When to Limp in Poker? Is It Really a Good Idea?

Have you ever found a player that considers when to limp in poker? 

Limping is known as a low-risk or low-effort way to see the flop for cheap in a poker game, which is probably why so many new players do it. However, despite being such a common practice with beginners, one of the most common pieces of advice that they receive is not to limp into the pot under any circumstances. 

However, is it really so bad to limp in poker actually? If so, what makes this the case, and if so, why? Learn more below. 

Limp in Poker Meaning

Understanding What is Limp in Poker

Before we jump into when to limp in poker, it is a great idea to learn the basics of this term first. Limp describes calling the big blind instead of raising so as to enter the pot for the smallest possible cost. The reason new players often open-limp in this way is that it will help them to get to see more flops cheaply that they hope to increase their chances of getting lucky. 

This new players’ logic is not exactly wrong, however, it avoids players from accomplishing goals like thinning the field and defining what other players are holding. Generally, limpers lack control of the pot and will allow their opponents to see flops with no paying or gathering any information about the state of the game. As a result, limping in poker is typically a losing approach in the long run. 

Limp in Poker is a Bad Idea?

For many players who are not wondering when to limp in poker, they might not be interested in open limping as it is one of the biggest mistakes that you can commit in poker. It is widely considered to be a weak, passive approach that will eliminate more dynamic chances to win the pot. 

Well, you need to think about all the different ways you are able to win when you raise the preflop and try to take control of the pot. You can signal to other players that you have good hands, even if that is not at all the case. If all the other players have weak hands, they simply could fold, giving you whatever is in the pot for free. 

When one or two other players come along, you could c-beat and barrel them into submission of the flop, turn, or even river. Or, you are able to hit the board and come out on top at showdown, however now there is a much bigger pot since you have forced other players to raise. 

Limping in poker excludes all those possibilities and it can put a target on your back as more experienced players will assume that you are weak and passive to fold to aggression. Even when you decide to limp into the flop and do hit, your winning chances are lowered as you have allowed several other players to see the flop, too. 

As a result, the chances of an opponent having a stronger hand will be increased. However, that is not all! Not only does when to limp in poker allow your opponent to see new cards with no paying, but it will let them avoid having to make difficult decisions about their hands.

If You are Still Interested, Then When to Limp in Poker?

Just like other games of chance, nothing is absolute like considering when to limp in poker. Whether you are talking about limping or bluffing, there is no single approach to poker that can guarantee you wins. However, this doesn’t mean that certain ways don’t have their time and place. Well, limping in poker can be profitable under certain specific conditions, such as:

1. Limp-Raising

One tactic of when to limp in poker is to open-limp with a very strong hand and a lot of potential hands like an Ace-5 suited. This idea is to have someone else raise and take control when the action returns to you. 

Importantly, this turns limping into a trap by baiting other players into thinking you have a weak card when you don’t. However, you still need to be careful of danger hands. 

The danger in this way is that more skilled players will pick up on what you are doing and know exactly what to do next time you “limp-raise”. So, you will want to balance your range when to limp in poker that means limping more often than you would ideally want to.

2. Limping Behind

It is OK to limp in with a good hand behind a couple of other limpers. Say you are in cutoff position, and you are dealt pocket 5s, which is a hand that is worth seeing the flop with as long as it won’t cost too much to get there. Then, two players have already limped in ahead of you. Typically, you have got nothing to lose by limping along. 

A possible exception of when to limp in poker is when an aggressive player still has to act after you. There is nothing an aggressive player will like more than targeting limpers with aggression. In this case, you might want to consider raising to pre-empt their move or even folding to prevent committing to an expensive pot. 

3. Late Position

The right time of when to limp in poker is when you are one of the last players to play, you have a lot of freedom based on how you move forward as you will have the most information about the state of the game. So, when you have a standard hand that can turn into a good or great hand on the flop, you might want to limp into the flop to see what turns up. 

4. When in Tournaments

The last thing you can consider about when to limp in poker, stack size is very important in tournaments poker like WSOP. You will have to find a way to play stacks as low as 30, 20, or even 10 big blinds, and having a short stack that can be vital when you ever find yourself in this case. 

One method that players use is to limp on the button instead of raising. This will make it harder for the blinds to bully you out of the pot. When your range is properly balanced between strong hands and weaker yet still flop-worthy hands, they will need to be careful. When they play too aggressively, they might risk running into your carefully hidden monster hand. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, deciding when to limp in poker is almost always a bad idea and if you do it too much, you will struggle to post good results. No matter how much experience you have at the tables, open limping will put you in tough condition and miss a chance to take control of the pot, which is one of the main goals you need to strive to get your hands on. 


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