These days then I make it my goal not to open limp. I do this for several reasons but the first is that I believe limping to be a weak strategy. There are many good things that can happen when you raise and many bad things that can happen when you open limp.
In games like full ring then I can see the logic as to why some players open limp with hands like A-K. They fear having so many players behind them still to speak and they don’t want to escalate a pot out of position. However unless you happen to be on the button then you can never really guarantee having position.
When you raise though then you stop a lot of players from limping behind you or may have taken the initiative to open raise with a hand like a suited connector or a small pocket pair who will now only call with it or fold.
Taking the Lead in The Hand
So when you raise then you make it more difficult for someone else to raise you back as their commitment is more severe in games like no limit Texas hold’em. An average player’s 3/bet range is much narrower than their raising range and so you can safely fold many of your hands to a 3/bet most of the time.
The only time when you would move away from that line is if you were being continually 3/bet by the same opponent. So raising helps you to identify when your opponent has a solid range if they 3/bet whereas if you limp and get raised then you cannot have that same level of confidence.
Another advantage to raising is that it gives you the initiative rather than handing it across to your opponent. If you limp then many players will raise you and if you then play fit or fold on the flop then this is absolutely horrendous strategy.
Lower Implied Odds
Your implied odds will be nowhere near what they need to be and your opponent will be able to represent many hands and force you to fold. Let us say that you limp with 5c-5d and a player with the 8s-7s raises you and everybody folds bar you with you calling.
The flop comes A-K-9 and what can you do in this situation against a pre-flop raise that is representing strength? The best line is to check-fold but this is only the best line given your equity in the hand, the action to date and the fact that you don’t have position.
If this were a six max game then I would certainly have open raised. Now if the player with the suited connector makes a call then you can c-bet the flop and represent the ace.
Nobody Makes a Hand
Despite having the same hand as before now it is you that has the initiative and most of the time neither you nor your opponent will flop anything remotely strong. Another reason to open raise is to drag extra money into the pot while you have the initiative.
If you open limp with A-K and it gets limped by another player while the big blind checks their option then several bad things have happen. Firstly the big blind cannot make a mistake by checking and secondly the other limper has been allowed to enter the pot very cheaply.
However the main difference is in the actual pot size which is only 3.5bb. If you bet two thirds pot on every street and only get one caller then the pot is only around 20bb going into the final river betting round.