Explaining Poker’s “Gap Concept”

by | Jun 23, 2019 | Poker News

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The expression “gap concept” in poker was first seen by David Sklansky, a professional poker author.  

It is roughly defined as the idea that a player should have a better hand to call a raise than to lead the betting.  

The same hand in two different situations will have different values, depending on the position at the table, since an early-position player, if he or she raises, already feels that the cards they hold are better than everyone else’s.  

All things considered, their raise needs to endure the whole table and every player left to act could conceivably hold a superior hand.

Assuming the player raises from late position, though, they're just saying “my hand figures to be best against every other person.”  Thus, an early-position raise holds significantly more weight than a late-position raise since it needs to beat more players.

This is why, when you are confronting a raise, you should consider playing much tighter.  Your hand should be stronger than what you would have needed if you were to lead off the betting with a raise.  This is to compensate for two things: the absence of activity you have from calling, and the way that your opponent is revealing to you that he supposes his hand is sufficiently able to beat the field.

On the off chance that your hand isn't more grounded than the range you would normally use to decide to raise, you are facing the possibility of being dominated by an opponent.  In other words, your opponent may have an unbeatable single card, but he or she holds a stronger kicker that will guarantee the win.

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Playing a dominated hand can be amazingly hazardous, and this is the reason the gap concept was conceived.  Those occasions that you do pick up an Ace, you are going to finish up spending a ton of cash to discover you are second-best in a one-on-one showdown.  Employing the gap concept can help spare you from a significant number of losses.

There’s no way to accurately establish what the gap is in every situation, just like every hand in Texas Hold’em can have different results.  The gap can increase or decrease according to the players, how tight or loose they play and how each pot is opened. The gap will most likely be wider if an opponent is tight, but smaller if he or she is loose and aggressive.

Numerous players feel that “gap concept” is an out of date bit of poker procedure, with no genuine spot in the present forceful diversions, but this isn’t the case.  In spite of the fact that the standard itself has turned somewhat stale, the rationale behind it continues as before. When you call, you need to have a hand that figures to be best – or which has great value against your rival's hand.

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