When it comes to poker, everyone has their favourite strategy but there's one kind of player, in particular, that seems to be the most controversial - Limpers. This absolute-minimum style of play is often considered to be a weak style, usually adopted by newer or less confident players, rather than those with experience. While you'll usually find this kind of player primarily in lower-stakes games or tables, you can come across these players in high-stakes matches both at the casino, and in online poker rooms - but how do you successfully play against them? We're exploring, below.
What Is A Limper?
To better understand how to play against Limpers, you must first understand what they are and what they're most likely to do. While the general definition covers any player who limps behind the rest with small, minimum bets, typically, limpers fall into one of a few categories:
This is the most common type you'll see and is often seen to be the weakest form of play available. Open limping refers to the act of 'calling' rather than placing a bet and while this is easily handled when just one player is limping, when there are a number of players doing the same, this can make for a boring and unprofitable game. An open limp can occur when the action is folded around to us preflop but can also happen when we are the first to act.
Also known as overlimping, this method is when a player limps after the previous player has limped before them. This can be good strategically in some cases, particularly when players are unsure on their hands preflop, but can still pose issues if this play style continues.
Complete (Small Blind Specific)
This is only seen in small blind play. In these cases, a player only has to add an additional 'half' of the big blind to the original small blind in order to call, rather than adding anything more in terms of a bet. While this is a form of limping, it's one that even professionals use so is common on both high and low stakes tables.
Adjusting Your Play
If you find yourself faced with open limpers, then you'll need to adjust your style of play accordingly. Depending on the hand that you have, you'll need to do one of the following:
Raise With Premium Hands
If you find yourself with one of the best hands in the game, then your best strategy is to raise. You don't want to trail behind with limpers, and it will force them to either join in with the betting or fold out of the round completely. You can adjust the amount you bet dependant on how many people in the game are limping for a formula worth trying - for example, add the equivalent of the big blind for every player that has limped to your bet. You want to reduce the number of players you're up against, particularly when they aren't betting much at all, and raising the bet can be an effective way of doing so.
Raise With Medium Hands - Occasionally
If you have speculative or medium-strength hands, play the bet according to the hand. You don't want to risk as much in terms of a bet, but by raising in cases where the hand has a high chance of becoming stronger, you can effectively scare limpers out of the hand.
Limp Behind With Speculative Hands
If you have completely speculative hands, you could opt to join the crowd of limpers - but do this with care. In these cases, if things do work out in your favour, you've bet little and won a lot. Just make sure you know when to fold!
Playing against Limpers isn't necessarily the be-all-and-end-all of your poker game. With a bit of strategic play designed to effectively intimidate these players, you could gain better odds of winning simply through reducing the number of players in any one round. Play smart and set yourself a budget - good luck!