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Baluga Theorem

Baluga Theorem is the most relevant today, since it is of a great practical importance. It originated in 2006 in the process of discussing playing strategies on the poker forum 2 + 2. It was proved by a professional poker player and coach Andrew Seidman, nicknamed “BalugaWhale” and was named in his honour. Baluga Theorem is designed to assist players in choosing optimal solutions.

Baluga Theorem review

The essence of the theorem is as follows: if the opponent raises on the turn, no matter how strong your hand is, you’d better re-assess it in terms of strength.

Statement of the theorem

Having faced an aggression on the part of your opponent on the turn, you should overestimate the strength of your own pair.

Baluga Theorem helps draw the player’s attention to the fact that the opponent’s aggression on the turn is not nothing but a show of strength. Do not cling too much to your strong combination. In poker, almost till the end of the game nobody knows who could be a winner. You should be very attentive concerning your opponent’s steps in order to manage to re-evaluate in time your hands and take a reasonable decision. Under this theorem, you have to be always ready to fold even the strongest hand.

Baluga Theorem example

Player A, being in an early position with ace of spades – king of diamonds, raises.

The opponent (player B), being in late position, calls.

The flop is as follows: ace of hearts – 9 of clubs – 3 of diamonds.

Considering the likelihood of collecting value of the weaker aces, such situation can be considered perfect for the player A. Player A places a big bet, player B calls again.

The turn is as follows: ace of hearts – 9 of clubs – 3 of diamonds – 7 of clubs.

Player A again places a big bet (3/4 of the pot). Player B raises.

On the flop, player A was sure that he was ahead of his opponent. On the turn, he will have to think profoundly before making a decision.

Player A should, on the one hand, evaluate the likelihood of the opponent being bluffing, on the other hand – to assume what a player B may think of his hand. All the previous actions of the player A testify to the strength of his hand, so the version that the player B is bluffing, is questionable.

To understand the situation better, it is enough to ask yourself: would an opponent in such way play a hand, that is clearly weaker than the top pair? Obviously, no. If we assume that Player B can get all of the sets and various hands with aces, that gives an opportunity to get draw, Player A, most likely, would have to fold, despite the top pair with top kicker.

An important point is that this theorem does not urge to fold every time you face a sudden aggression. It just makes you think about the reasonability of the further steps.