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The Sandwich Effect

A previous article discussed the Gap Concept – the inherent additional strength you will need in your starting hand to enter a pot when at least one player has entered ahead of you.  This article is the second in a series and will discuss another concept which characterizes play in multi-player pots.

Now, let’s move on to concept number two, what is commonly referred to as “The Sandwich Effect”. This concept becomes relevant when someone has raised ahead of you, but you are not the last to act in the pot. Like the Gap Concept, the Sandwich Effect means you will need a stronger starting hand than usual to get involved in the pot.

Suppose there is one active player who has raised the pot, all other players have folded to you, and you are last to act. In this case you have all the information you need to calculate your pot odds and make your decision (see Calculating Pot Odds).

However, if the pot has been raised and it’s your turn, but there are still potentially active players remaining in later positions, the situation gets trickier. Why? Because you have to make your decision under greater uncertainty: you don’t know how many players will ultimately be involved in this pot, and furthermore, because of the possibility that someone behinds you could raise, you can’t be sure what your actual pot odds will eventually be.

In this situation, you’re caught in a sandwich. Due to the uncertainty of your situation, you are going to need a stronger hand than one of your minimum starting hands to compensate for the risk of jumping in the fray.

The next and final article in this series details one powerful move – called the Squeeze Play – you can put on your opponents based on these concepts for multi-player pots when you are not the first to act.


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