Playing In Limped Pots

Playing In Limped Pots

Limping into pots should be avoided the majority of the time for various reasons. When I first started playing poker I would find myself dropping buy-ins to who I thought were fish at the table, expecting my top pair hands to be good, when they hit some lucky turn card to give them two pair with a junk hand.

If your hand is good enough to play, a lot of the time you should raise to isolate weaker players at the table. Adopting a raise or fold pre-flop strategy instead of limping in offers a few advantages. It defines your opponents range more. By limping in they could be doing so with any two cards, so if they limp in and call you have a better idea of their holdings and can with a greater degree of accuracy put them on a range of hands.

The other main benefit of raising in a limped pot is you get other weak hands to fold and you will be involved in a pot with fewer players. This concept is particularly important if you were dealt big pairs like KK or AA pre-flop. If you are involved in a big multi way pot with these hands the value of your big pair goes down considerably, because there is a chance one of your opponents will hit a draw or make a better hand with two pair, etc.

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The best way to play in limped pots is to understand the advantages of why you should be limping in. There are certain situations where it can be profitable for limping in. For example, you may not have a great hand which is worth of a raise, but it can stack someone if you hit the flop hard. If you have a hand like a low pocket pair, suited connectors, one gap connectors, suited aces, etc, these can be great hands to limp in with because they have a lot of potential post flop to make a big hand, and you don’t necessarily want to invest a lot pre-flop until you have seen the flop.

You want to play in limped pots with speculative hands which are drawing to the nuts and which are not likely to be dominated by better hands. So you don’t want to be limping in with junk hands like Q7o or K6s because you will face so many tough decisions post flop where you hit a part of the flop but are unsure if your kicker is good. You always want to make poker less complicated and it all starts by being more selective with your starting hands.

If you have a strong hand like AK/AK, middle to big pocket pairs, suited broadway cards, etc then raising would be the optimal strategy because you will make a strong hand every time you hit the flop. Also, the main advantage of being the pre-flop aggressor and raising instead of limping in, is that you gain initiative in the hand and the other players will put you on a strong hand, so you can win a lot of small pots with a standard continuation bet even when you miss the flop. BY just limping into a pot, your opponents are less likely to give you credit for a hand and will call you down with trash.

Now that you know about the advantages and disadvantages of playing in limped pots, if you notice your opponents are constantly limping in, you should realise that they are playing a less then optimal pre-flop strategy because they are playing way too many hands, so when you have a strong hand you want to make sure that you punish them and extract maximum value for your hand.

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