What is limp? It is the act of completing the big blind to see the flop, without raising. This is clearly a losing stock in the long run. We will find out why. It can happen that at the end of the tournament it is justified to limp, if you know that your opponents are rather passive … or to trap with a strong hand (limp / call with KK / AA for example).
The following rules apply when you have stacks over 20bb.
When we say that it is not recommended to limp, it means that you should never be the first to enter the pot by limping, that is to say by simply calling the big blind. There may be times when it is justified to top the blind if one or more players have completed it before you. Here’s the basic rule:
It is not limping which is the evil, but open limp.
You limp, you show a weak hand. Would you limp with, or? No. As soon as you limp, your opponents know that you don’t have the Top 5% (TT + / AQ +) hands. Not only do they understand that you have an average hand, but they can quite easily determine what type of hands you have.
By limping you expose yourself to aggressive players
You limp. An aggressive player raises. What are you doing ? Paying is often not profitable. But suppose you pay. Isn’t it ridiculous to invest so much when you have shown weakness and you leave the initiative to the opponent? Wasn’t it better to raise first?
You miss an opportunity to steal the blinds
By limping, you miss the opportunity to take the blinds. If you don’t raise you can’t win the blow before the flop.
You encourage other players to join in
By limping, you keep the big blind in the game and encourage other players to come in, because you are offering good pot odds. If you limp at the cut off, the button must invest 1 blind to try to win a pot that is already 2.5bb.
And think of the special case of the small blind. The small blind is going to be strongly encouraged to come in. Because the small blind player has 1/2bb to put in to play a 2.5bb pot. The player in the small blind can therefore come into play with a wide range of hands. In addition, he will have many surprising hands and it will be very difficult for you to locate his hand. All of these are negative for profitable play.
Your hand warrants a limp, it warrants a raise
Always ask yourself the question, “Is my hand good enough to be raised?” If so, relaunch. Otherwise, lay her down. Are you hesitating? Raise or fold your hand but don’t limp it.
Limping out of position, a big source of losses
When you limp out of position, you are vulnerable to a raise. You have neither the position nor the advantage of the cards nor the initiative. Playing with an average hand without the initiative out of position is the best way to lose money fast in poker.
The special case of the small blind
The small blind position is special. Because if you limp, it only costs you a half-blind to enter and only one player has to speak after you. This is a situation that may seem conducive to limp. It is indeed, provided your opponent is passive. Because an aggressive player will immediately understand your range of hands, which will certainly be low. He’ll often raise to put pressure on you, steal your blind or steal the post-flop shot.
The big blind often throws its hands
You can raise 100% of your hands in the small blind, as long as the opponent does not adjust. If he calls he has a strong hand and is in position. Drop the shot after the flop if you haven’t hit anything.
The big blind player is passive but sticky
You can potentially limp with potential hands if you know you’re going to be able to see a flop the vast majority of the time.
Big blind player plays standard or aggressive
The vast majority of the time, choose between raise and pass. The small blind is one of the most difficult positions not to lose money. You have to accept that the big blind has a decisive advantage over you thanks to its position. The small blind is the worst position in poker because you are the first to speak after the flop. Limit your losses by not limping in the small blind, it won’t be that bad already.
Signs that you are limping in your tracker
If you limp often, you’ll have a big difference between your VPIP (% of the time you put money into the pot voluntarily) and your PFR (% of the time you raise). Ideally, your PFR is never less than 70% of your VPIP. For example, a 6-max player might be 15/13, 24/21 … but never 30/18 or 45/5.
So here are the reasons not to limp. Never open limp in Cash Game (except in small blind) and never in tournament as long as you have a stack of more than 20 blinds. In a future article, we’ll see how to best react to limping opponents.