Strategy experts and top players consider open limping a weak move. But can it ever be considered a good play? Well, like everything in poker, there's never a one-size-fits-all strategy. The answer in pretty much every theoretical spot is, “it depends.” So, in certain rare situations, yes, you can potentially justify an open limp.
Friendly and Passive Games
You might need to adjust your strategy if the game is extremely passive. For example, if it's a friendly home game where everyone is drunk or the standard just isn't very good, too much aggression is bad.
If your raises aren't respected and everyone just calls everything, you might as well play smaller pots by limping instead of raising. What's more, you don't want to scare the total fish away by showing how amazing you are at poker. Keep it light and friendly. Mix a lot more open limping into your game.
Targeting Individual Players
Perhaps the wider table isn't so passive, but one specific individual is. If that player is close to you on your left, you might want to open limp on their big blind. The thinking is that, due to their passivity, you'll see a lot more cheap flops than you would against anyone else.
If that player is to your immediate left, so they have the big blind when you're in the small, don't resort to open limping. If it folds around to you, throw out a raise and steal as many blinds as possible — unless, of course, you've spotted one of their poker tells and you sense they might be strong.
Finally, it's vital in any form of poker to mix up your game. A predictable player is exploitable, so it's useful to throw in unusual actions from time to time in order to balance your ranges.
Usually, this means bluffing with a certain percentage of your worst hands, or occasionally flat calling with a monster. There aren't too many spots where you'd want to open limp to throw an opponent off. But if the game is extremely aggressive, it won't hurt to just call when under the gun with pocket aces once in a while.
Stop Limping and Get Over to BetMGM
So, there are indeed a few situations in which limping may be acceptable. However, for the most part, it's just a terrible play. Not only is it likely to cost you money in the long term, it also sends a signal to the rest of the table.
Other players will assume that you're passive and probably inexperienced. As a result, they'll try to pick on you more frequently, isolating you in pots and attempting to steal your blinds.
Try railing some of the cash games at BetMGM and take note of what happens to frequent open-limpers. And once you're ready to bring a new, more aggressive style of play to the tables, register an account and jump right in.
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