do with the fact that online games are much tougher to beat than live games. As a result, players buy into online games with smaller amounts on average. It’s also worth considering that a $1/$2 online grinder is investing significantly more than a $1/$2 live player because a) the online grinder sees more hands per hour and b) the online grinder might be playing more than one poker game at the same time. 

Can You Make a Living Playing Mid Stakes Poker Games?

Absolutely. In fact, mid-stakes games are potentially overkill for someone just looking to make a basic living. ‘Small stakes’ i.e. ($1/$2 or $2/$5 live) or limits up to nl100 or nl200 online are considered high enough stakes to make a decent living. The ability to make a living for online players also depends on location and average living costs. There are professional poker players playing cash games as low as nl10 or nl25. 

How Tough Are Mid Stakes Poker Games?

Mid stakes games are a noticeable step up from small stakes games (although perhaps not as much of a gap as many players believe). A solid winner at small stakes games stands a good chance at being able to beat mid-stakes games also. A far bigger gap exists between live and online play. A winner at mid stakes live games should not automatically expect to beat online mid stakes games which can be a lot tougher depending on the network. 

Has the Definition of ‘Mid Stakes’ Changed in Poker?

It seems that over time lower and lower limits get classed as ‘mid stakes’. For example, in online play $1/$2 was called ‘small stakes’ for a long period of time. Now an increasing number of players are referring to it as ‘mid stakes’. This might be to do with poker games slowly getting tougher and the average online player buying in for less. Having said this, the terms ‘small stakes’, ‘mid stakes’, and ‘high stakes’ have always had somewhat loose definitions and it really depends on who we ask. 


The poker term 'mid stakes' refers to games with a larger buy-in than 'low stakes' but a smaller buy-in than 'high stakes'. The exact definition depends on who we ask though and also whether we are referring to live or online poker games.

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