Limping gets a bad wrap. Limping just isn’t cool anymore. The act of limping isn’t as sexy as Three-Betting and running elaborate multi-street bluffs. Therefore, through the years, limping lost its swagger. Well, I’m here to debunk the myth of never limping.

Implementing a no limp strategy has been said to make you tougher to play against. I disagree. By applying a no limp strategy in your game, you remove a range your opponent must account for and now must only worry about an opening range and how to combat it. In other words, you just removed a weapon from your arsenal.

limping-preflop

Why does everyone suggest not limping than? Why must I go against the grain? The people preaching a no limp strategy are looking at it through the lens of passive play. They view the action as a passive action, and therefore, presume that the postflop action will follow suit. What if I told you there is something called an “aggressive limp”, and it may solve some real issues players face in today’s game?

What is an aggressive limp, and did I just make it up to confuse you?

Well, I did not make it up, and I’m surely not trying to confuse you. An aggressive limp means that you limp prepared and expecting an action; possibly an aggressive action from your opponent.

When does an aggressive limp come into play? I’ll tell you when. Imagine playing versus a competent opponent on your direct left. Not only is this player competent, he/she also Three-Bets you relentlessly. The typical response your poker coach will tell you is to tighten your opening range so you can combat these Three-Bets more easily. They will continue by saying that after your opponent faces a couple Four-Bets, this will shut him down or you may felt him if he makes an error.

I know all about these preflop wars, but everyone who gives you this advice is missing a big point. In the meantime, while you are trying to pick up hands to get into this preflop war, you’ve just been shut down! You are now irrelevant to the game. You are no longer stealing preflop, you are no longer isolating opponents and fighting because your main focus is now your direct left. In fact, you can’t wait for a seat to open up so you can move and breathe again.

WHAT CAN ONE RED CHIP GET YOU?
WHAT CAN ONE RED CHIP GET YOU?
A single red chip is all it takes to enroll in CORE today. This is the most complete poker course ever created, taking you from the poker fundamentals you NEED to know all the way to the advanced plays you WANT to know. Enroll and jump into your first lesson now ♥

How about if you limped versus this monster opponent? He will isolate you. That’s predictable. However, his isolating range will be wider than his Three-Bet range. Our job now is limp a range stronger than his isolating range, and attack on board that favor us. This means we are not going to take the passive actions that give limping a bad wrap. We are not going to check-call down to the river. We will be mixing up lines frequently. We will Lead Flop when we crush in terms of range advantage, we will Check-Call/Lead to avoid bluff catching on certain boards. We will throw in some Check-Raises and become really annoying. This is a real defense instead sitting there trying to pick up something to Four-Bet with. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t pick up enough hands to sit there and be a stone.

PRO Tip:

You only get dealt QQ+/AK 2.6% of the time

I know what you’re thinking though. You don’t play against aggressive players like this, so this limping stuff doesn’t apply and you should continue opening versus limping. I’m glad you don’t find yourself in that spot often. However, I’ve played in some of the wildest east coast games ever assembled. In these games, any open gets called four to five way to the Flop. Sounds familiar right? These are the games you guys are familiar with. In these games, you have two options:

First Option: This is the option your coach will tell you, “Open for a bigger size to maximize value and thin the field.” That’s fine and sound advice in general. However, what happens when your opponents pain threshold is too high? We can’t continue to open 15-20 times the big blind because this happens to be their pain threshold. It’s too expensive.

Second Option: Limp and mix it up with them. When their pain threshold is too high, we have no choice but to limp and take them Post-Flop. We’ll need to have confidence in our post flop play. Again, we are not going to take our passive pre-flop play post-flop. We will have an attackers mentality. We won’t be the type of person who gives limping bad wrap and check-call down. We can also limp/raise certain hands such as AK/AQ etc.

This is the most complex game in the world. In fact, live poker, becomes infinitely more complex given the deeper stack depth involved in the games. I urge you to not simplify this game, but to continue to think outside the box. When players approach me and say the game is close to being solved, I tell them to do something different and keep it unsolved. This game is alive. That means that it changes, adapts, and recreates itself continuously. Therefore, you should change, adapt, and recreate your game at a faster pace . Moreover, never make it easy for your opponents. Don’t be the sheep who follows, but the wolf who attacks from all angles.

With that said, run good, and play great. Peace!

Recent Posts
Showing 24 comments
  • Simon
    Reply

    Unless you are advocating a true range splitting approach where you both limp and raise with big hands and so on I don’t get what you accomplish by limp-calling somebody. Sure on some small percentage of fops that come 8-high smoothly connected you will have range advantage and can do whatever you want – but this will not happen nearly enough to make up for all the times where you will be crushed facing an uncapped range OOP with a range that is lacking nut hands.

    If you are advocating a range splitting approach then I would love to hear how you implement the splits real time. IMO in practice having both a 4-bet range and a 3-bet flatting range OOP is much more realistic to implement than a limp-call / open mixed strategy split – for a human being anyways (Snowie does it I think, at least on the BTN).

    I also don’t really understand what you accomplish by limping hands in games that always go 5 was post. This type of game is just a drawing game to the nuts and you should simply play it to juice the stakes higher when you have a hand that figures to make the nuts more often than average. You are kinda just playing a full ring live PLO game really. You do raise in PLO right?

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      Hey Simon,

      Yeah Hero can always get into a 3/4/5 bet war versus with their aggressive left. That’s one way to solve the problem. But Hero is forced to risk a lot in attempts to shut down the aggression. And in the meanwhile, Hero will have to wait for the spots.
      Also, Hero can limp AJ fairly easily versus an opponent like this and play a very disguised range. It’s not only the middling portion of the board we can attack. Sure, he has an “uncapped” range but we also know he has a lot of trash. Where we can C/C Lead or CR Flop etc.
      As per the 5way spots and juicing up the pot: we don’t open pre as a pot sweetener. We open hands to attack the blinds, for value, and to retain the equity of our hand. We accomplish none of this when we know we likely to go 5way post flop. All we doing is sweetening the pot for a jumpball post flop.
      I’m not saying opening is incorrect. Like I said, we can open huge and attack their pain threshold. But there comes a point where something else becomes an option, and this is what I’m discussing here.

      • Simon
        Reply

        AJ is a great hand for sure – which is why you can just flat the 3-bet with it and play the hand out postflop – same way you would if you limp-called it. Except the SPR is much smaller and villain’s positional advantage is significantly reduced.

        As for the juicing the pot conversation – if you know that no matter how big you open you are going 5-ways to the flop, then you simply can’t do anything but play your hand for its equity vs. the field – which is what I’m guessing you mean by juicing the pot. The games becomes like a typical live full ring PLO game – somebody opens pot and then 7 people call. You would still raise your big hands because you are just trying to win a big pot when you smash the board – its a real simple and boring game but that’s just how a game like this plays. Limping in a hand in that environment seems pointless – except with very few hands like trashy big big pairs and trash suited aces. You could do the same in NLHE in a wild game – limp small pair sand suited aces, but other then that what is the point?

        • Christian Soto
          Reply

          Exactly AJ becomes a limp/raise if you like versus the aggro opponent. But it’s still a limp. Also, it can be a limp/call given the opponent because you will be able to play a more playable/disguised range.

          As per the wild games, what is the value in raising QJhh from EP going 5way? How about 87ss? How about AK, could it not be a limp/raise better? I’m not advocating to limp your entire range. I’m saying there is room for it and I think it’s good. You mentioned limping small pairs and suited aces. I think there is room for more.

          • Simon

            Raising 78s from EP in a game that will go 5 ways is a waste I agree. QJs is way different IMO. You raise it so that you can “cooler” (not really cause you are not stacking off in their spot) other people when you make a big hand.

            My point with AJ was that I would rather open can call a 3-bet with it than limp-call – smaller SPR negates at least some of the positional advantage. If villain is 3-betting aggressively in LP this is an easy defend.

          • Christian Soto

            If we going to cooler them and they will pile money in, that will happen whether we limp or open. Again, the main reason to open is for isolation & we aren’t getting that. I’m not saying you are incorrect in opening. Just saying this an option.
            As per AJ: calling the 3bet is fine but your range is pretty face up, and you’ll be near the bottom of it. Limp/Call allows you to play a more playable/disguised range versus this opponent type.

  • Greg
    Reply

    However, I’ve played in some of the wildest east coast games ever assembled. In these games, any open gets called four to five way to the Flop. Sounds familiar right? These are the games you guys are familiar with.

    #preach

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      Haha #preach! The Vegas guys have no clue how these games are! 🙂

  • Fausto
    Reply

    I almost cried reading this lol great article soto !! When i finnaly face really aggresive opponents i will keep this tought and weapon in my belt

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      Haha Thanks Bro! I’ve been working on this hard.

  • Fausto
    Reply

    And i think simon is def right and its a sound strategy but now you uncapped ure range by implementing the limp agg strategy vs opening and calling 3bet with a certain top portion of ure range … And my opinion to really take advantage of all this u have to include top and bottom parts of ure range so u could easiely limp call, limp raise and cc cr cf with a certain freq to keep it all balance and frustrate ure opponent post flop

  • Fausto
    Reply

    Both have pros and cons but it now gives u an extra edge by having an extra weapon on howbu could adjust at the table

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      100% you have to have different portions of a limp range that way you don’t only attack on the middling portions of the board.
      It definitely helps versus the aggro opponent that you never have faced yet, but I also think there is room for it in these wild east coast games where every hand goes 5way.

  • Gabriel
    Reply

    This article is great! This idea used the right way is a huge weapon. I cant wait to give this some real thought and find good ways/situations to implement this. Hopefully ill be able to use this against my toughest opponent.

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      Thanks bro! I’ve been putting in work trying to implement this in right spots. I’m sure you’ll come up with even more stuff and smash them.

      Lmao @ your toughest opponent. That can’t be me because no ‘toughest opponent’ gives away lil nuggets of info to help you beat them lol.

  • Dmitry
    Reply

    This is very interesting, does seem like the game I play in weekly. Table full of bad players and calling $17 to $40 PFR and facing Flop against 3-4 callers. On flop its mostly 2 SPRs. Something for sure to keep in mind next time I decide to raise.
    However, nice video for this topic would be even better 🙂

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      Dmitry,

      Haha baby steps though. Gotta give the article first…then maybe the video! I’m glad you found it interesting. 🙂

  • George
    Reply

    Yes, I agree; the camp that says to never ever limp is missing out on some plays. One basic principle I use to find spots to consider a limp is this: if it’s a limped pot, and I smash the flop, will my opponents still possibly go broke even though it’s just a limped pot? If my opponents are this bad, I’ll limp more. But if my opponents are skilled enough to not get stacked in the given spot assuming I limp, then I’ll raise or fold. And I usually don’t face the annoying players CS is talking about, but if so, yes, you can defend as he says. Good article

    • Christian Soto
      Reply

      Thanks George!

      Glad we can agree. 🙂

  • philip
    Reply

    Hi Christian
    good article i usually play poker online sometimes six max sometimes 9 nearly every hand that gets limped will usually have someone make an isolation raise which will usually be a fairly wide isolation range from them compared to me raising and then being 3 betted which will narrow there 3 bet range so i see the benefits in sometimes limping to widen agg opponents range going post flop. but what about those borderline hands say pocket 6s thru 10s, a10s,kjs, k10s, kqo ect when playing these from late early pos or middle position with aggressive competent players yet to act is there room for limping with them or raising them for value in an attempt to take the blinds or sometimes play one way sometimes play the other to mix it up

  • Slice
    Reply

    I love this article. I never raise before the cards come I always limp and then call or limp with pocket rockets or pocket cowboys in early position and then wait for the aggressive guy at the table to raise so I can re-re-raise him to trap. Then I tell the person next to me that I’ve been waiting all night to catch him and I caught him! I always laugh at all the internet kids who think you’re supposed to always raise before the cards come. It’s always best to limp almost all your hands, to either see a cheap flop or to trap the aggressive young guy at the table. Especially if you have AK you should limp almost all the time. It’s just a drawing hand and should be played as such. See a cheap flop and then if an ace or a king doesn’t come you can just check and fold and get out cheap. It’s just ace high! Pocket twos beat it.

    • James "SplitSuit" Sweeney
      Reply

      Hey Slice. This article was not meant to justify the “never raise preflop” strategy. Rather it’s meant to expand the “never limp preflop” strategy. Hopefully that makes sense =)

    • Jokes
      Reply

      Nice reading skills – another beginner who thinks they’re a pro. You’re so exploitable it’s not even funny. PRO Tip: You only get dealt QQ+/AK 2.6% of the time. Those other 97.4% of the time you limp in, then either fold to the 3 bet/c bet will lose you A LOT of money. And the 2.6% time you reraise? it’s obvious what your cards are. I’m gonna be folding.

  • Will
    Reply

    Hey Christian

    What are your thoughts on limp-reraising vs limp-calling, in the above context?

Leave a Comment