The Concept of Gaps in Playing Poker to Win
The Concept of Gaps in Playing Poker to Win – Playing poker is not a very easy thing to do, there are many strategies to be able to win it. The Gap Concept is a poker theory that applies to poker tournaments and cash games. It was first introduced by renowned poker writer David Sklansky and is an essential concept for any serious poker player.
In short, the Gap Concept states that it takes a stronger hand to call for a raise than it does on its own. It sounds pretty obvious at first glance but if you take the time to fully understand this concept, it will really help your game.
Let’s use an example to explain the Gap Concept:
Say you are sitting in the middle position with your hands like AT. Under normal circumstances, it would be acceptable play to open a pot with a raise with this hand. But what if someone in the starting position does a raise first? In this case, you may not want to make a call because the hand is too fragile to play against the early position raiser.
It was a perfect example of the Gap Concept. As you can see, there is a gap between the relative strength of these hands in every situation. When raising, we feel very confident with our hands but when facing a raise, we fold the same hand.
Equally important in the Gap Concept is the issue of position. When your opponent raises first and then it’s your turn to act, it usually means the opponent is playing from an earlier position than you. As you should remember from basic poker strategy, people tend to play stronger hands from starting position.
If we look back at our example from above, the opponent who raised was in the starting position. When a person rises from his starting position, he knows he still has to get past every other person at the table. This starting position raiser believes that his hands are stronger than other people’s hands without even looking at theirs.
Using the Gap Concept
The concept of the Gap will eventually become an instinctive part of your poker game. You know that when the person raises in front of you, you have to have a stronger hand to call the raise. There are always exceptions to the rule, but these are generally safe rules to follow.
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Stealing the Curtain
You can also use the Gap Concept from the point of view of being a raiser. When you are playing late and the table has been folded towards you, you can raise with a wider range of hands.
Because you have a momentum advantage and are fighting fewer hands, you can lift with a weaker hand than you could from any other position. The opposite applies to your opponent who must act out of position. They need to have a stronger hand to defend their blinds because they don’t have the initiative and they will work from the wrong positions.
Keep the Curtain
If you are the one who is in early position and you suspect someone is using the Gap Concept to steal your blinds, you can counter this by reattaching yourself. You know that there is a high chance of them lifting with a weak hand. So you can represent a stronger hand by making a re-raise from the wrong position.