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The Baluga Theorem

The Baluga Theorem has been around for quite some time now but what exactly is it? It can be traced back to a post in 2006 on a poker forum from a poster named BalugaWhale. The theorem is a simple one that can help save you from losing big on hands that you might otherwise think you are certain to win.

The Baluga Theorem in Practice

When BalugaWhale originally posted what was to become known as the Baluga Theorem on the 2+2 forums in 2006 it got a huge reaction from fellow posters and poker players alike. The theorem states that it is important to strongly reevaluate one pair hands facing a turn raise.

If you have, for example, and A and Q in your hand and the flop shows A, 7, 9 you will have top pair and bet accordingly. Another player calls and then comes the turn where a 10 pops up and the possibility of a straight is now very much on. You bet as top pair again only to be raised by the other player. This is the point you will want to reconsider that you may have the strongest hand.

This is solid advice for a number of reasons, not least that if a player raises you on the turn then chances are they are raising with at least top pair themselves and, more likely, even more. It may also be a strong handed tactic to bluff the hand. This all depends on the strength of the other player.

If you are up against a weak player with a smaller stack than you that checks the turn and then you bet with top pair only for the other player to raise you all in, you might want to consider they are waiting on a straight or flush to pop up on the final card. In this situation it is completely back to your discretion as to how to proceed as many a top poker player has been burned on the river.

Caveat Ludor

BalugaWhale was at pains to stress that, keeping the Baluga Theorem in mind, turn check raises are an even scarier proposition than a turn raises. And for the risk taker amongst you, raising big on the turn with a draw is a strong play that can payoff big or backfire completely depending on whether the player with top pair has you clocked or not.

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