Gap Concept

When to Raise With a Poker Hand You Wouldn’t Normally Play

In poker tournament play – depending on table conditions – it can be a good idea to implement ‘the Gap Concept’. In an absolute nutshell, it means that your hand value goes up as more people fold towards you.

So a hand you could raise with after three or four folds to you might not be a hand that you would even call a raise with.

Poker Strategy Tip

Hot Tip: Clearly you can’t do this with just any cards (unless you like that kind of thing!) but cards that aren’t usually too profitable can be used to your advantage in this situation.

Let’s say that you are holding pocket fives in middle position around a six seater table in a live poker tournament. If someone before you raises then depending on who they are, you may not normally call this raise and seriously consider folding. But by using the gap concept if three or more players have folded to you then you should consider a raise here as your hand has now gone up in strength. This will help clear the field and build the pot, not to mention that when you turn over your pocket fives it will keep people guessing in future. One note on this, if others at the table are also aware of the gap concept then watch out for a re-raise.

So to summarise, it’s raising with a poker hand that you wouldn’t normally call a raise with if a ‘gap’ has developed in front of you.

Another Example

Gap concept raiseLet’s say that you are in late position and three or more players fold to you in a texas holdem poker tournament. This has created a gap. You look down to see 56s, not one of your normal hands that you would raise with, however using the gap concept you decide to crank it.

This play is another way of mixing up your poker game, clearly you’re not just going to raise with anything (unless on a stone cold bluff!! Hehe) but when you turn over your 56s after making your straight or flush, the people paying attention will think “he raised with that!?” – keeping them guessing next time you raise.

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