A game with a lot limped pots is a game you want to be playing. These games are often full of weak players because strong players rarely limp. (You may remember this from our How to Destroy Limpers article.)
These small pots will have a big impact on your bottom line. If you want that impact to be positive, you need to approach them correctly.
In this article, I am going to share 4 tips for playing limped pots to help you maximize your winnings. But first, let’s go over the strategic differences between limped pots and raised pots so you know how to adjust your postflop strategy.
The differences between limped and single raised pots
The main difference between limped and single raised pots is the hand ranges of each player:
- Limped Pots: Players generally have weak, loose, and unpredictable ranges.
- Single Raised Pots: Players generally have strong, tight, and predictable ranges.
Generally speaking, the first limper’s range will be especially weak, though they may be trapping with a premium hand at a low frequency.
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Another major difference is the stack-to-pot ratio (SPR):
- Limped pots have a deeper SPR. For example, when 5 limpers see a flop with 100BB stacks, there is 5BB in the pot and 99BB behind — an SPR of 19.8. That’s a lot of postflop maneuverability.
- Single raised pots have a shorter SPR. For example, when a player raises to 3BB preflop and gets 2 callers, there is 9BB in the pot and 97BB behind — an SPR of 10.7.
When the SPR is deep, you should be more conservative when it comes to stacking off with strong hands. For example, getting all in with 54 on a 6-5-4 flop would be fine if the SPR was 5. But getting all in with this same bottom two pair would be disastrous if the SPR was 25 — your opponent will likely have you beat if that much money goes in.
With these differences in mind, let’s get to the tips!
Tip #1: Limp behind with hands that are too weak to raise but too strong to fold
Limping is generally a bad idea, but when a weak player limps in front of you, over-limping some hands is profitable. This allows us to play more hands and take advantage of the many mistakes he will make postflop.
You should limp hands that can hit straight draws, flush draws, or low sets. We’re talking about hands like T9o, 96s, or 33.
At tough tables, you should only over-limp when on the button or in the small blind. If you over-limp in an earlier position, the strong players behind are much more likely to iso-raise to get heads up with the fish and force you to fold. If, however, the players behind are weak/tight, you can justify over-limping in the cutoff or hijack as well.
You can over-limp especially wide when you’re in the small blind because you already have 0.5 big blinds invested, and the big blind is very likely to just check behind.
Tip #2: Donk bet with two pair or better
Donk betting is rarely good, but you should absolutely do it against both weak/passive and spewy/aggressive players in limped pots when you are in the blinds. Your range will be unbalanced, but that doesn’t matter because these players don’t know how to exploit it as a strong player would.
Against aggressive players, you will find this to be very profitable. These players will often go berzerk against your donk bet by raising too thin for value and/or by raising with a lot of bluffs that don’t really make sense. Against these opponents, you might try betting around half pot so they are more incentivized to raise as a bluff.
Against passive players, donk betting works well because they will be very timid about betting themselves, and you want to start building the pot right away. So, you will want to bet big against these guys — somewhere around 3/4 pot should do the trick.
Tip #3: Play tight against big flop bets
Until you get a read on your opponent, you should only call with hands that can withstand a second barrel frequently. The range with which a limper will bet big will generally be unbalanced toward value bets and/or strong draws, and that makes a second barrel on the turn very likely.
Calling a big flop bet with a hand like second or third pair, which don’t have a draw or backdoor draw to go with it, is generally a bad idea. That said, if you get the read that she is betting like this with her whole betting range, or that she is implementing a one-and-done strategy designed to maximize fold equity, then you should readjust and start calling on the flop more often.
Tip #4: When they check back, attack on the turn and follow through on the river
Once a limper has decided to check back on the flop, his range becomes incredibly weak — any decent top pair or better would usually bet on the flop. Since they do not have balanced check-back ranges, you should bet the turn with a lot of bluffs. Plan to follow through with another barrel on the river often.
Firing the barrel on the river is a very important aspect of this tip. Weak players will call on the turn with some weird hands that can only withstand one bet — hands like A-high or K-high — so you need to give them one last chance to fold.
Limped pots might not be the main driving factor for your success, but even if you already have a strong game improving in this area could add a bit more to your hourly. Take these tips with you to your next session and see if you don’t win more in limped pots than before. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
That’s all for this article! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it helpful. As usual, leave any questions or feedback in the comment section below.
And good luck, grinders!
Read more from Upswing Poker:
- Suited Connectors: 5 Strategic Mistakes Poker Players Should Avoid
- When Should You Set Mine with a Pocket Pair? These 5 Tips Will Clear Things Up.