Limpers are the weakest players at the table. They love seeing flops and making hands, so they play with super wide and weak ranges, making them great targets.
If you are one of the limpers you’ll learn about below, I highly recommend you learn to plug the leak of limping by clicking here. Otherwise, let’s learn how to target and exploit the limpers.
Listen to this podcast episode #467 as you follow along below:
Episode coming soon!
What Limpers Are Telling You
Definition: Limping is calling 1bb preflop. It can be either limping first in or over-limping after another limper.
Limpers hold a weak hand. Sure, they might have AA, but that’s not likely. They just want to see the flop with hands that aren’t that strong, but could make big hands. 44, K9s, 98o, J7s. Limpers see the magical flops that could come, and that want that magic as cheap as possible.
Limpers are passive. Limping can be a part of a balanced game plan, but that’s only if you actively spend time studying it. Preflop limping leads to passive post-flop play. You rarely spot a limper who will bluff raise their flush or straight draws. But if they flop a set or turn their straight, they’ll let you know with big bets and raises.
Limpers aren’t positionally aware. They run the risk of a later position player raising or limping behind, limiting their IP opportunities.
Limpers rely on hitting hands. They have less ways to win the pot. Raising at least gives you the chance to steal. But limping relies on hitting a hand on the flop, turn or river in order to win the pot.
Over-limpers allow others to get what they want. When limpers over-limp, they’re allowing other limpers to see the flop cheaply and crack their limping hand. It also makes for multiway pots, which are harder to win.
The great thing about the 5 aspects above is that the limpers don’t realize this is what their limp is telling you. Their limping tells you all you need to know to exploit them for maximum profits.
You’re going to exploit limpers by making isolation raises. The goal is to get the weakest players to yourself. Limpers are “value targets”, so don’t share them with others. You’re going to iso-raise against their limps whenever the situation looks profitable to do so.
Of course, you’ll spot limpers by their action of limping. And the best limpers to exploit also have a lot of these fishy characteristics:
They are loose and passive (Fish), so they play a lot of hands with a lot of calling.
Look for big gaps between VPIP and PFR, like 40/5 or 30/6.
Look for a Preflop Limp stat of 20%+ (the higher the better).
It’s great if their Fold to Flop Cbet is 60%+.
There are a few things that will improve your iso-raising, limper-targeting success:
1. View Their Limp Statistics First
Preflop Limp: The higher it is, the wider you can isolate them.
Limp/Fold: If this is anywhere above 50%, they’re happy folding so you can iso-raise a bit wider to steal preflop.
Limp/Call: The higher this is, the more likely you can expect a call. Isolate these players more often from IP than OOP.
Limp/Raise: Treat this the same as you would a 3bet statistic. Anything over 10% is very bluffy, and the closer it is to 1%, the more likely it’s only QQ+ that they limp/raise with.
*The total of Limp/Fold, Limp/Call and Limp/Raise = 100%
2. Choose An Exploitative Bet Size
The old wisdom is iso-raising to 3bb + 1bb per limper. But, you want them all to yourself and you want to earn more money from them, right? I recommend 4bb + 1bb per limper, and go even bigger for more value. If you have a mega fishy limper on the hook and you hold a AA, try making it 6bb+ if you believe they’re willing to call with weaker. I’ve gone 15bb’s before and gotten called by a small pp! If you have a value hand, the bigger your raise, the more potential value you get from limpers.
3. Adjust Your Range
You MUST expect the limper to call your raise. They limped to see the flop after all, and most won’t give up just because you raised. It’s okay to isolate with your entire open-raising range, but choose hands that you’re fine with taking to the flop.
4. Plan for Post-flop Play
Your iso-raises will see the flop quite often, so plan for post-flop play before the flop hits.
Before you iso-raise, keep these ideas mind:
Your flop position against the limper. If IP, you can value bet and bluff bet more liberally.
The flop pot size, the limper’s stack size and the stack-to-pot ratio (SPR). The lower the SPR (3 or less), the more he’s committed to the hand. In a $1 pot, if Villain only has $2, you won’t get him to fold any pair or draw. However, he’ll give you value with all those hands.
The limper’s post-flop tendencies. If he’s flop honest, great! Bluff cbet. If he’s turn honest, plan on barrel bluffing to win the pot.
What To Watch Out For
Don’t isolate at every opportunity. You want to iso-raise when you know it’s profitable. But there are things to watch out for.
1. Beware of 3bettors
Thanks to coaches like me and articles/podcasts like this, people know the value in iso-raising. Taken to the next level, there’s value in targeting and exploiting the iso-raisers!
Smart TAG and LAG players look for iso-raisers like you and try to 3bet bluff for more profits. A standard 9bb 3bet might earn 4.5bb’s from the open-raiser and the blinds. However, a 3bet bluff versus an iso-raise might earn 7.5bb’s from the limper, the iso-raiser and the blinds.
So, look ahead for 3bettors still to act before you iso-raise. You might have to make your iso-raise bigger to discourage their 3bet, or just fold to NOT give them a great opportunity. Also, plan your response to any 3bet before iso-raising.
Exploit the Iso-raisers! The next time you see a TAG or LAG iso-raise and you suspect they just want the limper to themselves, 3bet bluff ’em!
2. Beware of Short-stacked Limpers
Generally, look to iso-raise 40bb+ stacks. I don’t know how many times I’ve isolated a 20bb stack only to face a limp/shove. They either planned this from the start, or they faced your raise and said, “Oh well, let’s get it in!” And as mentioned before, short stacks make for small SPR’s, so you have less room to maneuver post-flop.
3. Beware of Non-frequent Limpers
If someone rarely or never limps, or they’re a competent TAG or LAG player, watch out! There’s a good chance they’re trying to trap you.
4. Tighten Your Iso-raising Range in the Blinds
Iso-raising with J8s on the BTN is one thing. But doing it from the blinds, and seeing the flop in a bloated pot OOP, is another thing.
When you isolate with J8s OOP, there are 2 big disadvantages:
Positional Disadvantage. You already know your opponent doesn’t like to fold, so they are less likely to fold to your OOP bluffs because they get to act with more information on following streets. And with J8s, you’ll probably have to bluff to win the pot.
Equity Disadvantage. Your J8s probably doesn’t have great equity against your opponent’s calling range.
Consider these disadvantages when iso-raising from the blinds and tighten up as necessary.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: In your next 3 poker sessions, have a focus on exploiting the limpers at your tables. They’re easy to spot, all you have to do is pay attention and don’t auto-click the FOLD button preflop. When you face one or more limpers, consider the likelihood that an isolation raise will take the pot down or limit the callers to just one. If isolating is a good option, choose the bet sizing that will accomplish your goal of taking down the pot or gaining value from a solo limp/caller.
Now it’s your turn to pull the trigger and Scooby-dooby-doo (scrappy-dappy-doo Scooby-dooby-doo, shaba-daba-doo, dippy-dippy-doo) something positive for your poker game.
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