Poker is one of the most popular games in the world, enjoyed by millions of players of all ages and abilities. Though it has simple rules, poker is a game of strategy, psychology, and math. Players must use their skill and knowledge to outwit their opponents, and the best players can read their opponent’s tells and make calculated bets. It is also a thrilling game that can be played for fun or money and is a staple of casinos and card rooms around the globe. Poker is a great game, whether a beginner or a seasoned pro.
Despite often being seen as a game of luck, poker is a game of strategy that is endlessly complex and intricate. There are infinite ways to approach the game, and even the most experienced players always learn new things. Some beginners may find this strategic depth overwhelming and think it’s hard to find a place to start. A great way to start improving is to focus on your mistakes. By eliminating common mistakes, you get an easy and quick edge over your opponents, and understanding what makes a particular action bad helps you learn the game better. This poker guide will cover one of the most common mistakes beginners make: Pre-flop limping. It will explain what it is, why it’s terrible, and even how to take advantage of limpers yourself.
What is limping?
In poker, limping is when a player calls rather than raises the big blind when it is their turn to bet pre-flop. There are several reasons a player might choose to limp, such as if they are trying to see a cheap flop with a drawing hand or if they want to disguise the strength of their solid hand like pocket aces. Limping is generally not considered a good play, so you should refrain from limping as a beginner. There are also two types of limping: Open and over-limping. Open-limping is when the first player to bet, either the player in the “under-the-gun” position or someone after if everyone else folds, decides to call the big blind instead of raising. Over-limping is when a player calls the big blind after one or more players have already limped. It is generally considered better than open-limping, as if many players have already decided to call, it can let you get a cheap pass to the flop with a drawing hand.
Why is limping bad?
Limping in poker is often considered a flawed strategy because it is passive. By simply calling the big blind, limpers give up the opportunity to assert their strength and force their opponents to make difficult decisions. Instead of taking control of the hand, they surrender the initiative and allow their opponents to dictate the course of the hand. This can often lead to limpers getting trapped in challenging situations and losing money. In addition, limpers often find themselves out of position, which can further compound their problems.
Limping can also lead to more multiway pots, which are pots with more than two people involved in the hand. These are difficult to win because the sheer number of players means someone is significantly more likely to have a strong hand. Finally, limping just results in smaller pots on average. You don’t want that, especially with a solid hand pre-flop like pocket aces with which you want to win a big pot with. This, along with limping producing more multiway pots, makes limping to disguise the strength of your hand a lousy strategy. As a result, limping is generally considered a bad strategy, especially for novice players who are still learning the game.
How to beat limpers
Generally, if you are playing against inexperienced poker players who limp for the reasons mentioned above, you will want to play much looser to counter their limping. They will often limp with terrible hands, and you can punish this with a wide variety of your own hands. Limping signals a loose-passive player who plays many hands but does not try to bluff or play aggressively with them. Don’t try to bluff these players; instead, you want to use them for value. They will call any bet you throw at them, allowing you to steadily build up a big pot throughout multiple rounds. If you are heads-up against a loose passive player, you can also afford to value bet with weaker hands since it is unlikely they have a strong hand of their own.
When is limping good?
While limping is almost always regarded as a mistake, no strategy in poker is entirely useless. There are two main scenarios in which limping is a good idea: over-limping and limping when you are the small blind. As mentioned before, over-limping can be a great way to see a cheap flop, and you commit very little. Limping from the small blind is also sometimes a good idea since you already have money in the pot. You can call for a smaller price to try and see a cheap flop, and if you get raised, you don’t lose too much. Still, you shouldn’t overplay hands from the small blind since you are out of position post-flop.
Where to play online poker
Poker mistakes can be costly, but you can also learn from them. If you’re just starting in the game, learn to avoid common pitfalls like limping, and you’ll quickly become a winning player. You can always practice from a wide variety of poker games, including Texas Holdem online. In addition, if you want to take your poker skills to the next level, sign up today for GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. So what are you waiting for? Start sharpening your online poker skills and join the action now!