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Thread: Limping

  1. #1
    bambini's Avatar
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    Default Limping

    I've noticed myself recently getting into some tricky spots by limping and would appreciate some advice.

    I'm not usually a limper - if I'm playing a hand I'm usually going to make a 3x raise. However, there are some circumstances where, for instance, I might be in the SB with, say, 4 limpers, so I'm getting great odds to call. So i might complete the SB with a junk hand like 86o.

    The problem is that I seem to keep getting unstuck here. Maybe the flop comes and I hot bottom pair - say AJ6 or something. I've not got a great hand and in first to act, but then can't seem to fold on the flop. Or everyone checks the flop and so I decide to bet on the turn. Either way, I wind up getting in too deep with a bloated pot and a weak hand, and it's costing me money.

    So my questions are:

    - when (if ever) should I just limp with a rubbish hand?
    - what do you guys usually do in the sorts of spots described above?
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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    RyckyRych's Avatar
    RyckyRych is offline Retired Micro Grinder
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    It depends. Really.

    I'd rather play 86o than K4o, or 92o, etc. Getting those kinda odds its fine to complete as long as you are still fairly deep. If I had less than 15BBs I'd actually let it go since I am looking for something I can push and I want all the FE I can get.

    Post flop is just a matter of experience and skill. Stabbing with bottom pair on the turn when its checked on the flop isn't a bad idea, especially if a brick comes. Hell, sometimes you don't even need a hand, depending on the table. I'd rather have better position than the SB but it could still work. Hell, you might have the best hand!
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  3. #3
    J_Verschueren's Avatar
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    Allow me to deposit $0,02- as well.

    First off, let's get some terminology straight: limping is too general of a term. There's openlimping, i.e. being fist into the pot and just calling the blind. In limit there exist spots and conditions where this might be considered correct play. In no-limit cash games, open limping shouldn't exist, imo. Perhaps certain spots in no-limit tournaments where one might exploit the inattention of another players qualify, but it should be rare.

    Then, there's overlimping/completing, which is what you're doing. And the question there, as long as you're relatively deep (what Rycky said) is "why not?". If people will let you (i.e. they're not squeezing a ton from the blinds; in which case it might be benificial to slowplay a big hand), there is fairly little reason not to see a flop for cheap with a speculative hand and hope to smash it.
    Caveat: carefull, though, when completing from the SB. You are going to be OOP for the entire hand and you will need some *very* clueless/predictable opponents to extract value unless you hit the board hard. In casu: I would chuck in the extra chips if I was suited there, but not with the off-suit hand.

    Anyhow, the meat and bones of what I wanted to say: by overlimping/completing in the right conditions (you do not expect a raise behind), you're not winning the pot outright, but see a flop instead.
    Ideally, you want to flop the nuts or a good draw to the nuts (again: assuming fairly deepstack play); pieces of the board are generally a danger area. Not that you shouldn't protect your equity or try the semi-bluff, but I feel this should be a cash-game-only thing. In a tournament, one would need a stone read on a late position limper to go for a check-raise with bottom pair from the SB if (and when) he takes a stab in position. Cash games provide more room for experimentation because, if you're wrong, you can always reload and put the hurt on 'm in a subsequent hand by applying the knowledge you gained.

    So, in general, first in : raise, give yourself two ways to win, but be mindfull of spots where you can get in for cheap with the right hand (be it speculative or bottom end of your value range in position). Thread carefully post flop when your hand is vulnerable. Mostly play fit-or-fold and do not try to bluff the wrong opponents.

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    bambini's Avatar
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    You're right that I'm talking about overlimping, not open limping - perish the thought!

    J - Seems like you're saying that I should limp with a view to folding all but the nuts or a decent draw. And Rycky, you're saying that I should be avoiding those positions unless deep stacked, especially in tourneys. That makes sense.

    I think the part I struggle with most is the fact that I'm caught up in a hand well and truly OOP. Maybe I should be looking to play supertight post-flop.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  5. #5
    J_Verschueren's Avatar
    J_Verschueren is offline They call me "J"
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambini View Post
    You're right that I'm talking about overlimping, not open limping - perish the thought!

    J - Seems like you're saying that I should limp with a view to folding all but the nuts or a decent draw. And Rycky, you're saying that I should be avoiding those positions unless deep stacked, especially in tourneys. That makes sense.

    I think the part I struggle with most is the fact that I'm caught up in a hand well and truly OOP. Maybe I should be looking to play supertight post-flop.
    Nuts is a relative term, but if you flop a weak piece OOP I feel your goal should be trying to improve/see a showdown for no more than "min", rather than "protecting your hand" when it checks through on the flop. Bottom pair is hardly ever good 4-way (certainly not on AJ6 4-way), even if the other players are too timid to bet their hand. The thing is to keep the investment small, so the pay-off is worth our while if and when we hit (which should be on the flop, because we need to build a pot to make up for the many "misses"). You can't be dusting off a bunch of chips trying to get someone off a jack or a weak ace there, it won't work often enough.

    Which is not to say you can never be creative; let's tinker with the example a bit. Let's say we know the overlimper knows how to play position and isn't a station. You complete w/86s. Flop comes J73 rainbow with one of your suit. You check, BB checks, original limper checks and the overlimper bets half pot. This is a spot where you might make a thin bluff by raising. Notice how several factors are now in our favour, despite us having 8-high. We're forcing BB and original limper to have a real hand to continue (which is unlikely since they limped and checked the flop) and overlimpers range has many "weak" hands in it as well (7-no kicker, gutshots, underpairs to the board, etc...). On top of that, a lot of turn cards can come which give us actual equity in the hand: 5's, 9's, the 8 remaining other cards in our suit and our pair outs, which will be good some part of the time.

    So, to sum up, no: it's not an automatic fold unless we smash the board, but conditions need to be just right and you need to be able to show more aggression than merely donking a turn, imo. Which won't happen often as microstakes is teeming with timids and non-believers.

    The thing to remember is the microstakes conditions favour the play: we're risking a BB for a pay-off anywhere between 30BB and 100+BB (most of the time, better fish might find a fold now and again), so it doesn't matter if we have to fold 19 times out of 20 postflop. We still make money overall.

    Edit: move thread to strategy section?
    Last edited by J_Verschueren; May 31st, 2013 at 11:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Verschueren View Post
    ...fist into the pot...
    It's considered very bad form where I play. Chips go flying, people think you're angry, etc. Try to avoid it.

  7. #7
    bambini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Verschueren View Post
    Nuts is a relative term, but if you flop a weak piece OOP I feel your goal should be trying to improve/see a showdown for no more than "min", rather than "protecting your hand" when it checks through on the flop. Bottom pair is hardly ever good 4-way (certainly not on AJ6 4-way), even if the other players are too timid to bet their hand. The thing is to keep the investment small, so the pay-off is worth our while if and when we hit (which should be on the flop, because we need to build a pot to make up for the many "misses"). You can't be dusting off a bunch of chips trying to get someone off a jack or a weak ace there, it won't work often enough.

    Which is not to say you can never be creative; let's tinker with the example a bit. Let's say we know the overlimper knows how to play position and isn't a station. You complete w/86s. Flop comes J73 rainbow with one of your suit. You check, BB checks, original limper checks and the overlimper bets half pot. This is a spot where you might make a thin bluff by raising. Notice how several factors are now in our favour, despite us having 8-high. We're forcing BB and original limper to have a real hand to continue (which is unlikely since they limped and checked the flop) and overlimpers range has many "weak" hands in it as well (7-no kicker, gutshots, underpairs to the board, etc...). On top of that, a lot of turn cards can come which give us actual equity in the hand: 5's, 9's, the 8 remaining other cards in our suit and our pair outs, which will be good some part of the time.

    So, to sum up, no: it's not an automatic fold unless we smash the board, but conditions need to be just right and you need to be able to show more aggression than merely donking a turn, imo. Which won't happen often as microstakes is teeming with timids and non-believers.

    The thing to remember is the microstakes conditions favour the play: we're risking a BB for a pay-off anywhere between 30BB and 100+BB (most of the time, better fish might find a fold now and again), so it doesn't matter if we have to fold 19 times out of 20 postflop. We still make money overall.

    Edit: move thread to strategy section?
    Interesting points, J. It's certainly a tricky area because, in the example you give I can see myself (especially at the micros) getting called if I raise to an overlimper, and then I'm in a bloated pot with 8 high. But I take your point and I guess it's down to my reads to decide if the guy who's playing position is likely to be bluffing and likely to fold.

    Interestingly, I got into a spot yesterday where I'd limped from the SB into a 3-way flop. The flop was checked all round, so I thought I'd have a pop at betting out on the turn with something like Q high. Both called, I checked the river and folded when one of my opponents bet into it. Both had picked up a flush draw on the turn which made it on the river, and I got out relatively unscathed. You're right about "conditions being right" :)

    And I put this thread in "general poker" because my query is not specific to ring games or tourneys.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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