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Old 12-01-2013, 12:08 PM   #1
venice10
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The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

One trend I've noticed is that we are seeing more hand history threads that go, "I raised pf, hit TP, bet the flop and turn and someone raised me. What should I do?"

Several years ago, even most noobs knew the answer: fold. Today, people tend to ignore older authors like Harrington (just an old man) and older threads (playing conditions are so different today). Harrington made this conversation one of his few broken out sections in HOH, it was that important. On 2+2, people knew it as the Baluga Theorem. Rather than me explain it, I'll let Balugawhale state it in his own words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balugawhale
no, I didn't name it after myself. Somebody suggested it and I guess it caught on.

I've gotten a few questions about it and there have been some threads recently, so I thought I'd clarify some examples where I think it applies and some where it doesn't.

You (100bb) have AK in MP at a 6max game. UTG (100bb) limps, you raise to 5xBB, Button (100bb) calls, UTG calls.

Three to the flop (pot ~15bb), which is:

A46

UTG checks, you lead out for 12bb, Button folds, UTG calls.

On to the turn (pot~ 36bb)

8

UTG checks, you bet 25bb, he raises all-in.

We fold. One pair is not good here. A draw does this about never. We have to bet this turn because we can't let spades draw, and we need value from worse A's, but now that he raises, we can rule out worse A's and draws.

However, to slightly alter Isura's example, lets say we have AA, same pf action as before and the flop (pot~15bb) comes down:

K22

UTG checks, we bet 12bb, Button calls, UTG folds.

the turn (pot ~36bb) comes:
J

We bet 25bb, Button raises all in.

Here, I think we should call. We are very likely to see KJ here, as well as AK or KQ. Occasionally we see a random 2, but we are ahead of his range more often than not.

Basically, the whole point of the "Baluga theorem", as I see it, is to strongly reevaluate one-pair hands facing a turn raise.

A few notes to remember-
turn checkraises are more frightening than turn raises

big turn raises are rarely pure draws-- occasionally they will be draws that pick up a pair, or pairs that pick up draws, but most of the time you can count on a strong made hand.

when playing against a good TAG, particularly a 2p2er, most especially me, raising the turn with a draw is a powerful (but risky) play.
If you plan to play poker to win money, this is one of the foundation stones you need. What should be needless to say, but needs to be said anyway is that this is just one link in the stickies in this forum. There's a ton of other knowledge in the stickies. And no, I'm not going to post the link for the quoted post to see the discussion after. If you can't find it on your own, you're most likely never going to have work ethic to become a consistent winner in poker.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by venice10 View Post
One trend I've noticed is that we are seeing more hand history threads that go, "I raised pf, hit TP, bet the flop and turn and someone raised me. What should I do?"

Several years ago, even most noobs knew the answer: fold. Today, people tend to ignore older authors like Harrington (just an old man) and older threads (playing conditions are so different today).
One of my pet peeves on 2+2 is this tendency to think that poker has evolved so much over the past few years that "now" things are just so different today that you can just ignore all the theory and work and principles and foundations and concepts etc. etc. established by those old guys of yesteryear.

Well boys and girls, if you believe that, then you are in for a world of pain.

The truth is, the vast majority of our villains, easily more than 90% of them, have never heard of 2+2 or read a poker book or if they did, they read one or two of them years ago and discounted most of the book because it differed from the fish logic they've come to embrace...

My point is that the reason why most of the "old school" concepts, theories, principles, etc of poker still apply today is because fish are still fish; they still hold dear their fishy beliefs that are centered on results oriented poker.

Lastly, my other big 2+2 pet peeve is the tendency of thinking players on this site to level themselves when it comes to rather straight forward situations into which the 2+2er starts thinking, "Well I only have to be good here 25% of the time..."

yes, fine, whatever, you only have to be good 25% of the time. However there is another even more important question you need to ask yourself: Is the villain you are up against CAPABLE of bluffing or overvaluing their hand or "whatever" 25% of the time...

And most often, the answer is no. And that same principle is at the heart of the Baluga Theorem.

You've been playing with some rec-fish who all day has been calling down his TPMK or TPGK. You are up against this rec-fish and you have JJ

flop: 9 8 4
You bet he calls

Turn: 2
You bet, he blasts the pot all in...
Hero???

Too often, this is where the leveling begins and all that "only have to be good 33% of the time...I'm getting 2:1 on a call..." yada yada yada comes out.

Against certian player types and villains, sure this can be a call, an easy call, a snap call....

But against the majority of player types and villains, the writing is on the wall that this is a fold...

Long story short, the Baluga theorem still holds today, and if you dismiss it because you think it is "old school" and that "poker has evolved" then yeah, you are going to burn a lot of money...

Last edited by dgiharris; 12-01-2013 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

Agree whole heartedly. I don't think LLSNL will ever see the level of progress that online has seen for this very reason. There will always be fish. The fish will always have a ceiling on their ability because they will never put in the work necessary to improve.

I think of improving at poker to be much like taking piano or guitar lessons. You can get better to a degree just by playing. Once you reach a certain level however, it takes a LOT of work to improve. A fish can read a book, but a fish will not put the work in to implement the principles of the book. Or rather, they are probably not capable of implementing those principles. For that reason the Baluga Theorum will always be relevant. Value betting will always be the heart of low stakes success. Playing out of the blinds will still bleed money.

Science doesn't reinvent itself. It builds off the shoulders of those who came before. Poker is no different. The basics are still the basics and without them you won't make any money.

Let's make this a collective rant...
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:53 PM   #4
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

Quote:
If you can't find it on your own, you're most likely never going to have work ethic to become a consistent winner in poker.
Gold, Jerry. Gold!

The bleeding edge of poker may have evolved, but we don't play against the bleeding edge. The biggest mistake I see on this forum again and again is saying that a V is a horrible passive fish, but then ranging them for what makes sense for a thinking player to play that way. WAYY too much projection ITF.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:18 PM   #5
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

I baluga theorem. It's saved me soooo much money against passive players who play their hands face up...
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:01 AM   #6
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

Since this is a forum, in which debate is encouraged, I need more convincing. I read the Balugawhale Theorem a while back and my first response was 'huh'? I mean, I've read parts of Easy Game and watched some of Balugawhale's DC videos and rate his thinking on strategy highly, but why on earth call this a theorem? It merely is a specific way of playing a certain type of player on particular boards with when our range is capped at one pair.

Maybe five years ago, this type of player constituted a significant portion of the playing pool at LLSNL. But today? Where's the proof? What is this player exactly, apart from being a non-2-2er-TAG? Is this player type more a straw man fantasy than a reality? Or to be more forgiving of the theorem, might we say this player type is now just a significant minority?

I'm not saying I'm never folding AK to a c/r on a A468r board; however, advocating that I should default fold, to me, is merely a way of encouraging auto-pilot poker, which even at LLSNL shouldn't be encouraged. If we we're talking about 5NL, such a theorem might be more applicable, especially if multi-tabling, but I can't accept the value of such thinking in a live setting. We have so much time at the table in live poker to study and profile our opponents. Why not individualise rather than generalise? Why not look for specific tendencies in betting patterns on particular board textures? Why not look for signs of frustration and fatigue? I mean, what are we saying here, that we should just ignore this rich field of information in favour of assigning a stable meaning to a generalised betting line?
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:06 AM   #7
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by DrTJO View Post
Since this is a forum, in which debate is encouraged, I need more convincing. I read the Balugawhale Theorem a while back and my first response was 'huh'? I mean, I've read parts of Easy Game and watched some of Balugawhale's DC videos and rate his thinking on strategy highly, but why on earth call this a theorem? It merely is a specific way of playing a certain type of player on particular boards with when our range is capped at one pair.

Maybe five years ago, this type of player constituted a significant portion of the playing pool at LLSNL. But today? Where's the proof? What is this player exactly, apart from being a non-2-2er-TAG? Is this player type more a straw man fantasy than a reality? Or to be more forgiving of the theorem, might we say this player type is now just a significant minority?

I'm not saying I'm never folding AK to a c/r on a A468r board; however, advocating that I should default fold, to me, is merely a way of encouraging auto-pilot poker, which even at LLSNL shouldn't be encouraged. If we we're talking about 5NL, such a theorem might be more applicable, especially if multi-tabling, but I can't accept the value of such thinking in a live setting. We have so much time at the table in live poker to study and profile our opponents. Why not individualise rather than generalise? Why not look for specific tendencies in betting patterns on particular board textures? Why not look for signs of frustration and fatigue? I mean, what are we saying here, that we should just ignore this rich field of information in favour of assigning a stable meaning to a generalised betting line?
All I can say is that if I followed this theorem, I'd have a definably larger amount of cash in my pocket. Folding as a default is ABSOLUTELY the place to be. Now, against a complete idiot who will stack off with 1 pair hands, fine, don't fold. But against 98% of the players in a low stakes game, this principle is extremely well grounded. Most low stakes players will never shove more than 50 bucks without a really strong hand.

I have taken it to heart after getting it pounded into my skull through experience.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:27 AM   #8
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Now, against a complete idiot who will stack off with 1 pair hands, fine, don't fold. But against 98% of the players in a low stakes game, this principle is extremely well grounded. Most low stakes players will never shove more than 50 bucks without a really strong hand.
This is where I become frustrated. "98%"? "Most low stakes players"? Surely, I'm not meant to take these statements literally? But where's the proof? We all have experience playing live poker. So much of what is being said here seems results-oriented thinking or generalised thought plagued by recall bias. The fact of the matter is that when we call a bet we shouldn't always expect to be correct: merely correct often enough to make a profit with a sufficient edge over the long term. To my mind, this is a better principle (i.e. EV) to support our analysis than the Balugawhale Theorem.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:09 AM   #9
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

A lot of guys in my room think I'm just lucky that my KK+ never get cracked. It's because I only get to showdown when they're good, whereas everyone else gets to showdown with KK+ no matter what lol.

Most recently, 5x 9d Jd

Bet with AA and got called.

Turn, 5x 9d Jd - Jx

Led again, need value from fd's and sd's, maybe even TT.

Got min-c/r'd and mucked in about 0.5 seconds. Dude showed KJ lol, thanks for showing.

Didn't always happen this way, but I guess the knowledge from HoH I read back in 2007 resurfaced at some point.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:10 AM   #10
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

I think it's a good general concept for beginners and is correct the vast majority of the time. That said I don't really agree with cookie cutter " in general " principles like these. It get's people to think the wrong way about poker. It's similar to " oh dude raised and I got 10-1 or w/e time to set mine. "

I mean you get raised on the turn with your one pair you shouldn't be thinking " well people don't raise here with hands worse than 1 pair so I fold. "

People should be thinking " well so and so just raised me on the turn, and he's in this position and the preflop action went like this and and i played the hand like this so he probably thinks my range is like this, so his range is probably something like this and the pot is this size and my odds are like this so my best action is to do this. "

In practice that thought process is going to lead you to fold the vast majority of the time. But if you become good at it, it will lead you to the times you shouldn't and increase your win rate and help you not get exploited by good players.
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:46 AM   #11
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by StimAbuser View Post
I think it's a good general concept for beginners and is correct the vast majority of the time. That said I don't really agree with cookie cutter " in general " principles like these. It get's people to think the wrong way about poker. It's similar to " oh dude raised and I got 10-1 or w/e time to set mine. "

I mean you get raised on the turn with your one pair you shouldn't be thinking " well people don't raise here with hands worse than 1 pair so I fold. "

People should be thinking " well so and so just raised me on the turn, and he's in this position and the preflop action went like this and and i played the hand like this so he probably thinks my range is like this, so his range is probably something like this and the pot is this size and my odds are like this so my best action is to do this. "

In practice that thought process is going to lead you to fold the vast majority of the time. But if you become good at it, it will lead you to the times you shouldn't and increase your win rate and help you not get exploited by good players.
this is a good post

getting checkraised by a utg limper on A468 is not the same as getting raised by a player in position on K22J. being able to distinguish the differences in player tendencies, preflop/flop action is what allows you to increase your winrate. snap folding because you read a cookie cutter 'theorem' online means you are likely not thinking deep enough about these spots

for example, say the OP written many years ago had K99J instead of K22J. are you still calling with AA in that spot? board sure looks the same.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:00 AM   #12
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by eldiesel View Post
A lot of guys in my room think I'm just lucky that my KK+ never get cracked. It's because I only get to showdown when they're good, whereas everyone else gets to showdown with KK+ no matter what lol.

Most recently, 5x 9d Jd

Bet with AA and got called.

Turn, 5x 9d Jd - Jx

Led again, need value from fd's and sd's, maybe even TT.

Got min-c/r'd and mucked in about 0.5 seconds. Dude showed KJ lol, thanks for showing.

Didn't always happen this way, but I guess the knowledge from HoH I read back in 2007 resurfaced at some point.
easy fold. don't even think this applies to this concept.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:08 AM   #13
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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This is where I become frustrated. "98%"? "Most low stakes players"? Surely, I'm not meant to take these statements literally? But where's the proof? We all have experience playing live poker. So much of what is being said here seems results-oriented thinking or generalised thought plagued by recall bias. The fact of the matter is that when we call a bet we shouldn't always expect to be correct: merely correct often enough to make a profit with a sufficient edge over the long term. To my mind, this is a better principle (i.e. EV) to support our analysis than the Balugawhale Theorem.
Baluga Theorem is meant to serve as a baseline when we're working with little or no information.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:27 AM   #14
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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easy fold. don't even think this applies to this concept.
ding

but i have a strong one pair hand, and i got raised on the turn! how is it not the same!
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:00 AM   #15
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Baluga Theorem is meant to serve as a baseline when we're working with little or no information.
Right. So why apply it to a live setting, where we can accumulate a wealth of information about player tendencies? The original thread from 2005 was concerned with 10nl online, not 300nl live.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:36 AM   #16
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by DrTJO View Post
Right. So why apply it to a live setting, where we can accumulate a wealth of information about player tendencies? The original thread from 2005 was concerned with 10nl online, not 300nl live.
Fairly confident you didn't even read his post. He gives an example where he is c/rai and calls. It isn't, "auto-fold" to a raise, it is "strongly re-evaluate" when raised. If you have a ton of evidence that says he's got a weaker hand, then call or shove.

In most HHs, there's not a "wealth of information" about the villain, which means the default play is to fold.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:19 AM   #17
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by StimAbuser View Post
action went like this and and i played the hand like this so he probably thinks my range is like this
Stim I always like your thoughts but surely you realize this sentence rarely if ever applies to live poker under 5/10 right? People don't even know what a range is...they only care about how pretty their two cards are and how well they match the board.

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Right. So why apply it to a live setting, where we can accumulate a wealth of information about player tendencies? The original thread from 2005 was concerned with 10nl online, not 300nl live.
I'm really confused by this, are you saying live is more solid? If anything this theorem applies more to live than online bc online people know this ideology and could float flop raise turn with a huge range and make your life hell.

Live no one is ever floating. Well they do but it's to hit a pair. Lol

Seriously when c/r ott or otr you need to ask yourself two things:

Is he capable of doing this with a draw? (This is pretty much never, usually this would happen otf)

Is he capable of spazzing with worse? This sometimes does apply but again not as often in the form of a c/r.

IMO being good at folding is the single biggest factor in determining your WR.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #18
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

The only reason this is a debate right now is e cause some here are misinterpreting the BW Theorum.

"Basically the whole point of the Bakuga Whale Theorem, as I see it, is to strongly reevaluate one pair hands facing a turn raise."

Did anyone see anything in there about always folding? He actually goes out of his way to make sure that its hnderstood that its not a hard and fast rule. The actual wording suggests active thinking. What he's saying is that the turn raise vs. a one pair hand should be a big red flag and you should stop and think before shoveling more money in the pot. While its a an awesome concept, I consider the Baluga Whale Theorem to be the "Rivermans How to crush the micros" thread of poker theorems. Awesome concept but incredibly misapplied. Read what he suggests carefully and you'll see the debate really isn't a debate at all. Or shouldn't be.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:57 PM   #19
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

The problem I encounter most among thinking players is that too often they let their own bias affect their observations and reads. They incorrectly assume that their villains (whom are mostly rec fish) are capable of plays and moves that aren't even in the rec fish's limited arsenal.

I see a villain who is IN POSITION w a OESFD check every street and then on a whiffed river check back instead of going for a bluff. I see this same villain IP and OOP check (or check back) J9 on a J 9 4 K 6 board because he is worried about a set.

Then, I will see a thinking player in a hand against said villain. Hero has KK and is IP, raises to 5bb, V calls.

Flop is X Y Z
Hero bets his overpair and V calls.

Turn is a brick
Hero bets and V c/r

Hero levels himself into a call thinking "well, V could have QQ or JJ overpair or is semibluffing or is making a move...".

Somehow, the previous observations become null and void and Hero applies his bias and default profile...

The reason why the Baluga theorem is incredibly powerful is because it is rooted and derived from basic fish psychology. Most fish only call down there TPGK or even weak two pair hands. They may bet with them or call with them but when/if they are facing a Hero who has shown lots of aggression, they rarely if ever RAISE with them. They simply don't have it in them.

So when I have a good hand and a rec fish or even avg player raises me, alarm bells need to go off and I need to reevaluate the situation which will end up being that 90% - 95% of the time I will end up folding
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:33 PM   #20
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

i posted this in another thread just now and dgiharris' basically nailed it with his above post. the vast majority of villains at 1/2 and 2/5 simply do not have turn semibluff raising in their arsenal. when it does happen, we're going to be up against enormous draws. so for example:

we have AA

flop is Qh 6s 7c; we bet and get called.

turn is Tc; we bet and get raised.

like, we're basically PRAYING to see something like 9Tcc. we're not even doing that well against the absolute best case scenario. so generally speaking, we should be folding in this spot.

with that said, we should be exploiting solid regulars by raising turns if we suspect they are good enough to fold in these spots.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:38 PM   #21
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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I'm really confused by this, are you saying live is more solid? If anything this theorem applies more to live than online bc online people know this ideology and could float flop raise turn with a huge range and make your life hell.
My understanding is that the theorem (which is NOT really a theorem as such but designated as one more by cultural osmosis https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/54...095/index3.htm) was initially developed in relation to online microstakes. As Hungry Hipppo and Venice suggest, it applies to players (1) about whom we have limited information; and (2) who are regarded as fish, for example, one opponent in a thread had HUD stats of 60/0/0!

I'm not saying either way whether players at 300 NL live are any more or less fishy than those at 10 NL online (a debate that is ultimately fruitless, not least as there is little crossover between online and live games these days). All I'm saying is that we have great opportunity to accumulate information on players live because often we are sitting at the same table with them for five hours! Since, we observe and categorise these players, there is little need for a theorem that is designed for situations where information is sparse. That's all.

As an aside, I got c/raised on the turn last night on 2/4 when I held top pair (KQ on a K922r board). I called the turn raise and the river shove. Villain showed me AA I hadn't played more than one orbit with this guy, but to be honest I don't think he was that fishy. Sure, I might have applied the theorem here and saved $300---but, I don't believe that's where I made my mistake. Sometimes defaults work but not always for the right reason ...
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:43 PM   #22
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

IMO, when you're frustrated watching the "feel" player across the table because he constantly seems to take -EV actions and yet still cashes out chips at the end of nearly every session... keep in mind Baluga Theorem, and try to learn something by watching.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:34 PM   #23
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

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Originally Posted by venice10 View Post
He gives an example where he is c/rai and calls. It isn't, "auto-fold" to a raise, it is "strongly re-evaluate" when raised.
The funny thing about this example he gives of the c/r call is that per his own theorem, you should strongly re-evaluate one pair hands when facing a turn c/r, yet the example of a call is a 2 pair hand....

Just saying.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:03 PM   #24
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

Good thread and as usual I think dgi nails a lot of it.

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Originally Posted by dgiharris View Post
One of my pet peeves on 2+2 is this tendency to think that poker has evolved so much over the past few years that "now" things are just so different today that you can just ignore all the theory and work and principles and foundations and concepts etc. etc. established by those old guys of yesteryear.
I largely agree with this. I know some very bright guys that crush online but are unable to adapt to live due to the drastically different play style in most games. I think this "new think" is largely responsible for this.

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Well boys and girls, if you believe that, then you are in for a world of pain.

The truth is, the vast majority of our villains, easily more than 90% of them, have never heard of 2+2 or read a poker book or if they did, they read one or two of them years ago and discounted most of the book because it differed from the fish logic they've come to embrace...

My point is that the reason why most of the "old school" concepts, theories, principles, etc of poker still apply today is because fish are still fish; they still hold dear their fishy beliefs that are centered on results oriented poker.

Lastly, my other big 2+2 pet peeve is the tendency of thinking players on this site to level themselves when it comes to rather straight forward situations into which the 2+2er starts thinking, "Well I only have to be good here 25% of the time..."

yes, fine, whatever, you only have to be good 25% of the time. However there is another even more important question you need to ask yourself: Is the villain you are up against CAPABLE of bluffing or overvaluing their hand or "whatever" 25% of the time...


And most often, the answer is no. And that same principle is at the heart of the Baluga Theorem.
Right and I think this is an inability or unwillingness to properly assign ranges to the villain. I do it myself at times "Hey if he ever has this draw or that draw in his range then I certainly have the proper odds" More often than not they just don't have that semi-bluff or w/e in their range. Most often our error is finding the bluffiest part of their range that adds equity to our holding. Problem is that bluffy part of the range is almost non-existent.

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You've been playing with some rec-fish who all day has been calling down his TPMK or TPGK. You are up against this rec-fish and you have JJ

flop: 9 8 4
You bet he calls

Turn: 2
You bet, he blasts the pot all in...
Hero???

Too often, this is where the leveling begins and all that "only have to be good 33% of the time...I'm getting 2:1 on a call..." yada yada yada comes out.

Against certian player types and villains, sure this can be a call, an easy call, a snap call....

But against the majority of player types and villains, the writing is on the wall that this is a fold...

Long story short, the Baluga theorem still holds today, and if you dismiss it because you think it is "old school" and that "poker has evolved" then yeah, you are going to burn a lot of money...
I agree. I saw it last night where an otherwise solid reg put 200BB in the pot with 2 pr on a mono flop where the villain bet/3b jammed. I heard reg say yeah well if he does that with a pair and nut flush draw I have to call. Just doesn't happen much in live poker. (Not a beluga issue but still speaks to the ranging discussed)
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:28 PM   #25
fogodchao
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Re: The So Called Balugawhale Theorem

I would tattoo b/f to my inner thigh in Chinese if I were a skanky girl, that's how much it means to me.
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