Poker Tournaments: Gap Concept

Posted by nick_niesen on October 26th, 2010

Sometimes in tournaments there come times when a special situation arises. One of these situations that a player can encounter during a poker tournament is known under the name of ?The gap concept?.

The terminology of gap concept was first pioneered by an extraordinary poker writer named David Skylansky. This basically means that when you are playing poker you can find yourself in the situation when you just need a hand that is better than the one you are holding in order to play against another player. The opponent would have to open the betting and to play against him your hand has to be better than his hand you would have needed to open the betting yourself. That difference between you actual hand and the hand you would have needed in this case, to call his bet, is the difference that defines the gap concept.

This particular difference varies a lot during poker tournaments. It is defined mostly by the poker playing style of your opponents, whether it is tight or loose. The gap is smaller when others play loose poker and it growth bigger and bigger as they get tighter. This happens mostly because a tight player will not take so many chances but he will also hold on to his hand once he has a good one.

Let?s say you are first in and you hold a hand that doesn?t necessarily pushes you to bet. But another player bets or raises and you have to call or raise his or hers bet in order to prove the power of your hand or just to stay in the game and be able to play it the way you intended in the first place. The gap concept is not always a bad situation. Players can take advantage of this gap and turn the odds around. If your first choice was to semi-bluff, the gap concept gives the opportunity to do so without thinking about it. If you call a bet with a hand you wouldn?t normally do that, it doesn?t mean you will lose the round. It gives you and opportunity to enter further bidding rounds that you normally wouldn?t have entered and it also make you hope and maybe hit a draw with the help of additional cards dealt.

On the other hand, if you are positioned in late position when you play Texas hold?em and you have quite a few chips on your stack, then you can raise and call with lower hands. If you have hands like a small pair or Ace plus another unimportant card you can call a bet without many risks, but be aware of the aggressiveness of players in first position and blinds because if they are very aggressive and call or raise you back a lot of times then you can waste a lot of your stack for a hand that just isn?t worth it.

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