Why limping in Texas Hold’em is not such a bad idea
Many poker players look down on limping, the act of making the absolute minimum bet, in Texas Hold’em.
They say that it shows no true skill on the part of the player and that it’s a sign of weakness.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – when the limp is used appropriately.
Before the flop, there are only three options when acting first – fold, limp or raise.
If you remove the limp, there are now only two options, which means you have less tools at your disposal with which to try and trick your opponents. It makes it easier for them to get a read on you and figure out what makes you tick – that’s a definite way to ensure you don’t survive long in any tournament or cash game.
While many view the limp as a passive play, there is actually something called an aggressive limp. This can be used to prepare for particularly aggressive action from another player. For example, to your left is a skilled, aggressive player who constantly three-bets you.
While many coaches will suggest opening your range to respond to the three-bets more easily – the idea is, that four-betting will cause them to back down – this may not be the best response.
This mentality leads to preflop wars, with you concentrating on one player. Ultimately, this means you lose focus on the table and become irrelevant to the game. You are not able to steal the pot preflop and you cannot isolate opponents because you haven’t been studying them.
Conversely, if you limp, the aggressive opponent will isolate you. However, he will do so with a range that is wider than his three-bet range. By limping a range stronger than his isolating range, you can attack the board and gain an edge. Mixing things up – throwing in some check-calls and check-raises – will really annoy your opponent and keep him guessing.
Texas Hold’em is one of the most complex – and fun – card games in the world. It becomes even more so in live poker with deeper stack depth, which really gets the adrenaline rushing. Each hand is different and alive and it’s important to be adaptable and be ready to think outside the box.
The outcome of the hand is rarely known until the last card surfaces on the river. That’s what makes the game so awesome!