Explanation of Gap
A “gap” is a separation between two of our hole cards. It can be a gap of one, two or three (called one-gaps, two-gaps, and three-gaps respectively). A starting hand which contains a gap can be referred to as a “gapper”.
This is most easily understood when given context with an example.
9h7h – This starting hand has a one-gap between the Seven and the Nine. It is hence referred to as a “suited one-gapper” alongside other holdings such as 86s, T8s and J9s.
Tc7h – This starting hand has a two-gap between the Ten and the Seven. It is hence referred to as a “suited two-gapper” alongside other holdings such as J8o, Q9. And 85o.
Ts6s – This starting hand has a three-gap between the Ten and the Six. It is hence referred to as a “suited three-gapper” alongside other holdings such as J7s, Q8s, and 95s.
Any Hold’em hand with a wider gap is not considered connected.
The term “gap” can also be used to help describe starting hands in other variants. For example, in Omaha the starting hand T876 is described as having “top gap” since the gap in the rundown appears at the top of the rundown structure. (See glossary entry on Rundown.) T986 would be described as “bottom gap” rundown and T865 would be described as “double gap” rundown (since there are two gaps in the rundown).
Example of Gap used in a sentence -> (Hold’em) Suited connectors are stronger than suited one-gappers but one-gappers are still often playable.
How to Use Gap as Part of Your Poker Strategy
Gaps are not typically desirable in starting hands. In Hold’em, suited connectors perform better than suited-gappers which in turn perform better than suited-two-gappers. In terms of range construction it is unlikely that T8s would ever appear in our defending range if we were at the same time folding T9s.
When dealing with Omaha starting hands players must take into account both the size of the gap and the position of the gap. Smaller gaps are preferable where possible, and it’s considered favourable to have our gap at the bottom of our rundown structure rather than the top. T986ss is hence considered a more favourable starting hand than T876ss. Gaps towards the top of a rundown make it more likely a player will flop non-nut straight draws which can be problem hands in Omaha.
Despite this, it is interesting to note that the absolute biggest Omaha wrap can only be flopped when holding a rundown with a two-gap in its structure such as T965. Despite potentially making a wrap having as many as 20 outs, it’s important to remember that nut-draws are significantly more useful than non-nut draws in PLO, so the 20 out wrap is not generally considered the best possible wrap despite having the most outs.