3 Minute Read
You pretty much never want to be the first player to limp into the pot.
By limping, you allow others to cheaply see the flop while making it impossible for yourself to take down the pot preflop. In other words, you reduce the number of ways you can win the hand.
In poker, most of the money you make comes from playing against weaker players. And generally speaking, the quickest way to realize if someone is a weaker player is if they limp into the pot before anyone else.
While every limper is different, many of them have similar passive tendencies:
This makes them relatively easy to play against as their hand is “face up” when they show any signs of aggression.
With that in mind, here are 10 tips that will help you crush weak players who limp.
When someone limps in front of you, using large raise sizes will put them in more difficult spots. For example, if you are playing live $1/$2 and you are facing a limp, your raise should be $10. If you are playing online $0.10/$0.25 facing a limp, you should raise to $1.
Every player that limps does so with a different range. Some limp all kinds of junk hands, but others almost only limp hands that are strong enough to call your raise. When a player limps a strong range, you should raise less often because they will rarely fold.
When a player with a shallow stack limps, you are less incentivized to raise with marginal holdings like small pocket pairs.
The reason for this is simple: the value of small pocket pairs comes from hitting a set and winning a big pot. When your opponent has less than 40 big blinds, you won’t win enough when you hit a set to make up for the times you don’t.
When you have aggressive players acting after you, you should raise fewer hands. This is because the more aggressive they are, the more likely they are to 3-bet and (if you don’t have a strong hand) force you out of the pot. By raising stronger hands with an aggressive player left to act, you will be able to better defend against 3-bets.
When you are in the blinds, you should iso-raise less frequently than you should from other positions. The reason for this is because when you are in the blinds, you are always playing out-of-position after the flop.
We’ve all seen it before. A tight player limps from early position and then 3-bets a person who raises them. Generally, people trying this move aren’t sophisticated enough to do this with a balanced range. Their range is generally weighted towards premium holdings, so proceed accordingly and make a lot of tight folds.
When you are playing against weaker players, there is no need to try and balance your strategy by using the same bet sizing with your entire bet range. You should generally try and build a big pot with your strong hands, while trying to win the pot cheaply with your bluffs.
Warning: Don’t do this against observant players, as they may pick up on your tendency and exploit you.
Against players that limp-call a wide range of hands, you should often try going for thin value on the flop and turn. This is because they will be much more likely to call a bet when there are still cards to come that may improve their hand.
Generally, passive players are very willing to call down with marginal hands. Because of this, you should usually give up most of your bluffs on the flop. If you know your opponent is going to call you down lightly, is it worth running a big bluff? Probably not.
As we’ve said earlier, players that limp are generally passive. This means that when they come in for a raise, alarm bells should be sounding in your head. You can usually assume that they have a strong hand, so you should proceed only with strong hands and strong draws that can become the best hand.
Remember: Never be the first player to limp into the pot.
You can usually look at players that limp as your best customers. They often have many leaks in their post-flop strategy, in addition to their preflop strategy. That makes them easy to play against. Just be willing to go thin for value and fold to aggression.
That’s it for today. If you want to read more about this topic, check out How to Maximize Your Winnings vs. Multiple Limpers.
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