To Limp or No to Limp

hi hi
is so experienced poker players here… please comments

i been study poker hard now 13 months
i learned … from the best in the world (have all their books, courses, videos, blogs)…

hardly ever you LIMP, yikes that sacrilege…
first in … you generally RAISE or FOLD only preflop

“Krista”, my coach implies to me, “ever you limp first in… a poker god will send immediate lightening bolt”
ZAP… is a fried, crispy krista - yikes

recently in Doug Polk and SKYs classes i see… preflop Limps!!!
in certain circumstances

please please serious comments on this strategy, i puzzled girl

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I’m not good enough to fully be able to answer your comment, but all I can say, is that never limping is a mistake. In poker there are so many circumstances, and a limp can in fact sometimes be the best move.

An easy example ; you’re HU in the end of a MTT, you have 25 BB’s, opponent has 80. You can sometimes limp on the button, preflop…

It also all depends on the table dynamics and how aggressive players are preflop. Sometimes you find extremely passive tables where you don’t get punished for limping in. In tables like these, you want to limp in with low-medium pocket pairs and suited connectors (particularly low ones), since there’s no point in bloating the pot and having a low SPR with a marginal hand.

But anyway, interesting thread, but it’s difficult to answer since it seems a bit general for me.

NOTE : This is just my opinion, if I’m wrong, please correct me ! :slight_smile:

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It is usually better to open (raise) with a good hand than it is to limp it, and to fold a hand that is not good enough to open. By raising, you will eliminate a number of players by making them fold, and they will no longer be a risk to hit the flop somehow and end up with a better hand that beats yours. Raising also makes the pot bigger, so that if you do win the hand, you’ll be getting better value for your winning hand.

That’s very simple and easy to understand.

That said, you can limp in certain situations, with certain hands. But until you know what you’re doing (and most importantly, WHY) it’s best not to limp.

An example of a time when it may be good to limp is if you are in early position with a playable hand, say KT or KJ, or QJs or JTs, but not such a strong hand that you want to raise with it from early position. Why?

  1. Early raisers will tend to either fold the table, losing value from all the limps that you could have gotten if you hadn’t raised.
  2. Players in late position who have a stronger hand may re-raise you, putting you in an uncomfortable position to see the flop for more chips than it’s worth. Well, if you had limped, they might well have raised you still, but the amount of the raise might have been small enough to be worth seeing the flop for that price. And if not, then you get away from the hand for a relatively low cost.

Another situation when it can be good to limp is with small pocket pairs, early in a tournament. Why?

  1. At low blind levels, it’s cheap to see a flop, and they might make a set, but it’s 7.5:1 odds that you won’t. It pays off very well when you hit a set, and is cheap to get away from when you don’t and are facing over-pairs after the flop.
  2. Late in a game, with the blinds high and a short-handed table, small pairs are much more powerful, and should be raised or folded, not limped.

Another situation when it can be good to limp is with weak suited Aces or Kings. You may want to see a flop to find out if you hit a flush or a flush draw, but it’s not worth playing these for value too early (ie, preflop).

Finally, you may want to limp a strong hand at a short-handed table where the players are all playing very tight. The main point of raising, which is to induce folds to isolate a lone opponent who you can beat, is less important when there’s only a few players at the table. When a raise will get the whole table to fold, you only get the blinds, which can be substantial by themselves late in the game, but if you really want value, you want to suck someone in unsuspecting, let them bet up the pot thinking they have a hand, and then crush them with your hidden strength.

Now you know all the secrets and can go on and beat up on all the fish in Las Vegas :slight_smile:

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If you’ve seen my post in another thread, you’ll note that I have some range tables made.

On these range tables, I have some more marginal hands that I will limp-in with (especially from later positions) on tables that are tight and/or passive. It’s really dependent on the player “texture”.

I typically do this for value, and will usually muck the hand post-flop if I don’t hit and things get expensive. I’m sort of stealing a page from the limp bingo playbook by doing this, but I feel like I’m doing it with some modicum of sense and education.

Play chips & Real Money are different, I don’t limp as often in cash games, but I do a little, In play chips games I limp a lot since there are a lot more callers in non-invested games. But limping should be in everyone’s arsenal…
Why does everyone suggest not limping then? Why do 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 post flop action will follow suit.
I limp prepared for and expecting an action - possibly an aggressive action from my opponent!!

Imagine playing versus a competent opponent on your direct left. Not only is this player competent, he/she also Three-Bets relentlessly. The typical response a person 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 them down or you may be able to felt them if they makes an error. Now I know all about these pre flop wars, but everyone who gives you this advice is missing a big point. And In the meantime, while you are trying to pick up hands to get into this pre flop war, you’ve just been shut down! You are now irrelevant to the game. You are no longer stealing pre flop, you are no longer isolating opponents and fighting because your main focus is now your direct left. In fact, you can’t wait for one of you to be moved so you can breathe again… So How about if you limped versus this monster opponent? They will isolate you!! That’s predictable. However, the isolating range will be wider than the Three-Bet range. Your job now is limp a range that is stronger than the isolating range, and attack on a board that favors you. This means you are NOT going to take the passive actions that gives limping a bad name. You are NOT going to check-call down to the river. You WILL be mixing up lines frequently. You WILL Lead Flop when you can crush in terms of range advantage, you WILL Check-Call/Lead to avoid bluff catching on certain boards. You WILL throw in some Check-Raises and become really annoying. This is a real defense, instead of 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… Wish you the best at real & play tables. Never stop studying, since poker is always evolving… Huggs


The advice to “always raise, never limp” I think is a good example of the lying to children teaching technique. It’s great advice to follow as a beginner, and then we can introduce the exceptions as the player’s understanding becomes more developed.

I think the part in bold is key. There are some times when limping is appropriate (great examples from other posters in this thread) but it should NOT be your default strategy. Your default should be to open-raise if your hand is strong enough to play and to fold otherwise.

Looking at the play here on Replay, there are many, many players who will only raise pre-flop with something like QQ+/AK (or even just AA-KK) and limp with everything else that they’re going to play. For someone who’s currently doing this, following the advice to stop limping and start raising will make a huge difference to their win rate.


Stack depth is incredibly important. I’ll never limp when I’m 100+ BB deep and the action folds to me, since I’ll have room to maneuver if I get 3-bet (to a reasonable size).

However, if I’m sitting on 10-15BB, I might choose to limp some high-equity hands that would suck to open-fold but are too weak to jam. I might also limp some of my premium hands when that short-stacked and a loose, aggressive player is behind me. Better to get them to over-commit their equity in that spot by feigning weakness and inducing a strong bet than by betting myself and risking a fold.


If you want to limp your small pocket pairs on passive tables, you can get away with it, but at a huge cost sometimes. You will wind up set-mining and that can be really profitable. It also results in being stacked in set-over-set situations because you’ll get multiple pocket pairs in the pot frequently enough that its going to happen a bunch.

Mostly limping in cash games is horrible. Limping in low stakes tournaments when you aren’t going to be punished for it can work sometimes. Like if its folded to you on the BTN and you know the SB and BB will complete/check and then check/fold when they don’t hit, its a cheap way to steal blinds without having to raise or have any sort of hand. If players are letting you get away with it, keep doing it until they stop you. Of course you could do the same thing with a small raise and make more but to each her own.

IMO, its still pretty weak play and you will let some garbage hands flop odd 2-pair hands you won’t see. Then again, if people are going to let you see cheap flops and pay you off when you smash them, how is that bad play? There’s pretty poker and then there’s winning poker. If you want to look pretty, go out dancing. If you want to win, do whatever you need to and whatever works. When you go to spend the money, no one is going to refuse it just because you won it ugly :slight_smile: