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When to limp call before the flop

Limping in no limit holdem is generally going to be a bad play. If your hand is not good enough to be raising with, then just fold. That being said, there will be situations when playing cash games where limp/calling before the flop is a viable play, and we’ll discuss this particular situation in more depth in this article.

First of all, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of raising before the flop, to allow us to see the merits of utilizing the limp/call play.

 When you raise before flop, you're introducing new elements to the game that don’t exist when you decide to just call, namely continuation betting as a bluff, double barrel bluffing, and opponents over-valuing their hands because of your aggressive image.

By taking the passive line of limping into pots, you lose the initiative in the hand and thus lose the ability to c-bet bluff. You also don’t create a reckless image that allows you to get paid off. So with that being said, it can be said that there is no real reason why you would want to limp into pots when there is so much to gain from raising pre flop?

Well, that’s a valid point, but in deep-stacked cash games, although incorporating c-bet bluffs can work successfully, they tend to be less effective in loose games with weaker players, because there are many players calling your raises who are calling you on the flop with bottom pair and so forth.

Also, in softer games with lots of weaker players, there really isn’t a need to create an aggressive image in order to get paid off, since you will more often then not get paid off regardless, even if you have been sitting there folding all of your hands for the last hour.

With all of this considered, limping speculative hands that can hit the flop hard does have it’s advantages. By limping with hands such as small pocket pairs and suited connectors, it allows you to see a flop fairly cheap to try and hit a monster. If you don’t, you can easily get away from the hand without investing that much into the pot.

In cash games when you’re always have 100BB and the implied odds are huge, by limping in with small pairs, suited connectors, and the like, you also give yourself a chance to continue in the hand when someone raises, which is going to happen with some frequency. Had you opened with a raise and another player wakes up with a hand such as JJ+/AK and decided to 3 bet really big to isolate, then you are no longer getting the odds to make the call, and you would have to fold.

By limping into the pot, if a player happens to raise, generally they are going to be doing so with a good hand, so if there is at least 1-2 other callers. Limp/calling in these spots makes a lot of sense, since you are now getting favorable implied odds to make the call. What your required to call in relation to their stack is smaller, since you limped into the pot, and with the other callers, when you do make a monster hand on the flop, you are much more likely to get paid off. It’s even more favorable to be limp/calling when you have position, since you will be closing the action and will be last to act on the flop, giving you a huge advantage over the pre-flop raiser, and allowing you to take down pots even when you’ve whiffed.