Overlimping – when it’s our turn to act, there are players who have already limped in, and we also limp – is a subject that is almost frowned upon these days. Having said that, there’s a semblance of justification because one of either simply folding or raising tends to be the most appropriate way to go much of the time. However, due to the fact that’s just not fashionable in the modern game to limp or call, overlimping as a tactic has been left too much on the sidelines, and there are instances where it’s not only a perfectly decent option but, in fact, the best one.

Overlimping with Small Pocket Pairs

Small pocket pairs – let’s say from 22 to 55 – give us a good opportunity to make the most of overlimping as a viable and potentially profitable strategy. In a typical situation where there are two early position limpers, for instance, and we’re in the Cutoff with 55 and a reasonably deep stack, ‘just’ limping is the most suitable way to handle this situation. Raising here would be a mistake becaise we’d be putting in more chips to build a larger pot with a hand that oprobably isnt going to be the best and which won’t perform well under pressure. The main reason to raise would anyway be to take down the pot, but in many games populated by average recreational players who don’t like folding (indeed – who are happy to call) this is very unlikely, and we’d simpl;y find ourselves bumping up a pot for our opponents to ultimately fight for after we’ve bowed out with our lowly 55 (on even a random board) as soon as anyone bets. And that’s without the possibility that our raise could quite easily be met with a 3-bet that we weouldnt be justified in calling.

Folding, meanwhile, is a bit of a wimpy, negative play, given the potential that small pocket pairs offer. It’s just too ggod an opportunity to give up, and if we got into the habit of folding small pocket pairs because we’re afraid of being 3-bet, or – worse – because we’re not prepared to make the modest investment of a limp, then we’re in the wrong game.

Once we’ve overlimped and see the flop, it’s important to be practical and, if we’ve failed to connect in a bog way, step aside and avoid getting into fights we have little chance of winning. 55 on a K 8 2 board, for instance, simply isnt worth either the hassle or the chips we’d need to stay in the hunt. Even if the board doesn’t look so intimidating it’s easy to be fooled into thinkoing ouir prospects are better than they are, so a good does of pragmatism comes in handy in order to avoid spewing chips. Set-mining works only if we can minimise investment so that when we win big the reward makes up for how much it cost when we missed. Remember – we hit a set only 1 in 8 times – hence my saying earlier that we need to have a big enough stack to give us the implied odds to make it worth our while when we catch our set – otherwise overlimping wouldn’t be justified.

We don’t need a strong hand or a small pocket pair to overlimp. Whjere the table dynamic is such that there tend to be multi-way pots, we can overlimp woith suitable specualtive hands that do well in such situations. But generally overlimpong should be the exception rather than the rule, and we should acquaint ourselves through experience and observation with the kinds of hands and situations that best suit this neglkected strategy.

Good luck at the tables!

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About the Author


AngusD switched from pro chess to poker two decades ago and has been professionally involved in the game on numerous levels since the very beginning of online poker, including playing as a poker ambassador both online and at major festivals around the globe. He has written much about the game over the years, and brings to YPD a wealth of experience in all aspects of the poker industry. Meanwhile, his many years on the pro chess circuit (he’s an International Master and prolific author) afford him an interesting perspective on the psychology of poker.

Latest changes

The last changes of the page “When Overlimping is Justified” was made by AngusD on November 05, 2021