Another guide for newbies that explains why your range should change when somebody has raised in front of you.
Today we look at a relatively old piece of poker advice that still has a lot of merit.
The Gap Concept was first devised by David Sklansky and it states that you need a better hand to call a raise with than you would need to open a pot with a raise.
If you are the first person to open the action after the people before you have folded, you can do so with a much wider range than if somebody had entered the pot before you.
Let’s use a simple example, let’s say you are on the Cutoff and everyone has folded to you. Your opening range might be this:
But instead, what if the UTG player has opened to 2.5x and the next players all fold? What should your range be now? Perhaps something like this:
Why? Because your opponent is likely opening with a range like this:
You need a hand for showdown
Why is it that we have to play a tighter range from the same position when somebody else has raised? Because we have more information, and we now know that UTG has a decent hand.
We need a stronger hand because we now know we are up against a strong range. If we were the one opening the action, we can justify weaker hands because we have taken the initiative, we can make our opponents fold better because we look strong.
We cannot make our opponents fold by calling a raise and it is going to be hard for us to make UTG fold, which means our best shot at winning the hand is by having the best one at showdown. This doesn’t mean we have to fold all our weak hands because speculative hands like suited connectors can win us a big pot, but it certainly means we should fold our lowest ranking, unconnected hands and hands that are likely dominated.