Limped Pot Betting Strategy

So you limped in because you felt you had the necessary direct and implied odds. But instead of flopping a nut hand, you end up with a Tier 2 or 3 holding. This is a situation in which to exercise extreme caution. Your range of hands for committing on the flop here needs to be especially narrow.

Do not be seduced into thinking you need to commit with 98o on a 955 board or A8 on an Axx board. There is one cardinal rule that you must ingrain in your thought process before heading off to play. In limped pots, you need a much stronger post-flop hand in order to stack off, because there is a lot wider range of hands in play.

For example, take the 955 board. In a raised pot, you would not expect there to be that many hands connectingwithitasalotofplayerswouldnotbecallingwithmany5xhands. However,inalimped pot they could easily have hands as weak as 52, A5, and a whole slew of other complete trash that were cheaply trying to see a flop.

The moral of the story here is to never go broke in a limped pot without the nuts or near nuts. Even strong flopped draws are not that great, because you probably have very little fold equity with which to shove over a raise. Therefore, you should almost exclusively commit with strong made hands in limped pots.

Blind Play In Limped Pots

In multi-way limped pots, there are a few standard plays I suggest making from the blinds after the flop comes down. Most of the time you will be check-folding, but under certain conditions, you will be value betting or value bluffing.

In limped pots, pre-flop ranges will generally be weak, so the majority of the time everyone will flop next to nothing. Therefore, if I catch bottom pair, I like to lead out and try to pick up the dead money in the pot immediately. Unless someone has flopped top pair or better, the bet will often pick up the pot uncontested. Often you will be able to get better mid-pair type hands to fold, since it is multi- way, and you have shown strength from the blinds.

If you flop any kind of top pair hand, you will want to bet-fold for three streets of value. If raised, make sure that you are willing to lay it down. You almost never want to continue versus a reraise in a limped pot without at least two pair.

With a flopped tier 1 hand, the last thing you ever want to do is check. On many boards, there will be some kind of gutshot straight draw or flush draw possible, and you do not want to give a free card. Since the pot will be small, you generally want to bet large in order to try and build a big enough pot to get all in by the river.

In limped pots, the dynamic for playing draws is very different than it is in raised pots. You will not be able to put people on ranges, so gauging fold equity is a crap shoot at best. It is my feeling that check-calling and hoping to see a multi-way turn is best to try to catch someone making a 2nd best nut hand against you.

If you flop a strong draw to the nuts, then I advocate taking a passive line and check-calling a reasonable bet on the flop and then check-folding the turn if you miss and do not have the necessary direct odds. There is really no reason to try to get all in with a draw in a limped pot since you have so little invested.

However, with marginal draws, I prefer a bet-fold line for three streets. You have a chance to improve, but very little showdown value. And three bets will look strong coming from a player in the blinds. Even if you don’t improve, a river bluff will normally pick up the pot a profitable amount of the time. The overall theme here is to attack limped pots aggressively, while remaining mindful of the increased relative hand strength of your opponents.

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