Crushing Preflop In Fishy Poker Games

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You know the game. The one where everyone wants to see EVERY. SINGLE. FLOP. These fishy games can be extremely profitable, but preflop decisions can be confusing, especially in pots where multiple players have limped before you. Should you raise with your small pair? Should you limp behind with AJ?

Well crushing these games largely comes down to answering questions like these – and this free poker video will get you on the right track…

To explore this, we’ll look at this game dynamic through the lens of a question sent in by Francisco:

“Can you give a piece of advice on how to play versus fishy fields full of people who limp/call every isolation raise? Thank you very much!”

This situation is generally more common in small lives games and micro stakes online, but it can most definitely happen in any game where the table is full of people who do not like to fold.

Tip #1: Your Preflop Raise Sizes

The first tip I can give is on size. Do not abandon raising just because your normal size keeps getting called. Instead, I recommend raising larger. You have probably established that your normal size isn’t generating you the folds that you want, which means that we need to try something else. Going smaller is definitely not going to do the trick so going larger is your best bet.

More often than not, raising larger is going to prove whether or not the players truly are inelastic preflop, meaning no matter the size, they still call at the same frequency regardless, or more commonly the players start getting uncomfortable calling your larger raises and fold more frequently.

Now yes, if you’re raising 10x BB and you’re still getting 4 or 5 callers – that’s not generally a great situation to find yourself in with marginal hands.

But in general, if you are raising and it’s not getting you the results you want, don’t stop raising, go larger see if that works. Most of the time it will get you in a better situation.

Tip #2: Limping Behind Can Be +EV

Limping can be totally viable, there are plenty of hands that can be played more profitably as a limp in these games. Let’s say you have tried raising normal size, that’s not working and then you try larger and still no luck. If you are getting hands you want to get involved with, but raising isn’t creating the best opportunity, why take that route?

For instance, KJ, AT, 77. These are hands that we usually raise preflop, but if limping is the better option, then limp. When raising gets 3 or more callers, limping becomes more viable. Don’t force yourself to raise and put yourself into a bad situation, and definitely, don’t limp without trying the larger size in the context of your overall live or online preflop strategy.

Marginal Hands

And finally, be sure to use some discipline and logic when choosing your limp range. Don’t get sloppy and assume that just because they are playing Q6s and K3o that you should too…play smart poker and remember where your edges and profit come from.

Tip #3: Should I Be Balanced?

Honestly, in this exact game dynamic, balance is not of the utmost concern. However, it is something to think about as you play. If you’re limping when you aren’t too confident in your hand and raising when you have something good, any good player is going to be able to discern your preflop ranges with ease.

Now if the table is full of fish, then balance isn’t too important since those players are unlike to deduce what your actions say about your range, yet alone how to best adjust their strategy accordingly. But if you have 2 fish and the rest are solid regs that are thinking about your ranges and willing to make adjustments to abuse any imbalances in your range – then I recommend focusing a bit more mixing it up preflop and making sure that you aren’t so face-up.

If you are interested in going further into this topic, I recommend checking out my book Unfolding Poker and checking out 3 chapters first:

  • When Should I Change My Bet Size?
  • How Can I Hand Read In Fishy Games?
  • How To Use Range Advantage Vs. Weak Players?
New Poker Book

Unfolding Poker answers those questions (and many others) with quick and applicable advice. Get answers and then get back to playing! Pick up your copy of Unfolding Poker today and thank me tomorrow =)

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 500+ 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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