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You Should Add Open Limping to Your Game

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  1. #1
    spoonitnow's Avatar
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    Default You Should Add Open Limping to Your Game

    Open limping before the flop in no-limit hold'em cash games is almost always the sign of a loose/passive, weak player. However, this doesn't have to be the case, and you can definitely add open limping to your game in the right circumstances if you plan things out well. What we want to do here is look at some of the advantages of open limping in a vacuum, how to counter some of the disadvantages and what some of the math looks like for specific scenarios to get you to thinking about your play.
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    P.S. This is one of my favorite topics in today's games.
  2. #2
    MadMojoMonkey's Avatar
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    I am skeptical about micro-stakes players being conscious enough of my ranges to use this technique.

    @spoony: At what level do you think villains have enough of a sense of my range to employ this tactic?
    Is there some level of play where this becomes more or less useful?

    I do see top level pros open limping pre. I tend to assume that they're balancing their ranges in a way that both responds to and allows them to play wider, more deceptive ranges.

    Personally, in late position, with passive blinds, I might join a limp-fest with over a 60% range. This is based on the notion that, "at some level of pot-odds, folding ATC is absurd." If I'm getting 11:1 or more, and I don't expect a raise behind, I am very likely to call a ton of S1G and S2G's, KXs type hands that can flop monster / nut hands, but MUST catch to be profitable.

    I don't feel any need to balance my range by limping JJ+/AK/AQ type hands in those spots. Those strong hands are in trouble in multi-way pots. I haven't noticed any strong trend of players adjusting to this or capping my ranges on later streets.
    Thoughts?
  3. #3
    In the first two early stages of a sng (and these are alomost like cash games) open limping small pairs is ok
    for instance in order to set mine one poor guy
  4. #4
    spoonitnow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    I am skeptical about micro-stakes players being conscious enough of my ranges to use this technique.

    @spoony: At what level do you think villains have enough of a sense of my range to employ this tactic?
    You're very much over-thinking this and trying to make it more complicated than it is. There are plenty of hands that play better with an open limp as opposed to an open raise in games with players like what you're describing here.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    Is there some level of play where this becomes more or less useful?

    I do see top level pros open limping pre. I tend to assume that they're balancing their ranges in a way that both responds to and allows them to play wider, more deceptive ranges.

    Personally, in late position, with passive blinds, I might join a limp-fest with over a 60% range.
    Over-estimating the range that's profitable to limp here is a common mistake. The more players in the hand, the more reverse implied odds become an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    This is based on the notion that, "at some level of pot-odds, folding ATC is absurd." If I'm getting 11:1 or more, and I don't expect a raise behind, I am very likely to call a ton of S1G and S2G's, KXs type hands that can flop monster / nut hands, but MUST catch to be profitable.
    That 11:1 you're getting is insignificant to the implied odds and reverse implied odds etc, see above.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    I don't feel any need to balance my range by limping JJ+/AK/AQ type hands in those spots. Those strong hands are in trouble in multi-way pots. I haven't noticed any strong trend of players adjusting to this or capping my ranges on later streets.
    Thoughts?
    This week's strategy article was specifically about open limping, not limping after limpers. I point this out because things get much more complicated limping after limpers in terms of what your range looks like and why. With that having been said, I believe GTO would incorporate some percentage of AA when limping after limping so that we could have the nuts on a flop of A82r (being able to have the nuts on any flop is a key part of GTO for hold'em, even at particularly small frequencies), but I don't think it's something we should be doing unless we know we're up against a bunch of opponents who are all also playing GTO (aka never).
  5. #5
    If you do this, sometimes there will more people limping after you and then bb checks. You might find yourself playing premium hands against 3 or 4 players in a small pot. I think it is better to open raise prelfop and get called by 1 or 2 players, we will have better equity against less players and the pot will be bigger.
  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by matiusaa View Post
    If you do this, sometimes there will more people limping after you and then bb checks. You might find yourself playing premium hands against 3 or 4 players in a small pot. I think it is better to open raise prelfop and get called by 1 or 2 players, we will have better equity against less players and the pot will be bigger.
    You'll also find yourself in a lot more situations where you see a flop against 3 or 4 players with a hand that has exceptional implied odds and that plays extremely well multi-way. This more than makes up for what you describe here.
  7. #7
    I open limp with small pocket pairs as I find it +ev and when I miss the set I can easily throw it away while only investing 1bb rather than 2-5, is this correct play? Of course if I get strongly re-raised I would throw it away
  8. #8
    From MP anyway, from LP I would raise 2-5bb, also open limp with small suited connectors depending on my position
  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFerguson91 View Post
    I open limp with small pocket pairs as I find it +ev and when I miss the set I can easily throw it away while only investing 1bb rather than 2-5, is this correct play? Of course if I get strongly re-raised I would throw it away
    Just be aware that if you only do this with small pocket pairs, then it becomes very obvious what you have at all times.

    If you have a raise pre-flop with a small pair, it also disguises your hand a great deal with you hit a set if the standard play in your games is to limp in.
  10. #10
    I don't all the time but I think it's the best strategy at the micros to limp with them because there are so many limpers at 2NL, so my hand would be more disguised than you would expect it to be. I do vary my limps and raises to disguise hands the majority of the time but I think it's more of a strategy for stakes above 2NL and 5NL and even 10NL. I seem to be studying so much strategy and reading books where I can't even apply it with non thinking players in the micros. Sticking to ABC is annoying and robot-like and honestly quite boring. Hopefully with all my studying I will be able to bring a really strong game to 25NL and above by the time I get there. I aim to be at 25NL by the end of the year by depositing £20 weekly (disposable income) and grinding it up inbetween as much as I can
    Last edited by MrFerguson91; 05-13-2015 at 03:40 AM.
  11. #11
    Sometimes, I open limp with AA, KK, QQ when i'm utg and i have less around 10bbs(AGRO table). Also with suited cards when someone from utg limped and i know i can t throw him preflop. It is good to have a diversified game.
  12. #12
    In David Sklanskys Theory of Poker he suggests to open limp from EP with monsters to induce raises from players in later positions but raise with them from MP and LP, I would mix it up in EP with monster hands to vary the play a little cause it could be easy for someone to pick up on it if you do it all the time
    Last edited by MrFerguson91; 05-13-2015 at 08:26 AM.
  13. #13
    Optimal strategy in 2NL though because if you are holding AA in EP the chances of someone holding a pocket pair and raising or shoving over your limp can be quite high

    Edit: Maybe not optimal, depends on the players and how they play as well I guess
    Last edited by MrFerguson91; 05-13-2015 at 08:36 AM.
  14. #14
    spoonitnow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFerguson91 View Post
    In David Sklanskys Theory of Poker he suggests to open limp from EP with monsters to induce raises from players in later positions but raise with them from MP and LP, I would mix it up in EP with monster hands to vary the play a little cause it could be easy for someone to pick up on it if you do it all the time
    Another important part of this is that the value of open raising increases as you get closer to the button. The reason for this is that your chances of taking down the blinds increase, and most players really underestimate how much of your value comes from that.

    As the value of open raising increases, it becomes more likely to surpass the value of open limping in a vacuum, etc.
  15. #15
    Definately, I love being able to open up with a monster on the BTN, probably one of the only spots I would feel super confident 4betting when the SB or BB tries to defend. Unless I held AA preflop at any other position at the table. What do you mean by open limping in a vacuum?
  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFerguson91 View Post
    Definately, I love being able to open up with a monster on the BTN, probably one of the only spots I would feel super confident 4betting when the SB or BB tries to defend. Unless I held AA preflop at any other position at the table. What do you mean by open limping in a vacuum?
    In a vacuum means regarding the value of that hand in that spot instead of taking into account how values change based on your range as a whole (balance, etc.)
  17. #17
    For me open limping works as an option if I am not limited to 50XBB to enter the cash game. If I have 100BB or more, open limping can be a good tool in the arsenal. If I have 50BB or less, the bankroll goes down too fast using the open limping strategy, unless my first hand or two pans out, which usually does not happen most sessions for me. It is no different than I do not limp in a MTT that starts at 1500 chips, but I do open limp in a 5000 starting chip MTT.
    Last edited by eberetta1; 05-14-2015 at 10:10 AM.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by MrFerguson91 View Post
    In David Sklanskys Theory of Poker he suggests to open limp from EP with monsters to induce raises from players in later positions
    But you should only do this with your monsters at agressive tables.
  19. #19
    MadMojoMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFerguson91 View Post
    In David Sklanskys Theory of Poker he suggests to open limp from EP with monsters to induce raises from players in later positions but raise with them from MP and LP, I would mix it up in EP with monster hands to vary the play a little cause it could be easy for someone to pick up on it if you do it all the time
    He also says it's a double-edged sword that can cost you money by giving a free card to a draw that would have folded or by losing the bet that would have been called by a player who, in fact, checked behind. He says it's not something to do unless you have a read that the player(s) left to act will bet.

    Also... isn't that particular quote about limit hold 'em? I could be wrong about this.
  20. #20
    I believe it was Razz , but I am not to sure the book was strange with not much about NLHE in it, but I just figured the concepts in the book applied to all forms of poker as he suggests.
  21. #21
    MadMojoMonkey's Avatar
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    I agree that general concepts apply to all poker games. Even the less general concepts reverberate through other games in subtle ways.

    I try to be very careful when reading advice about limit games compared to no limit games. In limit games, someone might say, "you should bet here," or, "you will always call a bet here." This is perfectly fine since the amount of the bet is known and can't change.

    Limit is more rigidly defined than no-limit. Some of the guidelines for limit games only apply to very small bets in no-limit games.
  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    I agree that general concepts apply to all poker games. Even the less general concepts reverberate through other games in subtle ways.

    I try to be very careful when reading advice about limit games compared to no limit games. In limit games, someone might say, "you should bet here," or, "you will always call a bet here." This is perfectly fine since the amount of the bet is known and can't change.

    Limit is more rigidly defined than no-limit. Some of the guidelines for limit games only apply to very small bets in no-limit games.
    No-limit decisions are basically limit decisions with small pots. A good example is in fixed-limit five card draw when it folds to the small blind who often [correctly] limps, and then a bet after the draw is worth slightly more than half the pot because of the rake.

    And yes, the original quote was discussing limit hold'em. At a nine-handed table with loose players, you could have several limps with a raise to you, and then you 3-bet and it's two bets to all of the limpers, etc.
    Last edited by spoonitnow; 05-24-2015 at 07:20 PM.

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