Not every hand you raise preflop is profitable. If you raise pocket Q’s preflop and have TT, you are making a passive play. You want a raise on the flop to test the weakness of your hand. If you have raised AA preflop the raise has less strength than if you are limping with 99. Most players are going to think you have AA and are less likely to think you are weak. You can also limp in with low suited cards. Limping with low suited cards is another secret the advanced players have to master. It is a very strong play since you are not going to win the 7meter pots. Why? You are just waiting for a situation to get you to a better position.
Another situation to use limping is when you are against two or three other players. If you limp with small suited cards and get heads up, you are probably behind in the hand. But if you limp with AA and have 4 other callers, you are probably ahead. The point is, in two- or three-handed limit games you need to find a situation to use limp against two or three other players. Once you find a limped situation, you can make a big raise to steal the blinds. You are trying to become so skilled with pocket pairs that the other players can’t nullify you with a raise.
Another situation to use limp is when you limp preflop with small suited cards. If you are called and missed the flop, you limp, no matter what cards you hit. You are not urged to do this, and if you don’t hit, don’t commit a lot of chips. This is similar to the situation on the button in a multi-way pot. You don’t want to drive everyone else out of the pot with a big raise. In this situation you are in the same situation as before you limp, but now you don’t want a lot of players to see the flop. You are trying to get them to commit their chips so you can steal the blinds.
Limping can also be used for semi-bluffing. Let’s say you have 6-7 and the flop is 7-5-4. You are going to semi-bluff against a player with a lot of diamonds that checks to you. If you hit your cards, you can continuation bet and take the pot. If you don’t hit, the turn or river won’t hurt you that much and you can get out of the way. This is also true against one specific player. You can’t bluff the player with the diamonds against J-10 or K-10, for example.
But what can you do if you’re up against more than two players?
Well, you can’t play wild. Always raise with the best hand. Never check or call with any hand. That’s part of the advanced skill of being able to determine what the best way to play against an opponent is. You can’t go hunting for one specific opponent. You have to protect your big hands and to strike at their weaknesses.
But what are some of the best hands to play against multiple opponents? Three of the top four pairs are: Q-7, K-7, J-10, and A-9. Also, there are some specific hands that you should consider playing more often against more opponents: A-J, A-T, K-Q, and K-J.
Against a single opponent, you can play all of these hands. But if there are more than 2 opponents, you have to decrease the amount of hands you play. It’s alright to play low pocket pairs against opponents with rags, but you’ll want to pick your spots and adjust more often.
These are some of the basic options you should consider when playing against multiple opponents. You should still pick your spots and adjust accordingly, but with more opponents your reads get more difficult.