Baluga Theorem

The Baluga theorem is a very useful and reliable theorem developed by BalugaWhale, a known poker coach. This theorem should help in dealing with common difficult situations on the turn in Texas Holdem.

Baluga theorem

“You should strongly re-evaluate the strength of one-pair hands in the face of a raise on the turn.”

Basically speaking, when you have a one-pair hand type on the turn and you bet gets raised, you should fold most of the time, unless you strongly believe that your opponent is bluffing (or semi-bluffing).

If you are raised by a tight player on the turn on a dry board, you can be 99% sure that you are beat. They will not raise with any worse hand. Against this type of player, even on a board with flush draws and straight draws, not folding to a turn raise with one pair will cost you money in the long run.

The only time, when you may consider calling or reraising a turn raise, should be when your opponent is a very aggressive maniac. However, even in this case, folding will not be a big mistake. Calling and reraising will increase variance so do it only if you have a sufficient bankroll and are mentally strong enough to deal with bigger downswings.

Baluga theorem example

No Limit Texas Holdem game. $1/$2 blinds. 6 players, each with a $200 stack.

Your hole cards: AK

You raise under the gun to $7 and only the player on the button calls.

Flop: A62

With a top pair, top kicker, you continuation bet $14 into a $17 pot. Your opponent calls.

Turn: 9

On such a board, your top pair, top kicker is most of the time the best hand, so you fire a second barrel. You bet $35 into a $45 pot. However, this time your opponent raises. What should you do?

According to the Baluga theorem, this is an obvious fold. There is no flush draw possible on this board and the only hand that gives your opponent a straight draw is 87 (gutshots have almost no equity on the turn and can be safely discounted). Why would they call a bet on the flop with 87, though? We can then assume with high certainty that the villain is not on a draw.

If they had a top pair with a weaker kicker or a lower pair, would they raise the turn? I do not think so. Therefore, your opponent has either two pair or a set. Trying to reraise and make them fold such a strong hand has 0.01% success rate so just fold and move on to the next hand.

More articles on poker theorems:

 Poker theorems overview
 Fundamental theorem of poker
 Clarkmeister theorem
 Zeebo theorem

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