Featured Poker Blog Post by KRANTZ

Why Not to Limp

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I almost never start big strategy threads, but I thought I'd make one on
this since lately there seem to be a bunch of posts that start out with a
preflop limp.  OP's explanation is usually something to the effect of
"sometimes I raise, but this time I decided to limp."  Editor's note: I
doubt this holds true much anymore, most people have figured out that
raising is the standard.  But do they know why?  So I think for the benefit
of newer posters/regulars who are looking to move up, there needs to be some
discussion on why, in almost all scenarios, raising or folding is generally
better than limping.

The limped pot conundrum:  You limp a hand like a pocket pair or suited
connector.  It's limped to the flop.  You're immediately facing two
significant problems:

1-    How do I win a big pot?

You're almost never going to win a sizable pot unless your opponent hits the
flop very hard, but you hit it harder.  When you raise preflop, you're
introducing another layer to the game: c-betting with air, double barrel
bluffing, the over-valueing of hands by your opponent due to the appearance
of an aggressive image, bluffing from your opponent, etc.  That's NOT
happening in a limped pot, or rarely.  A raised pot is also better suited
for stacking someone; the bet sizes are able to more easily facilitate an
all-in.

2- I can lose a big pot.

You limp a hand like Q3d and flop a flush.  The BB had K4d and would have
folded to a preflop raise.  Stacked.  I think this is a bad example because
it works the other way, too.  A better way to put it is that limping may put
you in tough situations with big hands that become ABC situations if the pot
is raised.

The idea of raising vs limping directly correlates to the idea of switching
gears, or changing tempo during your session.  Still something that not many
people have figured out how to do effectively... maybe I'll write more about
that topic in the future.  The more often you're raising preflop, the more
likely it is that your opponent will take a stand against your frequent
preflop raises in the wrong spot or spew chips off by making a heroic
calldown.  As you notice people making plays at you, or calling you lightly,
react by either a. firing more barrels at them or b. folding the suited
cards from EP preflop.  The great thing about a raised pot is that you don't
need to get to showdown to win.  And if you do hit, your hand strength is
disguised.  People will often be calling your frequent raises (key point
here - THEY are calling and YOU are raising.  That's the way it should be.)
thinking that they have implied odds to crack you if you hit; of course,
that's not true, because you can easily pitch your hand postflop - the money
is only going in with the best of it, or with a great read that they'll have
to fold a better hand.  Limping bleeds money.  Why limp 44 UTG and then call
a raise from BTN, only to c/f a J high flop that you could easily have won
by raising preflop and then c-betting?

A hand occurred a few days ago where I had been liberally raising, floating
and otherwise solid LAG 2+2 regular.  I picked up QQ on the BTN, he raised,
and I 3-bet.  He called, and c/red a T high flop all-in with 88.  Stack to
me.  That would not have occurred had I been playing weak/tight/passive and
limping.  He would have checked and folded the flop.  I doubt this applies
anymore.  With all the 3-betting and 4-betting that goes on today, no one is
folding 88 there if you have any sort of aggressive image.  But take this
from this paragraph: you are more likely to stack 88 here if you are
aggressive rather than passive.

By raising preflop, you're creating +EV situations where none existed
before.  Couple this with solid postflop play and you will already be
improving.  Limping is just asking for good players to pick on you.

The only time I would advocate limping is when there's some kind of giant
fish at the table who'll pay off like a slot machine when you hit.
Otherwise, RAISE.

Besides, raising is fun.   :-P


Comments for Why Not to Limp

OMGsoOHapPy

Avatar for OMGsoOHapPy

2 posts
Joined 06/2008

Simple...yet superb.

It's common "knowledge" to raise instead of limp but you've quantified it brilliantly and i've picked up a couple reasons for raising that i didn't have before Wink

nice article Krantz, don't be afraid to post more strategy in the future =]

Posted almost 9 years ago

Nebulosity

Avatar for Nebulosity

394 posts
Joined 05/2008

"The idea of raising vs limping directly correlates to the idea of switching
gears, or changing tempo during your session. Still something that not many
people have figured out how to do effectively... maybe I'll write more about
that topic in the future. "

The future is now!!

Posted over 8 years ago

bohus04

Avatar for bohus04

88 posts
Joined 05/2008

Simple...yet superb.

It's common "knowledge" to raise instead of limp but you've quantified it brilliantly and i've picked up a couple reasons for raising that i didn't have before Wink

nice article Krantz, don't be afraid to post more strategy in the future =]



exactly!

Posted over 8 years ago

jjd323

Avatar for jjd323

585 posts
Joined 08/2008

This article does not give me reason to believe limping is bad. However, it does make several strong points in favour of raising. This is not enough to discredit limping; saying, "Apples are great," does not imply that Oranges are nasty. There may be many untapped ways to stack people or steal pots with marginal hands in limped pots that people just haven't figured out yet. Although this is good advice, and in most cases raising is never going to be far wrong, it is far from obvious that limping is bad.

One example of a player against whom it is profitable to play in a limped pot would be one who will call any bet size on the flop if he has top pair. Why not start limping hands like QJo, knowing that he will call a 5x bet on a Qxx flop with hands like Q3o that he might otherwise have folded? It gets even easier if he leads his strong hands into you on the turn but check/calls with his medium strength hands. Giving them a 100% range OOP doesn't have to make life harder, although you might have to be more accurate with your value betting to get max value.

How about limping versus an opponent you strongly suspect will make a 5x raise to your show of "weakness"? It doesn't take a genius to realise that some hands play much better against a polarised range from the get-go. Limp-re-raising is a no brainer in these spots as well with certain hands, especially at certain stack depths. Think outside the box.

Posted almost 8 years ago

TecmoSuperBowl

Avatar for TecmoSuperBowl

Tribe Leader
5690 posts
Joined 01/2009

This article does not give me reason to believe limping is bad. However, it does make several strong points in favour of raising. This is not enough to discredit limping; saying, "Apples are great," does not imply that Oranges are nasty. There may be many untapped ways to stack people or steal pots with marginal hands in limped pots that people just haven't figured out yet. Although this is good advice, and in most cases raising is never going to be far wrong, it is far from obvious that limping is bad.

One example of a player against whom it is profitable to play in a limped pot would be one who will call any bet size on the flop if he has top pair. Why not start limping hands like QJo, knowing that he will call a 5x bet on a Qxx flop with hands like Q3o that he might otherwise have folded? It gets even easier if he leads his strong hands into you on the turn but check/calls with his medium strength hands. Giving them a 100% range OOP doesn't have to make life harder, although you might have to be more accurate with your value betting to get max value.

How about limping versus an opponent you strongly suspect will make a 5x raise to your show of "weakness"? It doesn't take a genius to realise that some hands play much better against a polarised range from the get-go. Limp-re-raising is a no brainer in these spots as well with certain hands, especially at certain stack depths. Think outside the box.



You make some good points, but your initial argument is flawed. If you choose Oranges > Apples, then you eat your Orange and you're happy. It has no effect on anything else. However, limping and raising are connected. If you choose limping, you are saying that raising is not as good here, limping is better. One is better, therefore one is worse. There is an opportunity cost involved in choosing one over the other whereas by choosing oranges you don't lose anything other than sweet sweet applesauce.

Posted almost 8 years ago

joo_p23

Avatar for joo_p23

1 posts
Joined 06/2009

This article does not give me reason to believe limping is bad. However, it does make several strong points in favour of raising. This is not enough to discredit limping; saying, "Apples are great," does not imply that Oranges are nasty. There may be many untapped ways to stack people or steal pots with marginal hands in limped pots that people just haven't figured out yet. Although this is good advice, and in most cases raising is never going to be far wrong, it is far from obvious that limping is bad.

One example of a player against whom it is profitable to play in a limped pot would be one who will call any bet size on the flop if he has top pair. Why not start limping hands like QJo, knowing that he will call a 5x bet on a Qxx flop with hands like Q3o that he might otherwise have folded? It gets even easier if he leads his strong hands into you on the turn but check/calls with his medium strength hands. Giving them a 100% range OOP doesn't have to make life harder, although you might have to be more accurate with your value betting to get max value.

How about limping versus an opponent you strongly suspect will make a 5x raise to your show of "weakness"? It doesn't take a genius to realise that some hands play much better against a polarised range from the get-go. Limp-re-raising is a no brainer in these spots as well with certain hands, especially at certain stack depths. Think outside the box.

Posted almost 8 years ago

cubaner

Avatar for cubaner

161 posts
Joined 07/2009

limping in front of a pfr monster with the intention of 3betting big (optimally with coldcallers in between) is certanly a decent play (for example short/midstackedin a turney i like that much more then openraising) sure the original post is good, points out why raising is the best play close to allways pre first to act, but as said no generell rules possible in poker.

Posted almost 8 years ago


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