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Limping behind with "pretty good" hands

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  • Limping behind with "pretty good" hands

    I often find myself calling in position behind limpers with moderately strong hands such as AJo, KQs etc. If the call is not too big a % of my stack of course. Does anyone have an opinion on these types of plays? Is it better to just raise or fold?

  • #2
    It depends on the situation, and the hand, really. Limping behind is okay for different hands in a 9-man than in a 90-man, and a 90-man is different still from a 9k-man. I know some very successful low-stakes players that overlimp KQs religiously, and others who fold it religiously. Basically, if you feel comfortable playing 'pretty good' hands postflop, often in multi-way pots OOP, then go for it. If you like keeping your postflop life simple, don't.

    Also, stack size is a big consideration. On 100bb, there's much more merit to limping preflop than on 50bb, and when you get down to 20bb, you'll have a hard time finding anyone who thinks that's a passable play at all.

    That's a pretty vague response imo, but the question's a bit broad. Maybe post some hands in the HA forum and we can take a look at some specific cases, and give you a starting point for your thought process when considering limping those hands.


    • #3
      Cash or MTTs/SNG?


      • #4
        Thanks for the input. I guess I knew it was an "it depends" kind of question. All but the most specific and obvious ones in poker are. If I have some knowledge about player styles (like players left to act who love raising limpers) I adjust my limps. Good idea to save a couple hands to post.

        Cookies: This is for tourneys, I play 95% tournaments and I think I limp less when playing cash.


        • #5
          OK good stuff. I think your right, I should put more emphasis on raising instead of limping when in prime positions. I think I almost always muck these kinds of hands in early position actually, unless very short stacked and then of course shove 5 bb's with KQs or whatever. But mid-to-late I am mostly limping behind when people limp. Probably hands as strong as AQ and 1010 I sometimes limp behind. I think my reasoning for limping instead of raising is that I fear being re-raised and having to either let go of a pretty good hand, or play a bloated pot with it. I think I raise limpers with too tight of a range in position. Perhaps it's also because sometimes it is hard to isolate one player in micro-stakes tourneys where players are reluctant to fold. It could even be a psychological thing, "oh this guy just limped and my hand isn't THAT strong, I'll just be friendly and limp as well". Throwing a raise in with some of these "pretty good hands" will perhaps be more risky, but a profitable risk long term because of (like you mentioned) the old "2 ways to win concept". Definitely something for me to work on.

          I don't join in on forums and discussions on poker often enough, but when I do I realize just how complex NLH is. The more I learn the more I realize how much I don't know. I've played almost 6000 tournaments on PokerStars. Basically first 3000 breakeven, last 3000 a winner. Yet I feel I've barely scratched the surface of poker. I've still got to play close to my A game to win at the (nearly) lowest stakes ($3 avg buy-in). Because of very poor bankroll management I've stayed at the micro's, but it's probably the most suitable limits for me right now, I know I still have major holes in my game. There's so many different types of skills, and your ability with each is always fluctuating if you don't stay super-focused, and of course variance always throws a wrench in things to. Well sorry for the digression, got a bit off topic there haha.
          Last edited by Rand777; Fri Mar 16, 2012, 10:27 AM.


          • #6
            Yeah my tournament game needs some adjustments and bluffing more is probably #1. I haven't been playing or studying enough lately and my results are showing it, although I don't think I've been running very good either, luck is not to blame. I think I am going to take a break from mtt's and just play 9 man sng's and try to fix some issues with my game, and try to build up my bankroll a bit. Also going to try and study and discuss more, get thinking about poker the right way again. I think some improvements to my game and a bigger bankroll will give me the confidence I need to make another good mtt score later this year.


            • #7
              Folding KQs can land you jail time in Texas, just ask Gabe Kaplan!


              Seriously though "Hands like AQs/o and TT in a multi way limped pot is generally a muck mostly, and TT, JJ, QQ is a limp behind for set mining OR raise." ? Would you really ever consider limping such a strong hand as JJ/QQ? Personally I think that's madness, you're playing right into the hands of serial limpers and allowing them to see a cheap flop. You're basically begging to get outflopped or sucked out on, on a later street.

              @ JigJig

              Unless I'm fundamentally misunderstanding you, you're talking about mucking AQo/TT pre in a limped pot? Again, why on earth would you ever do this? (unless you have an incredibly strong read that a certain player is limping to trap and honestly unless you have quite a history of playing with this player, in which case he may even be wary of trying to trap you since he knows you're aware of his tendencies)

              If you get 3 bet with one of these hands and you're out of position (obviously depending on a huge number of factors, in some spots you may be happy to call a shove with a hand like AQ/10-10) there's no shame in laying it down pre if you feel your opponent has a particularly narrow range, or that you won't be able to play the hand profitably post flop. I would stake my house on the fact that there's more value to be gained by raising these hands preflop and extracting far greater value when you connect - or being able to take down a pot with initiative (obviously assuming the whole table doesn't call your raise and you're heads-up :P) when you miss - than there is in limping for fear of getting moved off your hand/losing more chips postflop. Personally speaking i'd be much more inclined to limp a hand like 89s/4-4 IP (assuming stack sizes dictated it was worth it) than any of those you mention.

              I suppose in a situation where a table is showing excessive tendencies towards limp/calling raises of any size then limping some more marginal hands is ok - but unless it's a play money tournament i can't really see this scenario ocurring too often.

              Apologies if there's some nuance in a format of play that I'm unaware of that makes this strategy viable. I readily admit I may be totally misguided in my thinking here and if I am then please forgive me but that's just how i see it.
              Last edited by AceKingBlows; Sun Mar 25, 2012, 05:19 AM. Reason: grammar


              • #8

                Limping along marginal hands because you are not "sure" where they stand versus an opponent's range is BAD...

                If you are ahead of their range, you really would like to make them pay more.
                If you are behind their range, you'd really like to not pay even the limp.
                If you aren't sure which it is, you should probably FOLD, because calling and catching nothing (or a little piece) can be far more expensive.

                In some deep money situations, limping along without surety can be ok, but only if you think that IN CASE you flop a hand that you can be sure of, your opponent is a weak enough player to pay you off with less, an amount commensurate with the risk you took to see the flop.

                As for not even calling a limp with a hand like AQo or TT...sure I can see why folding those might be better options than flatting...


                Let's say you are facing a tight player on a 15BB effective stack.
                You limp along with 1 person (plus the BB who checks his option), holding TT.
                Pot = 3.5BB.

                Flop comes, 9 7 2 rainbow.

                The 15BB stack open shoves. Now what?

                Do you call, hoping the opponent who shoved has something like AK and you are fading only 6 outs? Do you fold immediately '"fearing" that he has JJ+ or a set?

                Wouldn't a RAISE pre flop, making it around 2.5 to 3BB to go have made your decision EASIER?

                Same situation, only this time you hold AQo and the flop comes A 9 5?

                Wouldn't the same hold true, that a raise pre flop probably makes your decision easier?

                Sometimes a CALL can be wayyyyy more expensive in the long run if you are in a spot which makes you feel un-certain about the value of a raise. This usually happens when you flop a good, but 2nd best hand, and you still lack certainty about whee you stand.

                Remember a quote form Al Spath, the former Dean of Poker School On Line:

                RAISE more than CALL, FOLD more than RAISE.

                That may end up making you more money in the long run when you are good, and it can also save you from losing more than you have to when you are beat...

                Hope it helps.

                Last edited by JDean; Sun Mar 25, 2012, 05:19 AM.
                Double Bracelet Winner


                • #9
                  Haha good old Gabe Kaplan, he's the 2nd funniest commentator in poker imo, right behind Joe Stapleton. Thanks for the input AceKing and JDean. I think when I'm in a "good mode" of playing I do raise or fold almost always, except for hands (like AceKing mentioned) that play well post flop in multi-way pots like 55 or 910 suited etc. It's when I get stuck in a "weak-tight mode" the limping of fairly strong hands becomes a problem. I think this happens to me more in mtt's than in cash or 1 table sng's, maybe the prospect of "big money" makes me tighten up too much sometimes. Thanks for the input everyone, I like getting other people's feedback to think about.



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