re: Poker & What is the best approach in this situation?
You just described my average table.
These games are hugely proffitable, you can get way more edge in these games than you can online (online you can multi table which is more proffitable, but the point is that for a single table you can make huge money on that $1/$2 table).
Limping: Good and bad. Online you should almost never limp but in these games you should be doing a fair amount of limping. Particularly from LP which allows you to play a wide range of hands (if you're good at post-flop play, if not, don't limp). You should only be limping your weak hands from LP, this is exploitable and sharks will catch on but keep doing it until they adapt and then stop, you'll spend more time limping weak hands than not. EP also requires a lot of limping though, but with AJ type hands.
Say you're UTG, pick up AJ and raise it to $6, half of the table is going to call and you're OOP with a marginal hand with a big pot in the middle (very bad), now say you raise $15, one or two players call and your OOP against a range that's more dangerous to you (AK-AJ, 88-JJ, plus a surprising amount of suited connectors and a couple of raggy hands) and again with a big pot, which is bad for you. Instead what you should be doing here is limping, try to take a cheap flop and win a small pot with TPTK or similar, note that you don't want to protect your hand here, be willing to get outdrawn and go into check-call mode with a value bet on the river if you're ahead. If you're raised pre-flop then it's opponent specific, if they're a strong player I'll fold regardless of whether their range is premium hands only or rags 2/3 of the time (being OOP = expensive), if they're weak and their range is premiums only then I fold but if they're passive post flop or just a fish with a wide range then I'll call.
: Do bluff but don't... the sharks you can bluff, but you wont be getting into many pots against them unless they're LAG's, in which case you're going to want position on them and to be raising them fairly light. Typically I don't bluff many regs just because I don't play hands against them, TAG regulars can be bluffed but if they raise at any point I fold any hand that isn't ahead and if they're not raising they're usually folding anyway, LAG players whether they're good or not I don't bluff so much as play a wider range more aggressively (note that your range of hands should widen but the range with which you're willing to play for stacks should not). Fish I bluff occasionally but regret it most of the time, last night I knew this guy had a pair of sixes for bottom pair, and a good TAG had complete air so I bet my flush draw quite hard and got called by the fish, spiked an 8 for second bottom pair on the river and value bet it, looked clever for the value bet but was an idiot for the bluff. Note that short stacked players can be bluffed though, strong players will know that they can't fold once they have enough chips in the middle compared to the size of their remaining stack but some fish will call a pre-flop raise of 25% of their stack and fold to a flop bet where a strong player would either fold pre-flop or shove. Learn to figure out which is which.
Value betting/Slow playing: Against strong players you want to check the best hand quite a bit to make them think that we're competing for kickers or second/third pair sometimes, a lot of play against strong players tends to be with marginal hands and you can get quite a lot of money in if you check a hand where they don't expect you to. They're not giving you many streets of value without a big hand otherwise. Be aware that this can give them free cards and you're going to have some tough decisions when a free card completes a draw and they start playing back.
Against fish, NEVER slow play, if I flop quads, I'm betting. Not big, but I'm betting, okay, maybe I check the flop with quads (maybe), but I'm betting the turn and river. ALWAYS price out draws if the hand they're drawing to beats you, fish will overpay on implied odds
which may not be there. Value bet the fish like crazy, this is where your money comes from. If there's a shark and a fish in the hand with me and I hit a big hand and if I were to bet the maximum that the fish will call then the shark would know what I have, I'll bet that amount anyway because the strong player is only paying me off (if I bet smaller) for one bet sometimes and when he does put more money in then he's got the best hand. Bet for value against the fish only, if the shark makes a mistake and pays you then great but don't try and get value from him if there's a fish around too.
Premium hands: Bet big pre-flop, I still make a $15 pre-flop raise with most of my big pocket pairs and don't do this with anything else (except specific circumstances, but there's at least an 80% chance I have big pockets here). If it's raised before me then I'll make a large re-raise, if there's a lot of action before me then I'll raise big. If it's just one raiser and not much else, I'll only raise about 2.5x their raise, if there's a lot of action then I raise like 4x with AA/KK and QQ/JJ is situational. I play nothing else this way. Initially I planned to adjust when people adapted, and sharks do adapt but the value from the fish is too good to not play it this way. It does probably allow me to bluff the sharks a bit by playing other hands the same way, but as I already said, strong TAG players have a hand if they're raising and I'm not bluffing into a strong hand, LAG players I'm not setting up a multi-street bluff against because that's way too dangerous, so I really don't use this as a bluff very often.
Maybe will add more later, I've just wasted 10 minutes more than I really have so I hope some of this has been helpful.