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The Road to Fame and Fortune



By: Ov3rsight @ 00:49 (EST) / 406 / Comment ( 0 )

And I don't mean caviar. I mean poker theory.

The Baluga Theorem is very simple: Beware if you get raised on the turn, especially with a one pair hand.

It's simple, and more and more I am convinced it applies, especially at the microstakes. How come I an slowly getting convinced?

Well, let's just say it's been an expensive situation.

Looking back at my own play, I think it's pretty much correct. I don't do much raising on the turn, but when I do it's usually with something that definitely beats a one pair hand. Most of the time it beats a set as well. Occasionally, it will be a big combo draw. One pair? Maybe if it's a big overpair to the board, but that qualifies too. If the opponent flopped top pair Jacks, and I have Kings, Baluga would apply to them.

The problem with my game is that somehow I keep convincing myself to make the call anyway. The other day I was sitting on a 72BB stack trying to work my way back to even. Pocket Jacks in the Big Blind is a nice hand. The Button opens for a raise, the Small Blind calls and I flat behind. Maybe I should make a raise here to take it down or end up with one opponent. I'll need to work on that. Anyway, the flop is three small cards, rainbow. Pretty much the only hand that gets help there is a small pocket pair or a suited 6,7 or so. Great flop. So I bet half pot, he raises, I shove and he calls. Well, Jacks against Aces again and there go my 72 blinds.

But wait - Baluga applies to the turn!

It does. But I'm wondering if there's a big difference here. I'm not so sure.

At the microstakes, don't people usually raise the flop bet with a monster instead of slow playing it to the turn? Or does Baluga specifically refer to people who got there on the turn? I wonder.

There's one thing I don't wonder about though. I definitely need to plug a hole in my game. I have to stop calling off the shoves with top pair hands and pocket Jacks and the like. Guess I'm afraid of getting bluffed. And there is the crucial error in my thinking: getting bluffed at these stakes isn't nearly as expensive as stacking off like this example. Getting bluffed would have cost me the 50 cents invested in the pot. Stacking off cost me 2 dollars more. And if I were to search my hand histories, I'm 100% certain this is not the only example where I called off or shoved when I really shouldn't have.

Time to go rewatch some of those poker theory classes, and time to actually start applying things I already know instead of stubbornly believing it'll be different this time and this time they really are bluffing.

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