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  • The Open Limping Concept Explained

    If I had to give one single tip to a new poker player, it would be “NEVER open limp.” No matter what Norman Chad might tell you on ESPN, I can assure you that open limping is the single best way to steadily deplete your poker bankroll. Sure, losing a blind or two here and there may not seem like much, but when you lose 200 big blinds over one week you have essentially put two buy ins down the toilet. If burning money is a hobby of yours, however, I would advocate open limping. It will be the perfect way to start the bonfire of your bankroll.

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    Why is open limping so bad?

    You might be extremely angry at me now, thinking that open limping is a fantastic idea. You know what, I agree! Open limping is a sound strategy for Texas Hold ‘Em. In fact, I don’t know of many techniques out there that will better help maximize profits than the open limp. It is essentially a fool proof play. Just look at it, you can invest very little to win a ton! It really is fantastic. Open limping is undoubtedly the most crucial key to success in No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em.


    Hopefully you were able to pick up on the not so subtle sarcasm, but if not that is OK too. I am here to explain exactly why open limping is a terrible choice.

    Thought processes when open limping

    Think about the last time you decided to open limp. I am willing to bet that you either did it with a very mediocre hand or an extremely strong hand. The thought processes that players like to use to justify open limping are usually as follows.

    Mediocre hand: “Ehh, I don’t want to raise here because my hand is weak, but I don’t really want to fold either because I might flop a good hand. Open limping is my best choice, that way I will be able to play the hand, but not lose too much if I miss.”

    Strong hand: “They will never suspect that I have pocket aces if I open limp here. I am the next Phil Ivey.”

    What is wrong with thinking like this?

    Let’s analyze the situation where a player open limps with a mediocre hand first. Their reasoning was simple enough; invest a little to win a lot. If only poker worked like that. There are certainly times where this will happen, maybe you flop top two with a hand like KT against another player who flopped middle two. The problem is that you will only be winning big pots when you completely cooler someone. Being a winning poker player means that you are able to establish and maintain a long term edge.

    What this player should be doing is either folding or raising. Either take the initiative and make a raise or get out of the way. If you open limp you will have no leverage in the hand after the flop. Even if you do hit you will have a tough time building a substantial pot. Now we need to see why you shouldn’t limp with a big hand. Quite simply, it is very transparent. Many players think that they are being extremely clever by limp re raising, but what they are really doing is telling the other player “Hey, I slow played my huge hand, what else could I have? Do you think I would limp re raise with a weak hand?” Whether you are currently the player who thinks that a limp re raise is tricky or the player who reads the limp re raiser like a book, you now know why it does not work.