Basically everyone seems to advice against limping in, and I do get the logic behind it (or at least I think). But currently my goal is to make a little bit of money at the microstakes and there it often seems beneficial to limp in (currently I only played for play-money at the lowest possible stakes, but I assume people at the microstakes play roughly the same).

The problem is that raising with a good hand doesn't cause people with bad hands to fold, and on the flop they often improve their hand. Moreover, since people often play with bad hands, I recently started to limp in with mediocre hands, hoping to get two pairs or three of a kind. I then raise slowly and only at the end (when I hope someone has a high pair) I raise really big and people with a high pair usually call. This also goes in against the advice of not slow-playing. Basically I believe that limping in at the microstakes is good because making two pair (even if the pair are low) is already quite a lucrative hand at the microstakes, but you don't want to risk a lot of money making these two pair (and often all other players limp in as well, making this strategy possible).

It seems to me that this is quite profitable, but it goes in against literally all advice I have read so far. If I would have followed the common advice of not limping, I would have missed out on a few really big pots, while not saving that many big blinds.

So why is everyone against limping? I would like to clear this problem up before I go to the real-money microstakes.


Limping is mostly bad at any limit.

David said a couple of very important and basic things about the downside of limping, limping first in is bad, and you loose a lot of equity in a hand by limping rather then raising.

David covered the downsides of limping so I won't rehash that.

Limping early, the problem is the earlier you limp the worse your limp is. Simply because you will get involved with more raises and your going to always be playing a hand out of position. You simply have less information to play with. Your simply going to have to lay down more hands your invested in when you limp early. This is a huge drag on expectation.

Instead of going through middle and late position limping, let me just say when you should limp. You should limp when you have lower ranking hands, medium and small connectors. Strange suited hands where the only thing good about the hand is that it is suited. You should only limp with these hands when you have a lot of players in and the chance of someone raising behind you is low.

The later you are the more one should tend toward raising rather then limping when you are still the first one in. When I see some call on the button when they are first in I can't help mumbling to myself "idiot".

If everyone has limped and your on the button you want to raise with any two cards more then you want to limp. You have three players that might have a good hand, the first player to call, and the blinds. The advantage you gain by having raised in position brings the EV on any two cards way up. You have many more ways to win the pot then by making a hand. If your raise takes some players off the hand you have dead money in the pot which is always good, the more that fold the better for you. What constitutes a lot of plays just depends on the field your playing against. The more people are likely to call the less you want to raise. The more people are likely to fold the more you want to raise. With a loose calling field it is more prudent to fold a lot of hands and limp more often with the middling hands.

I know your question is about micro-stakes. But asking in the context of the stakes of the game only leads to someone making assumptions about the game. While it is true that micro-stakes games tend to be loose affairs, a player really needs to base any decision they make in a hand on the facts of the day. The conventional wisdom in any game is the looser the game, the better tight aggressive play is. The tighter the game the better simply aggressive play is (loose aggressive play). There is no game where loose passive play holds any kind of advantage. However often a trapping play that looks loose and weak may be the best play in a particular hand. In a micro stakes game you will be playing nice tight aggressive poker most of the time. That does not mean that is the best way to play any particular micro stakes game you might sit down in.


Limping is not bad by default. There are plenty of situations where it's profitable to limp speculative hands like connectors and small pairs against previous limpers. Being the first one to limp often is, though.

When you raise, you are having a chance to win the hand right there. While just stealing the blinds doesn't seem much, winngin 1.5BB is doing much better than the average hand (even more so as stacks get shorter). You'll rarely have that expectation by limping

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.