In a situation where you have a small pocket pair or suited connectors like 7-8 or 9-10 and you’re facing a few limps in front of you, you might limp along from a late position and try to get a good flop. This is especially applicable in cash games where you’re usually quite deep, playing loose opponents with high VPIP and there is plenty to fight for if you do get what you’re after.
Of course, before deciding to limp, you need to be sure player(s) behind you aren’t likely to raise. On a typically passive table, you’ll be able to get away with more limping so take advantage of this on occasion. You don’t have to punish the limpers all the time; occasionally you can join them as well.
Seize Control of Many Small Pots
Players who limp a lot tend to do so with all sorts of hands. They will still raise their good hands so you can be quite certain that most of the time when you have a couple of serial limpers in front of you, they don’t have the goods.
This is the scenario where you’ll want to seize control of the pot with many of your strong hands when sitting in late position, especially on the button. By raising, you’ll get rid of the blinds and also put limpers to the test, asking them to commit more chips to the put than they had initially hoped.
In live or very passive online games, where limp pots are much more common, don’t be afraid to go a bit crazy with your isolation raise sizes.
If you see they’re willing to snap call 5x-6x raises, you can start testing waters with 7x+ and see how they react. You always want them to put in as much money as possible in the pot while behind.
PokerSnowie suggests a fairly wide raising range against limpers when you’re on the button:
This is because you’ll not only take many pots before the flop but you’ll always be in position on the flop and later streets. Many times, you’ll be able to win the pot by a simple continuation bet. Furthermore, you might over-realize your equity when you raise with the weaker part of your hand range and hit big because players might have a hard time putting you on that part of the range.
Attacking limpers in tournaments
In cash games, people tend to be much happier to splash their chips around because they can always reload. In tournaments, however, many inexperienced players will be looking to see cheap flops by limping in but will be reluctant to call big raises or shoves because they’ll be risking their tournament lives.
For these reasons, attacking limpers should be an important part of your tournament strategy, especially when blinds increase and antes kick in. Since you’ll be playing fairly shallow poker, you should be looking to move all in a lot when you’re in the big blind, for example, and facing a few limps with a 15-20 BB stack.
PokerSnowie suggests a somewhat tight range, but I’d say in a live tournament, for example, where people’s limping ranges are really wide, you can probably get away with shoving even higher percentage of hands and picking up heaps of dead money from the pot, especially from the blinds. Thus, it is always vital to adjust against your competition and avoid common mistakes.
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Be Very Careful About Limp-Raises
As mentioned, limpers are usually weak and they will rarely remember to 3-bet you just because they feel like it.
If you do isolate and one of the limpers suddenly wakes up and comes over the top, be very, very careful. More often than not, they’ll have a real hand, and we’re talking about Aces through Queens and Ace King in most cases.
If they give you the right odds to take the flop in position, you can do so, but remember that flopping a pair might not be enough to beat them in this scenario.
Folding should be your default course of action in these scenarios to avoid problems further down the line. Of course, if they start doing it very often, you can adjust your poker play accordingly, but that’s a whole different topic.
- You should almost never limp first
- Over limping some hands is fine against passive players
- You should be aggressively attacking limpers in both MTT and cash games
- Play very carefully against limp-raises – it often indicates a strong range