The Gap Concept

The Gap Concept is one of David Sklansky's poker theories that states a player needs to have a stronger hand than what they would raise with in order to call a raise. The concept highlights the fact that poker players actually prefer to avoid confrontations with another player who has indicated they have a strong hand and also that calling only has one way to win a hand (being the best hand) whereas raising allows you to win immediately if your opponent folds.

The majority of the players taking part in the GSOP $100000 Betfair Poker events will have some understanding of the gap concept but a much smaller sample size will be aware that the size of the gap is not fixed, in fact quite the opposite is true. Some of the factors that alter the size of the gap include where at the table the raise came from, the size of the chip stacks in play and the playing style of the player making the raise.

It should be obvious that the gap, or the difference in strength of cards needed to call the raise, widens when the player making the raise has a tight range of hands that he plays. This is because when a tight player enters a pot he is more likely to hold a premium hand. Conversely, a player with loose starting hand requirements actually narrows the gap as they have many more weaker hands in their raising range.

Again, if the raise comes from early position then you should tend to give it more credit for being a strong hand than say if the raise came from one of the later positions at the table. Likewise, if you are facing a raise from a deep-stacked player in one of the Betfair GSOP 6 events then the gap should be narrower as they is an increased chance they are simply splashing around in the pot but a standard sized raise, and not an all-in bet, from a short-stacked player should be treated as immense strength, which widens the gap.

So to recap, the tighter the player and the earlier position the raise comes from the wider the gap, therefore the stronger the hand required to call becomes, but a looser, late position raiser narrows the gap so you can call with a weaker hand. Simple when you think of it really!

Announcing Chicago Poker Club Home Games has just launched their own "Home Game" League on PokerStars.  We will have one or more semi-permanent cash game tables available to you at all times, to test your meddle against our fellow poker enthusiasts.  As we begin to promote this a bit, you will see games getting off more frequently - it may be a bit sparse at first, but don't stop trying!  Remember, we don't give legal advice, so check your local laws before playing online!

In the coming weeks we will begin to announce online "home game" tournaments, and may move to a tournament series in the not so distant future.

To join the Home Game Club (League), you should:

  1. Sign-up for a new PokerStars account, if you don't have one already.
  2. Download the most recent version of the software.
  3. Proceed to the Home Games tab within PokerStars, and search for club ID 75069 (soon to be searchable as, but NOT Chicago Poker Club).
  4. You need to provide the invitation code: chicagojoeistheman

That's it.  You will be approved within 24-48 hours and can begin looking for other Chicago Poker Club players right away!

POLL 2: Sexiest Woman in Poker

We keep promising Chicago Poker Club has something in the works to celebrate Chicago's sexiest women in poker.... in the meantime, courtesy of our content partner at Scotty Clark Poker, let's talk about the sexiest women in all of poker.  Reprinted with permission:

This is [Scotty's] last post of 2010 and I could not think of a better subject to end the year 2010 with -- than hot poker babes. This is the second of four preliminary polls which will include 16 ladies for the title of Sexiest Woman in Poker History

Please remember this poll is an all-time poll. A nomination's present day age matters not, only her place in her prime, and in poker. Please leave comments at the end of this post to nominate future candidates. Here are the results from our first poll
Liv Boeree (36%) - Vanessa Rousso (27) - Erica Schoenberg (23) - Isabelle Mercier (12)

Criteria: All international female players, television hosts, site professionals, celebrities and media reporters. Any female very active in poker. The top two finishers in each of the four preliminary polls will advance to the next round.

Opinion. The best players should be credited for long-term staying power...

Shannon Elizabeth 37, is a poker playing actress best known for her role as Nadia in the 1999 comedy American Pie. Elizabeth also appeared in Playboy in 1999 and was the covergirl for the June 2008 issue of Maxim. Shannon advanced to the Final Four of the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship by defeating Jeff Madsen, Barry Greenstein and Humberto Brenes, etc.

Shana Hiatt 35, is the original hostess of the World Poker Tour. Shana hosted WPT for three seasons before leaving in 2005, and she also hosted Poker After Dark and the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Shana left those shows in 2008 due to pregnancy and has not been active in poker since. Hiatt's place in televised poker history is that she was the first notable and most recognizable poker hostess.

Lacey Jones 31, graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Political Science. Lacey was the official Hostess of the 2009 World Series of Poker Final Table Main Event, along with many other prominent poker hosting duties. Jones is very well liked in the Poker World and also conducts interviews for

Leeann Tweeden 37, is best known as the hostess of Poker After Dark. Leeann is also the hostess for the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Tweeden was a correspondent on the Best Damn Poker Show from 2000 until 2007. During the 25th Anniversary in 2008, Hooters named Leeann one of "The Top Hooters Girls of All-Time".
Chicago Poker Club has something in the works to celebrate Chicago's sexiest women in poker.  "The works" could be coming in January, or in June... in the meantime, courtesy of our content partner at Scotty Clark Poker, let's talk about the sexiest women in all of poker.  Reprinted with permission:

Reid bill could have hurt more than helped

Re-printed courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

A commentary by Christopher Cosenza

Garth Brooks has a song called Unanswered Prayers, and in it he thanks God for not giving him what he had prayed for in the past because if God had, then he wouldn’t have what he has now.

The online poker world almost had one of these moments last month. Harry Reid, the Democratic senator from Nevada, very nearly pulled off the Herculean task of getting an online poker regulation bill put to a vote as part of bigger, must-pass legislation during the lame-duck session. It would’ve answered a lot of poker players’ prayers, but as Garth would point out, that’s not always such a good thing.

When players heard online poker regulation might actually get introduced there was joy on Fifth Street. But upon further review this bill smelled as fishy as a postflop check from an under-the-gun raiser. Yes, we all want online poker to be regulated; no one likes legally participating in a game that’s thought of as an illegal industry. But at what cost, and at who’s expense?

For the uninitiated, everything that happens on Capitol Hill comes with a catch. In this case, Mr. Reid nearly snatched an opportunity to pay back his IOUs to MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment for their contributions to a re-election campaign that saw him squeak past Republican challenger Sharron Angle.

And wasn’t Reid an opponent of online poker once? Funny what money can do to a politician’s views, isn’t it? Once the big boys decided they wanted a slice of the Internet pie it suddenly became very important to Reid to get online poker regulated, and regulated just for his interests. But more on that later.

Think back to when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was attached to the SAFE Port Act in 2006. Weren’t you about as livid as Phil Hellmuth Jr. after getting his kings cracked by 10-7 offsuit? How could these politicians attach something so clearly thoughtless and ineffective to such an important bill at the stroke of midnight during the last session before an extended break? Oh, wait, that’s how politics work. It’s disgusting, and it’s sad. And that’s exactly what Reid was trying to do. The old “good-for-the-goose-good-for- the-gambler ” strategy.

Are You Getting Paid to Play Poker? You Should Be.

Do you win or lose at the electronic poker table?  These days, the soft players are few and far between, and being a better-than-breakeven player is harder and harder.

Do you lose money over time?  Break even?  What if I told you that you could make a ton of money by breaking even online?  How about if I told you that you could actually be a long-term loser playing online poker and still come out ahead?  All for money online poker sites take a small percentage of every pot played in their electronic room.  This fee is called a "rake".  Chicago Poker Club has arranged for you to get some of that money back as much as 25%-30%, or more!) when you play online.  Its called "Rakeback", and it allows breakeven, and even small losing players to come out ahead.  

We, at Chicago Poker Club, don't necessarily advocate playing online poker.  In fact, we know that it is illegal in some parts of the U.S. and in parts of the world, and the rules are constantly changing.  So, we must first tell you to check your local laws before considering playing online.

Once you have done your diligence, and made the decision to play poker online, make sure you're getting some of that rake back, as rakeback!

Here's some other news about our Rakeback Offers:


Absolute Poker Reload Bonus
Absolute Poker is offering a 75% up to $250 reload bonus until December 8th at 11:59 PM ET. Use bonus code ACTIONDAY75 whe... more

Minted Poker Reload Bonus
Minted Poker, a US-facing Everleaf skin, is offering a 200% up to $50 reload bonus until December 24th at 11:59 PM ET. Pla... more

Carbon Poker- Version 5.0 Released with Mac Client, Reload Bonus
The 5.0 version of the Carbon Poker software has been released. Among other features, players will now be able to download... more

Absolute Poker Reload Bonus
Absolute Poker, a Cereus Network skin, is offering a 75% up to $250 reload bonus until December 4th at 11:59 PM ET. Player... more

Fortune Poker Reload Bonus
Fortune Poker, a Boss Network skin, is offering a 200% up to €1,000 reload bonus through the month of December. Rakeback... more

Here comes another gambling expansion bill.

For Illinois lawmakers gambling expansion never seems to go away. With Illinois financial woes it’s no surprise with the current push for gambling expansion.  In a 12/7 interview on WBBM-AM’s Noon Business Hour Gerald Roper President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber OF Commerce discussed the advantages of Chicago’s Block 37 along with other possible downtown casino locations. Looking at Chicago’s landscape a State Street casino would benefit many downtown businesses. Forty million people from outside Chicago come to this area every year. Tourism would get a boost allowing more tax dollars received from out of state visitors

Block 37 located on State Street

Illinois politicians have put the Chicago area behind the eight ball when it comes to gaming tax revenues.  According to the “American Gaming Association” the Chicagoland area is the third largest gaming market in the country. Taking a closer look northwest Indiana is receiving a large chunk of the gaming revenues. With gaming issues Illinois politicians say “they want to do the right thing for their citizens”. Unfortunately their votes end up turning into financial gains for Indiana.

Horseshoe Hammond with downtown Chicago in the backround.

For the poker player the most important part of the new gambling expansion bill is the increase in casino gaming positions. The current bill allows existing riverboat casinos to expand to 1,600 positions in 2013. With the exception of Hollywood Aurora and Harrah’s Metropolis casinos opened their poker rooms as other gaming revenues declined. The Des Plaines casino that currently is under construction has no plans for a poker room. This could change with this new gambling expansion bill. If this bill passes Harrah’s Joliet will likely to be operating the state’s largest poker room.

 Canterbury Downs

Politicians missed another opportunity to have poker rooms at Illinois horse racing facilities. Minnesota’s Canterbury Downs is a good example on how poker rooms can be a perfect fit for horse racing facilities. Florida was been successful adding poker rooms to their dog tracks. Pennsylvania and West Virginia have recently added poker rooms to horse racing facilities. Illinois and Indiana casino poker rooms had combined revenues over 70 million in 2009. Most Illinois race tracks could have poker rooms up and running quickly and economically. From a tax standpoint this makes a lot of sense, Unfortunately politicians have never considered having poker rooms at racing facilities.

You're not the only unlucky one in poker

Lee Childs

Re-printed courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

Misery loves company. I’m pretty sure whoever coined this phrase just might have been a poker player. This is why most players spend so much time sharing bad-beat stories and hardly ever discuss their suckouts. The beats usually focus on all-in pots where we had the best of it at some point in the hand and our opponent makes a better hand to felt us.

We also know players who just seem to “run good.” We think they fare so much better than we do and they don’t suffer the same agony we do. Their hands hold when ours don’t. If they’re behind in a hand, they always seem to get there.

I’ve caught myself feeling this way, wondering why I can’t run like them, if even just for one day. I’ve even found myself watching closely when one of these players is in a big hand and even if I like the person, I get some kind of enjoyment from watching them get the money in good and losing the hand. It humanizes them and makes me realize they actually deal with the same issues as me. I’m not happy they lose, but it provides some relief that I’m not the only one going through this torture.

Here are some of my thoughts about what happens when I play and how awesome it must be to be my opponents.

• If they have any kind of draw, they complete it.
• If we get all the chips in preflop, they’re always a favorite, whether they’re ahead or not.
• If they bluff all-in with air on the flop, running cards will come to beat me.
• If I have ace-king and they have ace-jack, I’m a 70-30 favorite, yet a jack or straight comes 100 percent of the time.
• Every time I have kings, an ace flops.
• And most important, I’m the unluckiest poker player in the world.


POLL: Sexiest Woman In Poker

Chicago Poker Club has something in the works to celebrate Chicago's sexiest women in poker.  "The works" could be coming in January, or in June... in the meantime, courtesy of our content partner at Scotty Clark Poker, let's talk about the sexiest women in all of poker.  Reprinted with permission:

Liv Boeree

Scotty Clark Poker wants to know your most valuable poker opinions. Vote in our first POLL in the right hand column.

This is the first of four polls and the polls will include 16 ladies for the title of
Sexiest Woman in Poker History

Please leave comments at the end of this post, and on Scotty's site, to nominate future candidates.

Criteria: All international female players, television hosts, site professionals, celebrities and media reporters. Any female very active in poker. The top two finishers in each of the four polls will advance.
Opinion. The best players should be credited for long-term staying power...
Liv Boeree is 26 years old and is from the UK.  Born in Kent, she studied physics and astrophysics at the University of Manchester. In April of 2010, Liv Boeree won EPT San Remo for a whopping €1,250,000 Boeree left Absolute Poker to sign with Poker Stars this year. Liv is also known as "Iron Maiden" and she loves her heavy metal.