The Art Of Limp-Calling Preflop

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Today’s question comes from James. James wants me to review this hand play with pocket fives in a $1/$2 live game where he opens with 55 under the gun. James gave a really nice write up with this. I am just going to give you a little bit of a glimpse of what is in here. He said, “During this particular dynamic of the game, the play had really settled down into a passive limping game and raises were typically in the $7 to $13 range.”

Great. Pocket fives are normally a raise or fold for him from under the gun, however at this table, he thought he was going to be able to limp it. If there was a raise, he was going to be able to limp call it and play setter jack pretty easily. If you have a really good read on that dynamic, the raises are coming in very rarely. No one is really going to pin point you on this small pocket pair range. If there is a raise, it’s going to be a size you could normally give action.

You have some really good rational for getting involved. Yes, open limp calling is not my typical strategy from under the gun, or really from anywhere. With small pairs, typically I want to play them aggressively as well. If there is a dynamic or a game condition that allows, I love the fact that you keep your eyes open for that. So far so good.

Then this is where things got a little bit awkward. Seat five decides to raise to $9. Now seat five has been playing very tight. He doubled up earlier with kings, but shy of that has been very quiet since. This nine dollar raise, again that’s kind of their normal for this game. I don’t think it’s a great size to use in this particular spot but it has been normal for them so it doesn’t necessarily indicate weakness.

Then there is a three bet from the person next to act who is a reg and as far as here can tell seems to be pretty observant. Again, the size is not great. This is not something I would expect a good player to use as a size a large chunk of the time. If you are playing in the game condition where people just typically don’t bet size very well, but their aggression means something, keep that in mind.

Not sure how to put players on a range when they 3bet? Read this article first and have a clear idea of the range they 3bet with.

As played, it folds around, and here he is deciding what he wants to do. To be totally honest, it’s not very often that someone sends me a hand that I get to review where they actually made a pre-thought fold. Today, we get to talk about that. I think James just wants a little reassurance that his fold was correct for two reasons. First and foremost, there was a five on the flop, and people tend to get a little results oriented when it comes to that sort of thing. That really forces them to do number two, just double check that their line overall was correct and their logic and reasoning was correct.

This is a situation where I am also going to be finding the fold button. If we look at it, seat five should be raising a pretty strong range of hands. Again, we are going to just kind of ignore the bet size, given the dynamics of this game. Then, seat six decides to re-raise him. James made the assumption that seat five must be sitting here with King’s plus. I don’t think that that’s true. I think that he has King’s plus in his range but I don’t think you can exclusively say that this nine dollar raise has to just be kings plus. Even if he is playing on the tighter side of the spectrum. I mean, ten’s plus and queen’s plus is super reasonable. Even like JJ+/AK is super reasonable. I don’t think it’s going to just the ultra nuts.

99 plus AQ plus KQs

Even a 99+/AQ+/KQs range is reasonable here

Part of the issue here is a lot of people will try to flat. When you flat, you’re not getting the best multiplier in the entire world. Then the other issue is when you flat, one, you don’t represent very much strength and you allow seat five to do whatever the heck he wants to do. I think on average, you’re going to see seat five get quite active here. Even if he is raising a pretty strong range, there is going to be a decent density of those hands that can and will come over the top. Which means, you’re just calling twenty bucks and you’re never going to see a flop because seat five is going to go up to something like sixty or seventy five bucks and then good luck trying to see a flop from there.

It’s just the kind of situation where I don’t think you’re going to be able to do what you want to do here a large chunk of the time. If seat five was very unlikely to for bet and was just going to flat, and then also you have two sources of implied odds, then we have a conversation. I think in this situation, you are going to be looking at a spot where seat five is coming over the top a lot, blowing you out of the pot, and essentially forcing you set ten big lines on fire. As played, I really like the fact that hero found the fold button. It is just really time to move onto the next hand and go forward from there.

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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