Stop me if you've heard this before... Limp-Shove Aces?

Here we are again, trying to understand why players do what they do. A hand in a 5K tourney…

My thought process…
Two limps. BB with AKs. 4x. Duh.
THEN… A shove. Gotta think this is a mid pocket pair looking to bingo?
Nah fam… It’s Aces. I’ve been in this spot before and both times I thought…

Have you ever seen this before? Would you have done anything different (don’t mind the call because of AK being suited.)
It’s always tough and interesting to play people who shove often. No getting out of this hand for me, but in this same tourney, someone to my right shoved with K5s no draw…

Let me know your thoughts and experiences!

The first limper was doing two things at once: both seeing how many customers he’d have AND laying a trap for any raisers behind. I’ve done that under those conditions. He/she was the smallest stack at the table and needed a good win. And got it. And, even then, if you’d caught a heart or a King, that would’ve been the end of the journey for the limper.


I seem to get premium cards in early position a lot more than anywhere else. I’m usually UTG or in the SB when I get AA AK KK QQ. Or maybe it just seems that way.

A big raise from early position will scare everyone else off the hand, most of the time. So you end up just taking the blinds, which is poor value for such a strong hand.

If I limp, many times it’ll limp all-around, and now I’m up against 8 players having a chance to hit something on the flop. Not great odds for winning the hand with just a big pair now. This is especially true early in a tournament when the blinds are low and the table is full. Less of a problem when the blinds have gone up to 150 or so and we’re down to 5-7 players.

The later in the tournament, the most likely it seems someone will raise before it gets to the button. If so, then check-raising is pretty good. If a lot of players have put chips in, a pot-size raise can often take the hand, unless someone else also has a pocket pair and thinks they can challenge you. I usually prefer to get one caller with AA than to shut the hand down, so a pot-size bet is usually better for that than a shove, or depending on your stack size sometimes a half-pot bet.

The only time I shove pre-flop with a premium pair is if I’m late to act in the hand and someone else has already raised up big. The purpose of this is to isolate the hand to just me and them. This usually works, but a significant minority of the time it seems like some other yahoo will want to get all-in with us… maybe 30-40% of the time? Especially if there’s still 6 or more at the table.

I’ve noticed that, especially later in the game, when the blinds hit 300+, and the table is down to 3-5 players, shoving with rag pairs becomes a thing. People doing this are usually counting on getting no calls and just want to steal the blinds, but heads up even a pair of 3s or 4s plays reasonably well. It seems more common with the shorter stacks at the table. I’ve seen it very often, I’ll be sitting on a stack from 7000-12000 chips,
4-5 players, the rest of the table is somewhere between 2000-4500 each, and someone will shove 55 or 66 or 77. It’s close to the bubble, no one wants to challenge and go out 4th or 5th and get no chips out of the game. So it plays pretty well. Stealing the blinds at 150/300 with 1-2 limpers in the pot as well is quite profitable for 55-77. You can do that 2-3 times and suddenly you find yourself #2 or #1 at the table. And usually the other players are going to get out of your way the first 2 times, figuring you to have QQ+. After 3-4 shoves, they start to suspect your range is significantly wider than that, so it’s best not to do it more than that, and tighten back up. But then doing this sets them up for when you do wake up with KK or AA and shove it, you’ll be more likely to get called by someone and take them.

Limp-Shove with AA: Lots of low stakes players do this and its always AA. No idea where or when it became a thing but people like to feel clever so there it is. If you know what to look for, you can exploit them by folding and denying them a big pot. In the long run its a losing play. On this site, with people willing to call with almost any 2 somewhat pretty cards, just get it in with 10BB. If you somehow get folds, that’s fine because of the antes.

So, if I see it again, I’ll know. It’s definitely a -EV play in the long run, and I knew that. Still stings a little to wake up with AK! 99 and I fold lol.

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I’ve seen players at those stakes make a similar play with weak pocket pairs, too, particularly if you have a history of opening instead of flatting. AKs is definitely a reasonable call to defend your open - with that holding, it’s substantially less likely your opponent has aces or kings, you have decent equity against lower pairs that might limp-jam, and if your opponent is getting frisky with a worse ace, or something ridiculous, you’ll be in a good position to double up.

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Oops - I meant to say that this happens a lot at low stakes live cash, not specifically here. In pretty much every case I’ve seen it, it always winds up being AA. I have no idea what some people are doing here or why. I’m pretty sure neither do they :slight_smile:

I can see people trying that with low pocket pairs if they’ve limped in and someone raises. Probably not deep enough to flat the raise and so need to fold or shove. People do not like folding pocket pairs here, even when it makes no sense to play them.

** I was in a game last night where people were limping and over-limping with hands from my 4-betting range. It was the oddest thing to have a table like that. Funny hand where both AA and KK limped and got into a raising war on a coordinated flop. Of course they both were stacked by the guy who limped 9/7s and flopped a straight - LOL.


Just as likely, players at those stakes don’t understand that it’s possible to 3-bet a hand other than a pocket pair, with a size smaller than a jam. :slight_smile:


To be fair, these hands are hard to play post flop and impossible to play profitably if you have a fit-or-fold game with less than full stacks. For people who aren’t great postflop, folding or shoving are probably their best options. In some of these MTT’s, stacks get real shallow real quick too. Once you’re under 30BB (really 50BB), its not profitable to set mine any longer in 3-bet pots so you’d want to fold them, force everyone else to fold to your shove or get 1 caller and be in a race.

Its hard to figure out what some people are doing but once you know their patterns, they’re easy to exploit. 90% of the game at low stakes (including free) is figuring out what your opponents are up to. The other 10% is making sure no one is catching on to what you’re doing. For example, in one of the MTT’s I played last night I caught on that one guy was opening all Ax hands and c-betting all flops for 50%. Once I saw him raise A2o, I knew I could defend wider in the BB and use a check-raise to score a big pot. Sure enough the time came and he opened UTG on my BB. I defended with 8/7o (really loose) and flopped 2nd pair with redraws to a straight (9/8/3 flop, no flushdraws). I checked, he c-bet and I shoved on him. He called with A4o so no pair and just had 3 outs. My 2nd pair held and I crippled his stack (we were at about 35BB effective). As soon as I see someone opening dry aces, its fiesta time at the old comicguy ranch. They will have tons and tons more missed A-rag garbage than big pairs so you can feel comfortable with things like 2nd or even 3rd pair hands.


One of my last SNG wins, I observed a player two seats in front of me would frequently shove when I would min-bet at the flop. This would get me to fold, as I was either: a) on a draw; b) on middle pair; c) on a pocket pair with at least one overcard on the flop, and I didn’t feel secure calling. I min-bet when he checks to me, just to see if he wants to continue the hand – I hate letting anyone see a card for free, especially when a hand is down to two. Once in a while, he does fold to my min-bet, so I give him some credit for having at least something when he does shove, although I’m sure it’s not always the nuts, and I just can’t call because I don’t have anything to call with yet.

Eventually, the rest of the table gets eliminated and we’re heads up. He does this to me on a hand or two, and I just let him. Then, boom, I flop trips, and Turn into a full house. I hesitate for a bit of dramatics and then min-bet. He answers predictably with a shove, and I spring my trap, call, and end the game.

I had just told him that he was being too predictable the hand previously, when he did the same thing to me. I’m on T6o, flop QcQc2s, I min-bet just to see where he’s at. If he’s missed too, then I maybe take this pot, or else he could call and we see another card, but with T6 I’m likely not winning any showdowns. He shoves in response. “Predictable”, I type into chat.

Next hand, it’s on. A7s, I raise. He calls. Flop gives me trips, 797. I check. He checks. Turn, an Ace. I min-bet, he’s holding A4o, he shoves. I’m now on a boat, and that’s all she wrote.

You really couldn’t write a better ending than that, too.


I think this one is easy. Rob is low man on table and doesn’t want to chase anyone from table and decides to slow play aces. He’s obviously not afraid of a big bet, but when the bet comes back to him his profit pool has dwindled and he has someone who thinks they have a better hand than him. There was only one bet………… I think this is what you were asking ~ hope this answers your question…
PS: I personally don’t think you were really asking a question but a bit upset with the outcome {LoL} Patrick

no, he played it perfectly!

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Yes but I’m definitely calling a raise from the BB since he’s UTG… I would say laying a “trap” here is still a -EV play in the long run. He would have gotten more value from a 4x raise because he may have gotten another caller, and his range wouldn’t be as polarized as AA.

Also, I actually was asking if anyone had seen this, and yes, a tiny bit upset with the runout lol.

Its always AA :slight_smile: Hand #466719541 · Replay Poker

I’m late to the party on this one, but I don’t think that limp shoving is a bad play at all. In fact, under certain circumstances, it can be a very good play. It has to be Aces, anything less leaves you substantially exposed. As long as you’re early to act, and reasonably confident that at least one player after you will raise, then I think it’s a great way to get value, and I disagree with other contributors’ opinions saying that it is -EV in the long run.

Consider the various options:

  1. Everyone limps. In this situation you get to see a flop multi-handed. There’s still a pretty good chance you have the best hand, but if there’s lots of action you get to muck those As with minimum losses. If an A lands on a rainbow flop you have a very well disguised monster, with a very respectable cumulative likelihood of becoming nut full house or better.

  2. One player raises, another re-raises, you shove, and get two callers. Unless you’re on a table of complete donkeys then everyone else will get out the way and you’re now seeing a flop three-handed with AA. You’re still just about in front in this situation.

  3. You go the flop two handed. Once again, you’re ahead, more substantially this time.

  4. Everyone folds to your shove. You get to take down whatever’s in the pot without having to worry about a player drawing out a better hand.

Surely the only way the EV could be negative would be if you had like 8 callers or something, and unless you’re playing in a 1/2 cash game that’s not very likely.

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Here’s the flip side of your arguments: first, you are more likely to play for BIGGER pots when you play Aces a more traditional way, maybe a min-raise. It all depends on the table/stakes. In the ways you have described, most of the time, knowing that you have Aces, people will fold and you won’t get more extracted value from junk. Yes, Aces can get ran down, but there are plenty of flops that you won’t be very concerned about. We WANT to play with Aces, and you would want to see a flop. Situation 2 will happen rarely, and I would call it the only time where we would limp-shove, when our opponents to our left are raisers.

In Situation 1, a pair is not necessarily what I would call a monster, rather a value hand that you should be value-betting and eliminating the actual junk. Your potential to have the best hand decreases as you’re facing 4-8 players and lose out on a lot of equity.

Also, if I know you do this, it eliminates the possibility of you having Aces in early position when you raise, because that’s not how you play it. Also, if we have an AA vs. KK vs. QQ spot, wouldn’t we expect us to go all-in? You could possibly give opponents a chance to get away when the ultimate goal is to stack them. Also, depending on table image, those TAGs and LAGs who know you’ll limp with premium hands will also limp, look to smash a flop, and have an easy out post-flop if they miss. You can develop an aggressive image and then use that by raising preflop, same amount, and it keeps your range wide-open. Image and range to me is why the play is -EV over the long run.

I understand where you’re coming from, but the play seems less than optimal in most situations.

Personally, I think it all depends on the table, your table image and your position. I am often in ring games or tourneys where 1 or 2 players are betting/raising a lot every hand. If they are acting after me, limping allows someone who is perceived as non-threatening to build up the pot, thus attracting more callers for the initial bet before narrowing the field down with a raise. I’ve also found myself in situations where every time I make a bet, even if only a minimum bet, the entire table folds. Usually happens if I win a few big hands at a new table in a tourney. Sometimes getting maximum value from your hands requires finding a way to get others to bet for you.


Yep. Totally agree that the table, image and position should be the three factors in deciding.