Dealing with mass limpers

    • PotBox
      PotBox
      Silver
      Joined: 12.01.2016 Posts: 44
      I'm not sure if this would belong in the hand discussions since it doesn't have a specific hand linked to it.

      I've been having trouble dealing with what seems to be a major leak at the small stakes 9 man SnGs. The scenario is I'm either in the blinds or the BTN / CO and there are 4-5 limps behind me. I have a semi strong hand like AQ/AK/JJ so I figured the standard play would be to raise 3x + 4 or 5 blinds to isolate one or two of them. Of course at these stakes it seems like isolations never work as intended since ALL 5 end up calling which is really tilting. Even if I hit top pair I usually lose the pot to some ridiculous two pair combination or a set.

      Should I just accept the fact that I don't have to win very often because of the pot odds or do you think there is a better way to play this? I can't see just limping/checking along being viable since I'm barely ever going to be able to get to showdown without having my hand cracked. Maybe I could make it bigger PF to narrow down the field even more? When I've tried this in the past of course I miss the flop most of the time and some fish calls me down with a small pair making my only option folding when I miss.

      At these stakes it seems like I win more money with higher implied odds hands like pocket pairs and suited connectors and almost lose money with big cards. Is there a better way to deal with these maniac calling stations? I don't get monster hands often enough to just sit around and wait and limping along with them just makes me feel dirty lol. I guess at these stakes I'm just going to have to accept that we're not playing poker.
  • 6 replies
    • Zanardi1
      Zanardi1
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.01.2010 Posts: 5,602
      Hey!

      Of course you cannot change the fact that, after you raise, you will get many callers. So, the only thing that is left is to adjust.

      The reasons your high cards are getting cracked are two:
      • The more players are in the pot, the higher are the chances for anybody to make something on the flop. Let's say you have AA and you play against other 3 villains, who call preflop no matter what. Equilab says it's this:


        Equity Win Tie
        UTG 63.91% 63.69% 0.22% { AA }
        UTG+1 12.01% 11.55% 0.46% { random }
        UTG+2 12.03% 11.57% 0.46% { random }
        MP1 12.05% 11.58% 0.46% { random }


        But let's say it's JJ:


        Equity Win Tie
        UTG 49.16% 48.85% 0.31% { JJ }
        UTG+1 16.93% 16.32% 0.61% { random }
        UTG+2 16.93% 16.31% 0.61% { random }
        MP1 16.98% 16.37% 0.61% { random }


        Not so impressive, isn't it? The upside is that, although you'll win much more rare, you'll win a larger amount. So, it's not all that bad.
      • The villains call to see a flop, hoping that they'll flop a set, or unlikely two pair and beat your high pair. It is called fit-or-fold poker. If, in a multiway pot, a chap gives you action, you can be sure that your aces or, generally, your high pair is beat. Fold it with confidence and wait for another hand. This is also the reason speculative cards seem to work: you are adjusting to the table.


      To play against your villains, a thing I'd try to do is to raise even bigger. If they call no matter what, why not raise it 7x or 8x?You'd get a lower SPR and you can shove on the flop much easier. If they play fit-or-fold, your oversize raise will force them to leave more money on the table before folding, if they maintain their strategy and will cripple their stacks faster.

      Another thing that I'd do is to play even tighter. Why? Again: adjusting to the table. Conventional poker theory says that, on the long run, you make more money by playing the opposite style that the table is playing. A side-effect is that your opponents will eliminate themselves sooner or later and you'll move up in ranks. Although I am a cash player, there are a few times in which I had ITM-ed in a tournament simply because of the fact that I had doubled up then I played way tighter, waiting for other players to eliminate themselves.

      Hope it helped.
    • PotBox
      PotBox
      Silver
      Joined: 12.01.2016 Posts: 44
      Hey, thanks Zanardi. :f_biggrin:

      I think with my big pairs I will definitely start raising a bit larger to give myself more of a shove on the flop type stack left behind.

      That just leaves my unmade hands that I'm still unsure about. Say there are 4-5 limpers and I have AJ/AQ/AK. It seems less viable to raise that large then be left in an awkward situation when I miss the flop. Would it be profitable to just shove PF here? I guess it would depend on the size of the blinds and my stack. Lets say I had around the starting stack (1500) and the blinds are either 40 (which would make the pot 220-260) or 60 (which would make the pot 330-390). I've been making it ~300 but that doesn't effectively squeeze out enough opponents to make it profitable.

      If there are less than 4 limpers I feel more comfortable squeezing but with 4+ I think shoving is probably going to be the best play. I've tried this in the past and sometimes I even get called by ridiculous things like A5s/KQ or small-medium pocket pairs. With the overlay taking a flip in this situation seems way better than raising into an awkward situation. If you do think this is my best option what's going to be the max effective stack to pot ratio that I should consider squeezing instead? Ex. Shove with 1500 into 300 but squeeze for 300+ if my stack is bigger than X times the pot.

      I swear playing against these maniac fish is more complicated than regs :f_confused:
    • Zanardi1
      Zanardi1
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.01.2010 Posts: 5,602
      Originally posted by PotBox
      That just leaves my unmade hands that I'm still unsure about. Say there are 4-5 limpers and I have AJ/AQ/AK. It seems less viable to raise that large then be left in an awkward situation when I miss the flop. Would it be profitable to just shove PF here? I guess it would depend on the size of the blinds and my stack. Lets say I had around the starting stack (1500) and the blinds are either 40 (which would make the pot 220-260) or 60 (which would make the pot 330-390). I've been making it ~300 but that doesn't effectively squeeze out enough opponents to make it profitable.
      Indeed, it matters how many bb you have. If I have many bb, then I'd c/f the flop if I miss and cbet if I hit (and fold to a raise). If I have a low amount of bb, then it's a preflop shove and finger crossing.

      Originally posted by PotBox
      I swear playing against these maniac fish is more complicated than regs :f_confused:
      Not necessarily. You think this way because, at first sight, maniacs are harder to read than regs (if I open shove any two, can you guess what I have?). However, this doesn't make them unbeatable. Just play ultra-tight and, when you get something, put all your money into the middle. The fact that you cannot read the maniacs is what is frustrating you.
    • PotBox
      PotBox
      Silver
      Joined: 12.01.2016 Posts: 44
      Thanks, I think I've gotten things figured out for the most part. It just gets hard when it becomes short handed and one of these maniacs is still in because the blinds are so high and it's hard to make a pair. Their constant calling and raising gets frustrating but I guess I just need to get one pair and go with it. It's just really discouraging when I finally make a pair, go with it, and they hit something better than me. I guess even the fish get lucky sometimes :f_confused:
    • Zanardi1
      Zanardi1
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.01.2010 Posts: 5,602
      This is why I prefer cash games: the blinds are never increasing. Well, when the blinds go up, the luck factor increases. So, in that case, pick a range and shove preflop.
    • fingontinuviel
      fingontinuviel
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.04.2016 Posts: 26
      As a SNG student I'm facing the same issue of having to face many limpers during midgame. I wouldn't mind if I have AQ, but with weaker hands I can't blind steal effectively, especially if there's a calling station around. But without blind stealing, I risk getting blinded out and that sucks even more.