Limped Pots

It’s about time I talked about these because you will see a lot of them at the micros. However, I left a discussion about limped pots for a small section near the end of the book because my advice is to not worry about them too much. You should only get heavily involved in a limped pot if you have two pair or better. Often you will be OOP in a blind which makes things even worse. I see a lot of people regularly spewing in these kinds of spots.

Example:

In the BB you have,

You check and a fish bets pot. You should fold.

It is completely fine to just fold here. If you remember back to the planning out a hand section we talked about assessing the hand as a whole and not in a vacuum. Yes you have top pair but let’s really break down this situation.

  •   You have no kicker, essentially.
  •   The board is very draw heavy and almost every card that falls on the turn that isn’t an 8 or a 5 is going to be scary for you.
  •   You are OOP and will be guessing throughout the rest of the hand.

Always continuing on in spots like this is just throwing away money. You are not going to win these pots anywhere near as much as you think. Even if he just has two overs, he can still make your life miserable on later streets by bluffing high cards or betting when he hits. And you will have no idea what to do. Don’t get sucked into putting a bunch of money in the middle in spots like this.

You should still stab at some limped pots under the right circumstances though. Let’s consider another spot where we have a bit better of a hand.

Example:

In the BB you have,

You should check/call.

I would usually check this flop and call a bet. Leading out is ok as well although it depends on the number of opponents. I think it is hard to get called by worse that often though and I am not very keen to want to build a pot OOP with top pair no kicker.

If you check the flop instead, you create deception about your hand and give your opponent a chance to make a second best hand on the turn. You can also allow him to pick up a draw and charge him the maximum for it.

So for instance if the flop went check/check and the turn card was the,

I would bet pot. Most of the time when you are in a limped pot your opponents will be fish. Fish don’t fold a heart draw or QT here. And they don’t fold a J either because they don’t believe that you can have a K. They will call a pot sized bet just as readily as a half pot bet in either scenario.

The river is pretty basic. You should check the majority of the time unless it comes a 2 or a K, simply because it is hard to get called by worse. Checking also induces worse hands to bluff. And the decision from there just goes back to the discussion about value calling in spots like this based on the player’s AF and the river card.

Poker is all about manipulating the odds into your favor and by playing the hand in this manner, you have forced them to put in money with the worst of it at every step of the way.

Lastly regarding limped pots is the scenario where the SB open limps and you check the big blind. Now this shouldn’t happen very often because if you remember I advocated that you raise with about 50% of your hands when someone does this. But that will still leave 50% of the time when you have some garbage hand and should just check. However this situation is a lot different from the previous two because you have position.

Example:

In the BB you have,

The SB checks.

Now normally I would advocate betting in a spot like this if you catch any piece of the flop. But when you literally have nothing at all I would recommend that you check. You have almost no way to win the pot if called.

But if it gets checked to you again on the turn, you should bet regardless of what card comes. They will fold a large majority of the time. This just goes back to the idea that people don’t check twice with anything good. In fact, usually they don’t have anything at all when they do this. It is just a total white flag and you should make a small bet here and take it down.

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