Attacking preflop limpers

I remember 7-8 years ago when online training sites first came out that one of their most useful pieces of advice was at...

Posted Oct 06, 2014

Contributor

Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

I remember 7-8 years ago when online training sites first came out that one of their most useful pieces of advice was attacking preflop limpers. When people limped in, whether it was a 6max or full ring game, usually they did not have a strong hand. Raising limpers showed an almost immediate profit especially when limpers who had big hands would limp reraise almost always preflop. And even if limpers did call someone’s isolation raise they would play so fit or fold post flop that raising them would be profitable with almost any two cards.

It did not take too long for people to adjust to the fact that the game was riddled with constant isolation at 6max tables and from five years ago until now almost no one ever open limped. But players in the mid or low stakes live games did not get the memo.

If you have read my articles here before or on CrushLivepoker.com you know how much I hate limp reraising with big hands for value. Usually players that have this move in their repertoire are scared to play post flop as they do not want their big hands to be broken or more simply to do not want to get a bad beat. But normally after several people have folded they will play big hands straightforward. So if you see a player limp in past the first few spots, as the first action, there is a very good chance that they do not have a strong hand.

This could be a hand like a small pocket pair that they wish to set mine or a hand as weak as J9os. But the point is that if you raise them and take the betting lead, especially in position, it is almost always a profitable spot if their bluffing frequency post flop is not high—like in most low to mid stakes games.

In fact, if you are comfortable firing multiple bluffing barrels playing off of turn changing top pair textures a large percentage of your winrate can be directly attributed to playing off of the fact that your opponents miss. And that really is the key to becoming a top player in no limit holdem. It is all about playing off of your opponents’ range and how the board effects it not your own. This is true for bluffing and correctly assessing a proper value bet sizing on a future street. Pay close attention to the strength patterns of those who limp in in front of you. If you are a tighter player you do not always have to sit around and wait for hands. You can force your opponents to make mistakes against you by folding too much.

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