Mind the Gap


I busted the 6max event at the Midwest Poker Classic last night in 4th place. I bluffed off the last of my chips, but I don’t feel bad about it because I think my opponent would have folded most of his range and I had outs when I was called. I noticed that many of my opponents, even otherwise solid players were making the same mistake during the event.

Many of them just didn’t have a big enough gap between the hands they raised with and the hands they called with. They generally understood that you need to play more hands when you are short handed, they just didn’t understand how to expand their ranges correctly.

Take a look at this video, which is not only a good example of the Gap Concept, which I first learned from reading David Sklansky’s books, but is also one of the craziest ways I have seen a tournament end.

In short, the hands are like this –

UTG (chip leader) – KK – Limp for 200,000, call All-in

Button – KQo – All-in for 700,000

Small Blind – ATo – All-in for 7,500,000

Big Blind – 88 – All-in for 1,300,000

Mistakes that were made in this hand –

1. When the chip leader limps UTG when the blinds are huge, you should always be suspicious of a limp-reraise. The small blind made a tremendous mistake thinking that he should put his stack, by far the second largest stack, in the pot after the chip leader limped. This was the largest mistake by far. ATo isn’t a strong enough hand to put that many chips at risk with two short stacks in play.

2. The big blind had already seen a limp UTG and two all-ins. His 88 is rarely in good shape here, and he may very well be able to fold and end up with second place money. If he wins this hand he is still probably going to end up second or third, so playing the hand is a terribly negative EV choice.

It may also be a mistake for the big stack to limp under the gun because most players will see that as suspicious, but apparently none of his opponents saw it that way. If he limped in that spot at the end of a $200 tournament in Minnesota he would never get three all-ins behind him. Never.

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