Chapter 15: Limped Pots

Limped pots (when there are no raises preflop but at least one call) are always difficult for a TAG.  We’re just not used to limping and dealing with hands like top pair no kicker in a small pot.  I believe the solution is very simple: just don’t worry about them very much.

There’s not much value to be made from winning limped pots.  You’ll usually be in the SB or BB in these pots and you should only really get involved if you flop a very big hand.

Certainly don’t bluff in these pots, especially if they’re multi-way.  A semibluff is ok if you have an 8-out or more draw.  Be wary of small flush draws though; a hand like 5s2s on a Ts9s8c board is pretty worthless and should be check/folded.  It’s a classic example of reverse implied odds.

A very good player once told me that if you’re getting all-in on the flop in a limped pot without the nuts, you’re probably doing something wrong.  And he’s right.  While that’s not a rule set in stone, getting all in with bottom two-pair for 100 BBs when you flopped two pair with 64o in the BB is going to be a losing play.

My general guidelines for limped pots are:

When you flop top pair, no kicker, it’s only worth one bet at most.  K3 on a KQ8 flop is a very bad hand.  If there are 2 or more players, I often won’t even put a dime in the pot.

When the SB open completes and you check the BB and he checks to you on the flop, it’s OK to fire out a small bet to take the pot.  Otherwise, never bet into a limped pot with nothing.

If you bet an 8-out draw and get raised, never 3-bet as a semibluff.  Just call and try to hit.  Only with a huge combo draw like an open-ended straight flush draw would I 3-bet on the flop as a semibluff in a limped pot.

Be very careful with two pair.  If you have two pair and there are possible straights or flushes on board, getting all-in is usually very bad.  If you have top two pair on a dry board, then it’s ok to bomb away with bets.

Be careful with trips, no kicker.  A hand like T3 on a TT2 board isn’t going to be very good when you are getting a lot of action.  Proceed with caution.

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09. August 2012 by Bill Vosti
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