Open Limps

FlushhDrawFlushhDraw Red Chipper Posts: 5 ✭✭
edited February 2017 in General Concepts
I wanted to get some thoughts on a concept that seems frowned upon, but I seem to find great value in and that is the concept of open limping in cash games with specific hands.

I have just recently made the transition to cash games after years of being a tournament player. After ironing out some things I started this transition on December 12th and play on wsop currently playing $10NL, 4 tabling at the most and have just started incorporating a $20NL table into that 4 table mix. So I am new to serious cash game grinding,but notto poker as I was a full time tournament player in Atlantic City in the past.

As part of my poker studies I utilize a lot of Splitsuit's" videos and he and many others advocate not open limping under any circumstances, but I find it's almost mandatory with certain hands. I speak specifically of low pocket pairs and suited connectors.

UTG I do not want to be raising hands like 22, 33, 44, and 55 as they have very little alternate value aside from sets, but at the same time folding them is ludicrous. I have just over 12,000 hands played and have already lost count of the number of times I have stacked opponents with flopped sets. I can no way see folding a pocket pair and will call raises with them as Ithink most would for their stacking ability, but if 22-55 or even higher is not worthy of a rasie in early position, but they have such hidden potential, it seems to me the only other alternative is to open limp, and if no one raises, that's great, if someone does raise preflop and it's what would be considered a reasonable callable raise, it's a snap call due to the implied money potential.

Thoughts and opinions


  • dirty moosedirty moose Red Chipper Posts: 482 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2015
    The main reason to not limp in, is to not split your hand rage. This is even more specific to on-line play with tracking software. The other reasons are to build a pot and bloat a pot. Most non thinking players do not want to play in a bloated pot. It takes them outside their comfort zone.

    If you split your hand range in EP to limp small pocket pairs and suited connectors, an opponent who's paying attention will know when you raise from EP, you will have big cards and big pairs. You've now made yourself exploitable. This becomes even easier to spot while playing on-line with the tracking programs.

    It's much easier to raise everything in your range for deception. Raise it all and they can never split your range. They wont know what you have. It will also be easier to spot as you move up in stakes and face better players. Unless you can perfectly balance your limping range, you're just splitting your range.

    Also, if you limp with these hands and no one raises and you go heads up or 3 ways to the flop and flop a set, there will be minimal money in the pot, making it harder to get stacks in. When you flop a set in a limped pot, its hard to get stacks in unless another players also makes a pretty decent hand.

    Now of course there's always 1 or 2 situations where it may be better to limp. But I just stick to the strategy of raising 1st in for sure. And usually raising after limper(s).

  • DeleuzerDeleuzer Las VegasRed Chipper Posts: 25 ✭✭
    Matt is correct. 12,000 hands are very few hands online. if you continue with this strategy, you will become an extremely exploitable opponent. The reason why you raise these hands is so you can hit any board hard, even a :2c :4h :7d flop.

    Open limping is a "master' level play. If you are extremely good at playing post-flop then limping into pots is not a problem, however, if you're not a poker master it's generally just going to make you exploitable in the long run. So if you're limping with 22, you should also be limping with 75s and QQ+ with a reasonable frequency. Achieving such a balance is exceedingly difficult and ultimately not that profitable. As you move up in stakes to $50NL and $100NL, you will find that limping with such hands will be a disaster. In fact, some will say that folding these hands UTG is not only "not ludicrous" but fundamentally sound poker.

    If you're stacking people at the $10NL by limping with marginal holdings, you'd almost certainly stack the same players by raising. The benefit achieved from limping is about deception, but if you're stacking opponents on a regular basis when you flop a set, those players are not being deceived, they're just bad players who will pay you off anyway. If there mistake is calling too much, then your best approach is to build big pots with value hands and let them pay you off.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,124 -
    A friend of mine analyzed over 2 million hands from a handful of online pros and concluded folding 22-77 UTG full-ring was correct.

    Having said that, against weak opposition at 10NL you may be able to show a profit limping with these hands. Just watch out for an increase in regs raising your limps. And as William notes, ask yourself if you could achieve the same (or better) result with open-raising.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • MGPTMGPT Red Chipper Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Speaking for live cash play with no stats, I find limping low PP from EP works great and can be balanced nicely with AJ-AK. I have found playing AJ-AK having limped EP can play great as you're so underrepped and can get 3 streets of value from weaker aces, kings and queens. It allows you limp-raise squeeze spots as well with AQ + AK which can be hugely profitable.

    I'm sure this is exploitable online vs good players but in live cash I think it works great.
  • grindngrindn Red Chipper Posts: 74 ✭✭
    I tend to agree with MGPT's post. After reading Doug and Ed's books- Playing the Player, Poker Plays You Can Use and The Course, I've spent much of the last year changing up my game and trying many of these concepts, one of which is "do not open limp and always open raise instead". What I've found is this definitely works for me in certain game types, specifically when playing in games with lots of nitty, passive regulars. On the other hand, when playing with looser, more aggressive players, I find this strategy often finds me in situations where I am in bloated pots out of position. In those games, I have reverted to limping more preflop with some of my pairs and AK from early position. I may be giving up some value in some instances but also tend to save myself from getting in trouble with big pots of of position. I certainly welcome any criticism from the pros and more experienced members.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,683 ✭✭✭✭✭
    FlushhDraw wrote: »
    ...not open limping under any circumstances, but I find it's almost mandatory with certain hands. I speak specifically of low pocket pairs and suited connectors.

    UTG I do not want to be raising hands like 22, 33, 44, and 55 as they have very little alternate value aside from sets, but at the same time folding them is ludicrous.

    Brief comments: I don't think folding these little pairs UTG is necessarily "ludicrous" at all, depending on game conditions. Second, I don't like the fact that you're adding suited connectors for limping. Those hand play very differently than small pairs. I also don't think folding small suited connectors is ludicrous, in fact it's probably good except for the occasional raise. Having said that, there are definitely game conditions where I'll limp small pairs, but really never small suited connectors I don't think. You're just putting yourself at too much of a disadvantage playing OOP with a hand that normally plays terrible OOP (when limped). Flopping a set doesn't suffer all those same disadvantages. You can have many draws with suited connectors (straight, flush, trip/2 pair), and all 3 of those have more outs than a pocket pair when you whiff the flop.

  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,001 ✭✭✭✭✭
    All your holdings are just pieces of equity. As your game trends tougher, you have to fold more equity up front because of what happens after you. In a softer game, you get to play more equity from up front because of what doesn't. Throwing away small pairs or any other speculative hand in EP is no less unreasonable than any other adjustment.

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