# Gap Theory. Good, Bad, what is it?

#### titans4ever

##### Legend
Silver Level
Gap theory - you need a better hand to play against someone who has already opened the betting than you would need to open yourself.

I am having a hard time getting use to using the gap theory in tournament poker. I am still afraid that the people behind me are holding a monster or better cards than me.

Example:
Full 10 person holdem table. You are in middle position (5th to act) and it is folded to you. You have QJ and you should raise. You are stating that I think this hand can hold up against the five remaining hands.

You are suppose to loosen up you starting hands the later you are in positon and the first to act to bet.

Epiphany

As I am writing this i just dawned on me why.

If your 7th to act and it has been folded to you, you can now look at the table as just playing 4 handed at a final table. When playing against just 3 people you should open up your starting requirements.

#### Grumbledook

##### Legend
Silver Level
Its a very important thing to get a grasp of.

Its also wise to try and work out which of your opponents are aware of it as well, then use that fact to your advantage.

#### Bill_Hollorian

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
This is not the gap concept...This is the concept of postion.

The gap concept states that you need a better hand to CALL with, than you need to RAISE with.

The reasoning is that a call can only win in a showdown, in other words your hand must be the best hand to win.
When you raise you can win with an inferior hand by having them fold, not wanting to call the raise.
Raising= 2ways tow in, with a less strong holding.
Calling= 1 way to win, by holding the best hand.

There for, it takes a stronger hand to call a bet than to raise it.

Bill
Position is the concern of opponents still left to act.

#### titans4ever

##### Legend
Silver Level
The gap theory is used to make your decision to call/check fold or raise. Position just determines the amount if info you can collect on others before you decide.

Position is the key to holdem beacuase the later you are the easier the decision can be.

The gap concept is the perception of your opponents strength based on position and their actions. Gap concept is what allows you to try and decide what the other person is holding. Position just allows you to see more peoples action before you :toilet: or get off the pot.

Does that make sense or am I just thinking too much?!?

#### Bill_Hollorian

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Here is the POSITION thing in my humble opinion.
If you are early to act, you can not play hands because folks may raise behind you. You have less information as to who is coming and who may raise, and what the action maybe behind you. Ther for, if you are going to play from an ealy position you need a hand that will stand up to any action from players to your left. As you get closer to the button, there is less of a chance of action making your hand unplayable, so you may enter pots more liberally.

The gap theory states that a better hand is required to call than to raise.
For example if someone bets and you have AA, there is safety in calling. You have the best hand so there is less worry. You may choose to raise, but you are safe to call. Your hand is thht good, if you called all the way you are stating that you believe you can win a showdown. If on the other hand you have AQo calling a bet gives you concern. The possible holdings of the betting player may have you beat. A call serves no purpose and your hand is vulnerable. A raise however could get your opponent off of many of the possible holdings, giving you an extra way to win by him folding. Also, you decrease the action behind you. They would be coldcalling a bet, and a raise, which gains you better postion.

So the gap theory states that it takes a stronger hand to CALL with, than it does to RAISE with.
(by the way I am not condoning raising with AQo as a general practice. It is there to demonstrate a point)

Great topic and posts, I live for this stuff!

Bill

S

#### StackThemUp

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
hi,
I'm in agreement with Bill here, i've read David Sklansky's 'Tournament for Advanced Players' many times now. Another good example is this:
Your in middle position and no one has raised..you hold J 10, now refering to Sklansky's book he recommends a raise here due to the fact no one so far has shown strength, raising shows strength and therefore can get people to fold. However your still in the same position but someone has raised and someone has called that raise, now you should fold J 10 because 2 people have shown strength and you want to avoid conflict with people who show strength. By mastering the GAP concept you avoid conflicts with people who show strength and take advantage of people who show weakness. The GAP range can vary due to the type of players at your table, if you feel some are playing loose then the GAP shortens are you are able to call more hands than if the table was playing tight.
I hope that gives another perspective on the GAP concept.
John

#### bubbasbestbabe

##### Suckout Queen
Silver Level
That's something I didn't know. It makes sense to me that you need the strength to call than raise. I think I will incorperate that in my play. roud:

#### Four Dogs

##### Legend
Silver Level
"The gap theory states that a better hand is required to call than to raise."

While I agree with what your saying Bill, I'm not sure that's exactly what the Gap Concept says. Sklankys exact quote in Inside Tournament Poker for Advanced Players is "...you need a better hand to play against someone who has already opened the betting than you would need to open yourself." If the pot has been raised ahead of you, your starting hand requirements need to be greater due to the implied strenth of your opponents hand. He goes on to say that the gap grows or shrinks depending apon how loose or agressive the raiser is. Very tight = huge gap, very loose = small gap or no gap.
Why is this? Weighed against the playing style of your opponent, his bet can be used to assess his strength. When opening the pot you can be fairly sure that nobody before you has a stronger hand. If the pot has been raised ahead of you, some doubt has been introduced as to the relative strength of your own hand and therefore you must be more certain of it's potential to enter, whether you raise or just call. Even though position has little to do with the Gap Concept, it certainly is part of your decision making process. In late position in an unopend pot, you can be very certain that your raising hand is relatively strong.

S

#### StackThemUp

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Isn't all of that what i said in my previous post?:laugh: Just in a better language? By the way for anyone who hasn't read that book...do so! Very informative if a little math heavy.
John

#### titans4ever

##### Legend
Silver Level
I think we have the basics but nowhere in the book does it say what to do in this situation. They always talk about being the first person to act.

What do you do in middle position if you have KQ suited and there is a limper or two in front of you. Fold/call/raise? How do you apply the gap concept to this situation. A limp is a sign of a middle tier hand that hopes to see cheap.

Fold because you are probably even so why risk chip.
Raise to show strength and push.
CAll just to see if a flop improves your hand without investing more into the pot.

S

#### StackThemUp

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Hi,
I have just found a little gem of a hand calculator...you can type in a specific hand against a range of other possible hands that opponents might hold.

An interesting stat i got was that against 2 players K Q off is roughly 45% to win preflop against any 2 random hands. This is an amazing tool..another example you can use for it is if you know what kind of hand your opponent might have but not too sure, you can enter a range of possibilities. It calculates equitys from over 6 billion hands!!! Amazing stuff when you think about it.

So to put this into context of GAP theory, if you roughly know what your opponent might hold you can attain whether or not to call or raise or fold.
If anyone wants the site for this send me a private msg,not sure i'm allowed to put it in here..truely guys,if your serious about poker download this beast.
john

#### Four Dogs

##### Legend
Silver Level
StackThemUp said:
Isn't all of that what i said in my previous post?:laugh: Just in a better language? John
Yeah, pretty much.

#### Bill_Hollorian

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Fair enough, I think we are talking about the same thing, just a difference in semantics. But let me ask you guys something.

Everyone is playing ABC poker, UTG+3 open raises everyone folds to you, on the button. What is the minimum hand required to call the open raise, and what is the minimum hand to re-raise, and why?

Bill

S

#### StackThemUp

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Hi Bill,
That question has many answers...how many times has this player raised before? Chip stacks come into it,what size raise is it to relation to my stack? Few more details first Bill then i'll answer. Stage of tournament needed too
John

#### Bill_Hollorian

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
StackThemUp- good point

Can we make it a cash game? Its limit 5-10 holdem. You each have 500 in front of you. That will help eliminate some variables. The player play ABC poker, nothing fancy at all. If he raises he has the range of hands Sklanskey defines as playable from certain postions. So if he raises, what range of hands do we put him on.
Then, what minimum hand can we call with?
Then what minimum hand can we raise with.

Bill

S

#### StackThemUp

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Hi Bill,
I read Sklansky's book and i was amazed to see he suggested folding AK off if you face a raise! Even if the player is tight i'm never gonna fold AK to a raise (especially in limit)
I would call with high suited connectors ( J10 QJ etc). How about you?