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Every good player knows that one should almost never limp in as the first person to enter the pot preflop. Opening the action by raising provides several advantages including thinning the field, building up the pot, taking initiative, and possibly stealing the blinds. At live low-stakes cash games, however, most people will play very loose and passive, so in most hands, we want to deal with limpers. So what do we do when we are not the first to enter the pot preflop?

Of course, one option we have when we are faced with limpers ahead of us preflop is to simply limp behind. This has the advantage of allowing us to see a cheap flop and keep the pot small currently, but gives us no initiative and less postflop maneuvering opportunities. Thus, it is best to overlimp hands that have high implied odds and play well when stacks are deep relative to the pot. Hands like suited aces, small pairs, and decent suited connectors and gappers all fall into this category.

Another option we have when facing limpers is to make an isolation raise. An isolation raise has the advantage of (hopefully) thinning the field and giving us initiative and maybe even let us take it down right away. It does bloat the pot, however, and forces us to make moves postflop when we miss. Thus, it is best to raise hands that flop well and are likely to be best when they do hit the flop, hands like AT, KT-KQ, QJ, etc. We would of course raise all of our premium hands as well, but much more for value rather than isolation purposes.

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ALL IN Magazine Contributor Zhijian Xing