First In The Pot

All the advice I’ve seen about being the first to act is to fold or raise, never limp. Yet I see this all the time. What say you?

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know your crowd… in ring games with all the callbots and bingo players I only raise pre flop with top premium hands and sometimes not even then.

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Play your own game. Your better off limping in with all theses amateur bingo players and save yourself some chips

Not giving advice, just what I am seeing at the tables. I focus on playing my own game and don’t allow any opponent to change my game. It takes a few hands to learn the other players, how they are playing & what cards they are playing. As mentioned with so many Bing players now, at times it is better to limp in until you get a feel for your opponents.

yes pedicab… that’s how i play… its called tight aggressive


i say don’t. play their game… force them to play your… by preflop bet… or perflop all in… you will make them… get out of their confront zone


i fold over 80% of all hands played… and its a lot of hands by now… but win close to 15% because of betting


It definitely losing to limp in ring games in the long run. Contrary to the advice above, I’d say it’s even worse if you know everyone else if calling or going all-in. There’s 3 main issues with limping:

  • You will lose value if you don’t raise your premium hands, but be incredibly easy to play against if you only raise those.

  • You’re basically guaranteed to end up playing out of position, typically against multiple opponents. You need to have a massive skill edge post flop to overcome being out of position, even against a single opponent.

  • You’ll end up losing to the rake. This one is less obvious, but basically when everyone is limping in, you’re going to win some huge pots with unexpected hands, but so will everyone else. The coolers are going to even themselves out, leaving the house as the only winner.

These are obviously much bigger problems in earlier positions, so limping from under the gun is terrible but limping from the button is actually ok.

You’re still going to get a lot of callers when raising first in instead of limping, but you only need some folds to shift the odds in your favor. Opening a tighter range will help as well.

ill limp inn w/ AA

This is data from more than 100K hands were someone other than the blinds is first to enter the pot with either a limp or a raise.
People are losing at a rate of 85bb per 100 hands after limping, but generally winning at a decent rate when they open raise.

A few other notes:

  • There’s nothing magical about the 2.2bb open raise size. It takes some effort to use a 2.2 size, so it’s rarely used and only by players who are at least trying, which will skews that win rate higher

  • A 4bb open is not a good size in theory, but I assume it’s mostly being used with the strongest hands and opponents aren’t adjusting correctly. (Note that they do adjust for much larger open raise sizes, and those are losing). Using that strategy will mean they aren’t winning as much when they open to smaller sizes, so it’s not necessarily even a good size exploitatively.

(This data is all from cash games, tournament play is far more nuanced. I believe it’s possible to have a profitable open limping strategy at various stages in tournaments)

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Thanks for this info, I’m no expert in Poker stats & terminology but always learning and hope I always will:)

This is my first forum comment! I am using it just to say that lihiue is 100% correct. Great analysis that will hopefully help developing players who see it.


Agreed Younguru. I still see this done a lot though. Excuse is usually, "Well, it’s a cheap call when blinds are so low. I keep reminding myself that it’s still a mistake and the fewer mistakes you make, the better. You might get sucked out on the river, but that is a mistake and will eventually come back to pay you dividends.

I don’t like limping because you go to a massive multi-way pot.

I agree with the comments above that limping from early and middle position is likely going to be a losing strategy. One way to avoid the bingo players is to play 2/4 tables and higher, Sit & Go’s, and MTTs. Players at these tables play more similar to live poker games imo.