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How to Successfully Play Against Limpers

Dominic Field

Aug 23, 2023

How to Successfully Play Against Limpers

If you play in low-stakes Texas Hold’em games, you’re likely to face bettors who choose a weak and passive play on a pretty frequent basis. Whether you are playing online or live, poker players at this level tend to be more passive on average, especially when they join low-stakes cash games. Therefore, frequent limping is just a part of the game that you need to learn to deal with. 

Luckily for us, it also tends to be a profitable one if you handle it correctly. In this article, we’ll share several tips that will help you to crush those pesky limpers.

What Is A Limper?

To begin with, let’s be very clear about what we mean when we talk about limpers. 

Limping is the act of entering a pot by simply calling rather than raising the big blind. This is sometimes called open-limping, as opposed to open-raising, where you come into the pot with a raise. Remember not to confuse limpers with weak players - sometimes, it's a tactic that may confuse even the most skillful player.

Hence, there is a strategy called over-limping, also known as limping behind. This is not the same thing as open-limping. In fact, over-limping can even be profitable, which you will soon understand as you read on. So, when we talk about beating limpers, we are talking about open limping.

How To Respond to Open Limpers

As is so often the case in poker, the first thing you must do when faced with a limp is to assess the table. Every opponent and scenario is different, and in this case, you should do one of two things: switch between playing tighter or a loose play. This decision will shape the rest of your strategy for successfully crushing limpers moving forward.

Loosen Up

When a player limps, they are telling you that they have a hand worth playing and want to see a flop with it. It may not be a premium hand like pocket aces, but they have something of at least some value, like small pocket pairs. However, as we discussed in our article on common preflop mistakes, limping is generally seen as something of a weak play.

A talented and experienced player will know better than to limp in and would raise preflop almost all of the time. So, generally speaking, we can comfortably raise with a strong range, knowing that we can likely outplay them on later streets. We can earn more in the long run by isolating this poorer-than-average player. And who knows, you may even easily win pots there and then with this approach.

Play Tight

But nothing in poker is ever that simple! There are, of course, exceptions to this strategy for dealing with limpers. 

If you are up against a player that you know to be extremely good and who is likely to have a well-considered and balanced limping range, proceed with caution and play tighter than usual. Although these players are rare, they do exist. 

Further on, if there are tricky and aggressive players behind you who like to 3-bet often, there is a case for over-limping rather than raising. Finally, consider the type of poker game you are in. For instance, if you’re up against short stacks, any skill or positional advantage will be eroded. In such cases, you may be better off slowing down a little.

5 Tips To Beat Limpers

An unknown hand, a stack of chips, and a fallen stackSo, with that caveat out of the way, here are our top tips to successfully deal with limper passive players.

Raise Big Pairs

With your premium pocket pairs, there’s rarely any value in getting tricky against a limper. Put them to the test in order to extract maximum value from your strong hand against what is likely a weaker one. And if you take the pot down right away, that’s no problem. Maximizing your adjustments will eliminate weaker players and get you close to winning the pot.

With hands like JJ or TT, you still want to be raising, especially if facing several limpers. It’s important to thin out the field in order to reduce your chances of being out-flopped.

Raising With Medium-Strength Hands

If you’re in position, you can also comfortably raise a limper with mid-strength hands. It may not have much showdown value, perhaps something like a T-9 or J-T suited. But it’s never a bad idea to isolate a limper as they are likely to be weak and easier to outplay post-flop.

Don’t go overboard with medium-strength hands though. Make sure you’re in position and remember that a limp still signifies some kind of hand, albeit not a premium one.

Implied Odds

Limping behind when there’s a case for having good implied odds is not a bad play when holding something speculative. Great over-limping hands include tiny pocket pairs, suited Ace-rag type hands, and of course, suited connectors.

They’re easy to throw away if the flop is unsuitable, but you can easily stack an opponent with the right flop.

Don't Raise If You Suspect Trap

Keep in mind that not all limpers are the same - they can either be total newbies or pretend to be one. Hence, if your instincts tell you that something is off, you might want to slow down your play. However, if you are confident in your hand, there should be nothing stopping you from winning the pot. This leads us to the next most important tip.

Know Your Opponent

Finally, as with most situations in poker, it’s worth repeating that you need to know your opponent. You must understand how they play and what they are trying to achieve. Many limpers will be playing a basic game, raising with premium hands, folding junk, and limping the rest. But others will not.

If you’re against a tricky player and smell a trap, trust your instincts. The last thing you need is to have to fold to a limp raise because you were eager to raise with too wide of a range.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Limp In Poker?

Limping preflop followed by an aggressive play will reduce your chances of winning, mainly because there still can remain a few other players post-flop. If you limp, even with a strong range, you wouldn't appear credible.

Hence, it's recommended to always raise before the flop. You will likely end up with one of the following situations:

  1. You will make weak and recreational players fold.

  2. You will have a high chance of snatching the pot by c-betting against just a few players.

  3. Your hand connects with the community cards, allowing you to win at the showdown.

Why Is Open Limping Associated With Weak And Passive Play?

Open limping is considered weak and passive because it limits your opportunities, and this is the last thing you want at a poker table. However, limping behind other players is a totally different strategy that can be a viable and profitable tactic in some cases.

What Should You Do If Everybody Limps?

When everybody at your poker table limps, don't assume straight away that you’re up against weak players. If you have a strong hand, don't be afraid to play aggressively. Simply because everyone plays passively, you should not do the same. Take this opportunity to crush your opponents! They may have weak hands, hoping for someone else to fold.

If you are yet to build a strong hand, you can occasionally make large bets to steal the blinds until you are confident you have a good hand. Note that limpers will very weak hands will be very hesitant to call your bet unless they hold an advantage over you.

Final Word

In a nutshell, a limper poker player is a passive opponent that calls rather than raises the pot. Occasionally, limping behind other limpers makes sense - this strategy is also known as over-limping.

However, you need to differentiate this tactic from open limping, which usually limits your opportunities. When facing open limpers, you should assess the table and adjust your strategy accordingly. You can choose to play tighter or loosen up, depending on the specific opponents and circumstances. But always remember to assess your opponent and play aggressively if you have a strong hand.

Follow our tips to know how to effectively navigate and respond to limpers! The right approach will always help you exploit your opponent's weaknesses.