Isolating Limpers - Online Poker Isolation Raise

Definition: Isolating the limper is the term for raising a preflop limper(s) in order to take the initiative and play against a seemingly weak poker player.

A lot of people without much holdem experience will not isolate players enough, inversely I have seen a lot of regulars take this concept to far and isolate with far to many hands, you can potentially isolate with a lot of hands (depending on table conditions) but a lot of regulars isolate in bad spots and actually burn money by doing so. In the following article you will be able to take away, what hands should I isolate the limper with, what hands should I overlimp with, what size should my isolation raise be and then ill talk to you about the game dynamics that effect isolating.

Who are the limpers?

The players who open limp tend to be the weak players. They will usually have a large VPIP and a low preflop raise percent. These players are more likely to be passive. This is where the profitability from isolating limpers comes in. The profit from isolating comes from when the other players fold and the fishy limper calls. Not only will you usually have positional advantage on your opponent, they will be playing fit or fold on the flop, so every time they miss the flop (About 2/3 of the time) they will fold to your continuation bet. In essence, you are building a pot and creating dead money so that you can take it away on the flop. These players will also play there hands very faceup usually giving you further chances to take away the pot on the turn and river when good barrel cards come.

Isolation raise size?

As a standard I would recommend raising 3 big blinds + 1 big blind per limper when you are in position. When you are out of position you should raise 4 big blinds + 1 big blind per limper. So for example, you have 2 limpers and you are sitting in the small blind with Ace Jack, I would raise to 6 big blinds. If I was on the button with the same hand, I would raise to 5 big blinds. The reason you raise more out of position is two fold. First of all, because you are out of position, you want to encourage the pot to be headsup only, you will most likely be raising hands like AJ KQ AQ KJ type hands that play much better with one caller instead of multiple callers. The second reason is simple, because you are raising out of position, you are likely to have a strong hand range than if you are raising say on the button, for that reason, you want to get more money into the pot because you have a better hand.

Isolation raise size?

As a standard I would recommend raising 3 big blinds + 1 big blind per limper when you are in position. When you are out of position you should raise 4 big blinds + 1 big blind per limper. So for example, you have 2 limpers and you are sitting in the small blind with Ace Jack, I would raise to 6 big blinds. If I was on the button with the same hand, I would raise to 5 big blinds. The reason you raise more out of position is two fold. First of all, because you are out of position, you want to encourage the pot to be headsup only, you will most likely be raising hands like AJ KQ AQ KJ type hands that play much better with one caller instead of multiple callers. The second reason is simple, because you are raising out of position, you are likely to have a strong hand range than if you are raising say on the button, for that reason, you want to get more money into the pot because you have a better hand.

Types of hands to isolate

The best hands to isolate are the hands that play better with a smaller pot to stack ratio and play better in a headsup pot. These tend to be big cards, hands like any two broadway, such as QJ QK AK AJ AT A9 etc. In position, you can isolate very wide, hands as weak as T7 offsuit are fine to isolate against a poor player.

Limping behind / overlimping

Hands that are better to limp behind are hands that do well with a large pot to stack ratio. These are hands that make straights, sets, flushes etc. IE hands that play well in a multiway pot. For example, small pocket pairs and suited connectors. Your goal is to get in cheap to see a flop and if you flop a strong hand or strong draw, play it fast by betting and raising, if you donít flop much, just toss your hand into the muck.

Game dynamics

At low stakes you will frequently be able to get away with isolating a lot. As you move up, you will have to hold back on isolating the limpers because you will frequently start getting exploited by good players. What I mean by this is, good aggressive players will notice you are isolating a wide range of hands in position and start 3-betting you with a wide range of hands as a bluff and wider for value. In essence, you are creating even more dead money for them to try and steal. Anytime you have players who have demonstrated they can 3-bet a lot on your left, tighten up a little bit so your range is that much stronger. After a while these players should notice that you are getting out of line less and your credibility will go up again.

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