Looking at poker theorems

A few years ago the well-known online poker pro Andrew Seidman devised his now famous Baluga Theorem. The term “Baluga” was in reference to his online poker name of “Baluga Whale”. His is perhaps one of the few theorems to really stand the test of time. Most poker theorems tend to date very rapidly due to the rapid change that happens within the game. Seidman claimed that hands like top pair, when raised on the turn, should usually be mucked in deep stacked situations. So just how accurate is this theorem in 2012 and should we still apply it now?

Well my own regular cash games are NL100 full ring and in my personal experience then this theorem is still relevant at this level and it certainly is at NL50 and NL25. However where this theorem falls short is at higher levels of NL200 and above. This is where the majority of your opponents also know the theorem and exploit others using it. If you raise pre-flop and bet the flop and bet-fold the turn then this is a massively exploitable line if you overdo the folding on the turn. It really doesn’t matter what you hold because your opponent simply sees the following sequence…….raise-bet-bet/fold.

What you will find happening in the lower stakes games where players stacking off with bluffs and semi-bluffs is rare will be players that have hit big hands on the flop or turn. But in higher stakes online games at say 888poker.com for example you will simply find players making moves against you simply to exploit your tendencies. This is why “floating” became such a popular tactic. Floating is a term used to describe calling a c-bet on the flop with the intention of seeing what your opponent does on the turn.

If they check then you can bet and this line will often pick up the pot and especially if a player checks with nothing but overs. Some players float though with the intention of raising the turn of they believe that their opponent is a follower of the “Baluga Theorem”. Sophisticated opponents will play back at you but they will not always do it in the same way……this is why they are sophisticated in the first place. So the bottom line is that the Baluga Theorem is level and opponent dependent. However it still quite rightly takes its place at the forefront of poker theorems.

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