here are some poker theorems that can improve ur game

The Fundamental Theorem Of Poker

The fundamental theory of poker was put forward by professional poker player David Sklansky in the popular poker strategy book The Theory of Poker. Quoting the theory directly from the book, it states that:

“Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose.
Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose.”


This particular poker theorem is different to the other ones described on this site, because it is a big general theorem as opposed to a smaller theorem that tells you what to do in X situation. Nonetheless, it is pretty straight forward, and it is a cornerstone of every winning poker player's game.
Is the theorem still effective?

No doubt about it; the fundamental theorem of poker always has been and always will be a concrete theorem in the world of poker. So there's no excuses for not learning this one.

Explanation of the fundamental theorem of poker.

Imagine that the next time you play Texas Hold'em, all of your opponents' holecards will be turned up so that you can see them. If this is the case, you would always know the strength of your opponents' hands, and therefore you would always know whether to bet, check, raise, call and fold every time the action gets to you. Therefore basically speaking:

* If you can see that you have the best hand, you would bet. (Unless there is more value in deception)
* If you can see that you have the worst hand, you would fold. (Unless you have odds to draw)

This means that you would be playing the most profitable game of poker possible, as you are following the fundamental theorem of poker perfectly.

Unfortunately however, the whole point of poker is that you are never 100% sure of what your opponent holds, which means that you are going to drift away from this perfect line of poker by not knowing the exact cards that each player has. So the key idea is to try and play poker as perfectly as possible even without being able to see other players' cards.

In a nutshell, a winning poker player is a player that can play as closely to the way they would if they could see all of their opponents' cards. The more information that you can obtain from your opponent through reads and by analysing their betting patterns, the closer you will be able to play to this level and the more profitable your game will be.

Example of the fundamental theorem of poker.

A $1/$2 NL game and both players have $200 stacks.

Our Hand: Jd Jc
Opponent's Hand: 9s 8h

Board: As Jh 2c

Let's say that we are last to act, and our opponent has bet $20 into a $20 pot on the flop. We can also see what cards our opponent is holding. Now, according to the fundamental theorem of poker, what should we do? Well, we have 3 possible options.

1. Fold
2. Call
3. Raise

Folding is out of the question, because we can see that we have the best hand. So we're down to either calling or raising.

The best action here is to call. We can see that our opponent is making a pure bluff at this pot, so if we were to raise with by far the best hand here there is very little chance that our opponent is going to call and put more money in the pot. However, by calling we are giving our opponent the opportunity to put more money in on the turn by bluffing again. We stand to make more from the hand through deception, so calling has a greater expected value than raising.

However, if we can see our opponent has a hand like Ah 2s for two-pair, raising would definitely be far more +EV than just calling. We can be very confident that our opponent will call a raise, so we can get a lot more value from the hand by raising with our strong hand rather than attempting to induce a bluff like we did in the last example.

As you can see, knowing the exact 2 cards that our opponent is holding in each situation helps us to make the most profitable play possible.
What's the use of the fundamental theorem?

The most important idea is just to be aware of the theorem and try your best to follow it as closely as possible by analysing your opponents' plays and reading them as best as you can.

The better your hand reading skills get, the closer you will be able to play according to the fundamental theorem and the more money you will make.

You will not always be able to fill in all the gaps, but that is okay because neither will your opponents. But if you can build a greater understanding of the way they play and play more closely to the fundamental theorem of poker than they do, you will come out on top at the end of the day.
Overview of the fundamental theorem of poker.

I think I just about covered all of what I wanted to say about the theorem in this article. The fundamental theorem is not a small theorem that points out a small aspect of the game, it is a whole new way of thinking and a way to approach the game.

If you can play poker with the intention of playing as closely as you can to the way you would play if you could see all of your opponents' cards, you will do well. However, poker is poker because you are never fully aware of what the other player holds. All of the strategy articles on Texas Hold'em and on any other poker variant basically tries to help you play as closely to the fundamental theorem of poker based on the limited information that you have on your opponents.

It's as simple as that!

Baluga Theorem

This is another theorem from the the 2006 period. A poster at the 2+2 forum named “BalugaWhale” put forward this handy theorem that should help with a common yet tricky situation on the turn.

The Baluga theorem requires a little more explanation (see the example below) than most poker theorems as it is a little more detailed, but it should be too hard to grasp. In a nutshell though, the Baluga theorem states that:

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

Here is an example of where the Baluga Whale theorem commonly comes into play to help explain what this theorem means.

Baluga theorem example.

Your Hand: As Kd

You are one of the first to act before the flop, and with your hand you decide to make a 4BB raise. There is just one caller in late position and you both go to the flop.

The Flop: Ah 9c 3d

This is pretty much an ideal flop, so you bet 8BBs, which is around the size of the pot.

The Turn: Ah 9c 3d 7c

The 7c is pretty much a harmless card, but it does bring along the flush and straight draw possibility, so a strong ¾ pot size bet is in order here to give any drawing hands the wrong odds to call. However, our opponent raises this bet and the action is back on us.

This has turned the hand on it's head and we are left in a tricky situation. Throughout the hand we never really considered the fact that our opponent has us beat, as it has been all about getting the most from our top pair.

According the the BalugaWhale theorem, we should strongly reconsider the strength of our pair due to this turn raise, and we should be looking to fold the majority of the time in this spot.

Baluga theorem example hand history.

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em cash game - 6 Players

SB: $100
BB: $100.00
Hero (UTG): $100
MP: $100
CO: $100
BTN: $100

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG with As Kd
Hero raises to $4, 1 fold, CO calls $4, 3 folds

Flop: ($9.50) Ah 9c 3d (2 players)
Hero bets $8, CO calls $8

Turn: ($25.50) 7c (2 players)
Hero bets $20, CO raises to $65, Hero folds

Why is the Baluga theorem effective?

It is easy to see why the Baluga theorem is effective by asking yourself the following question:

Would our opponent be raising this turn with anything less than top pair?

The simple answer is no. Any turn raise is going to show a significant amount of strength, and a weak top pair or worse is not going to warrant this sort of display of strength. I'm sure that you can feel how much of an awkward situation this is when you hold top pair top kicker, but we both know that folding is going to be the best move here the majority of the time.

One of the biggest problems is that we are out of position, which means the information we have on our opponent is limited. You can try and convince yourself that the turn card was harmless and how might you like to think that your opponent is aggressively playing a draw, but at the end of it all you can't get away from the fact that you are in an uncomfortable situation where calling is likely to be a losing play over the long run.

If you decide to call on the turn, what are you going to do on the river? Your opponent is almost definitely going to be betting out as a bluff or betting with the best hand, so closing your eyes and calling the turn bet whilst hoping for the best on the river isn't going to be a great strategy.
Is the Baluga theorem still effective today?

Yes. I would say that the Baluga theorem is one of a small number of theorems that you should take note of and incorporate into your Texas Hold'em game.

Who is BalugaWhale?

Andrew "BalugaWhale" Seidman is a pretty well known name around the 2+2 forums. Andrew is a professional high stakes poker player and currently coaches over at the Deuces Cracked training site (see BalugaWhale Deuces Cracked coach).

For what it's worth, yes, "Baluga" is a misspelling of "Beluga". Not sure if this misspelling was actually intentional, but that's the way it stands.
Baluga Whale theorem overview.

The Baluga whale theorem is one of the top three theorems (along with Zeebo's theorem and Clarkmeisters' theorem) to come out of forums over the last few years.

I'm sure that you have been in this exact same situation many times before at the tables and had trouble making the best decision. At least now this theorem can lay your worries to rest as you make those folds with far less concern about whether or not you made the right play.

Zeebo's theorem

Zeebo's theorem is quite a simple one, and is likely to be the most profitable of all the popular poker theorems. Zeebo's theorem states that:

“No player is capable of folding a full house on any betting round, regardless of the size of the bet.”

Nice and straightforward eh? Let's look into it in more detail...

Is Zeebo's theorem still effective?

Yes, and it's the most reliable theorem out of all the ones listed on this site. The theorem was put forward back in 2006, and has helped to make followers of this theorem a nice amount of money ever since.

Why Zeebo's theorem works.

Zeebo's theorem works because of the following points:

* A full-house is a very strong hand.
* Full houses do not come around regularly.
* Therefore players will very, very rarely fold a full house.

If you think about every possible situation of where you hold a full house in Texas Hold'em, you will not be able to find one where you can comfortably fold the hand. Even if the bet is very large, the chances are that you and other players will call the bet when you hold a full house.

In addition, even if your opponent holds a very weak full house, the fact that there is always the possibility that you could be bluffing means that they are going to force themselves to call anyway. They may not like making the call, but they are going to put that money in the middle when they have a full house.

You may not have thought about this idea too much before, but I'm sure that you can understand that this particular theorem holds a lot of truth at the Texas Hold'em tables.

How to use Zeebo's theorem to your advantage.

Now that you are aware of Zeebo's theorem, you need to do two things to start making money from the use of this particular theorem.

* Do not try and bluff anyone that you suspect holds a full house.
* Get as much money into the pot if you think your opponent has a full house and you hold a better hand.

Pretty straightforward right? If your opponent is never going to let go of their full house regardless of how much money you put in the pot, you should get all your money in the middle when you have the best of it and never bluff if you are behind.

If you can remember these two simple rules the next time you are confident that your opponent has a full house, you will be able to save and win yourself a nice sum of money.

Zeebo's theorem example.

Just a simple example for this one. But it should highlight how useful the theorem is pretty well.

Your Hand: Ah Js
Board: As Ad Qh Qc
Opponent's Hand: Let's say that we have good reason to suspect that they have a Q.

On this board, you should be looking to get as much money into the pot as possible. There should be no slowplaying here if you think that your opponent has a Q, because they will have a full house also and there is no getting away from the hand for them.


Even though they have the worst full house, they will almost always convince themselves to call in case you might be bluffing. As much as they dislike it, they are going to call. If you put yourself in your opponent's position, I'm sure that you can empathize and understand how you can exploit Zeebo's theorem fully.

Zeebo's theorem example hand history.

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em cash game - 6 Players

SB: $100
BB: $100.00
Hero (UTG): $100
MP: $100
CO: $100
BTN: $100

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG with Ac Jh
Hero raises to $4, 2 folds, BTN calls $4, 2 folds

Flop: ($9.50) As Ad Qh (2 players)
Hero bets $6, BTN calls $6

Turn: ($21.50) Qc (2 players)
Hero bets $20, BTN calls $20

River: ($61.50) 3c (2 players)
Hero bets $70 all-in, BTN calls $70

Who is Zeebo?

Zeebo, "captZEEbo" or to use his full online alias "Captain Zeebo" is a professional high stakes online poker player. Captain Zeebo's real name is Greg Lavery.

Zeebo's theorem overview.

If there is one poker theorem that you should learn and use at the tables, it should definitely be Zeebo's theorem. It is pretty straightforward, and it will help to win more money. Simple as that.

There is not much else I can really add to that, except for that you should try and make a conscious decision to think about when your opponent may have a full house. Otherwise the opportunity to take advantage of Zeebo's theorem will just pass you by. Don't let this be an article that you read and forget 10 minutes later. Hit the tables and think about the theorem – it will get drilled into you this way.

The Clarkmeister Theorem

This is another specific theorem like the Baluga Whale theorem, and similarly it is not too difficult to grasp. The thoerem was initially put forward for limit Texas Hold'em games, but it works perfectly well in the no limit Texas Hold'em environment.

The Clarkmeister theorem states that:

“If you are heads up and first to act on the river, if the river card is the 4th card of a same suit you should bet”.

I can't find a reliable source for this theorem, but I'm confident that it stems from the 2+2 forums from a few years ago.

Why is the Clarkmeister theorem effective?

The Clarkmeister theorem works well because of the following reasons:

* The 4 cards of the same suit are going to scare many players.
* Therefore this creates a great opportunity to bluff on the river.
* A strong bet will often force any player without a flush or even a weak flush to fold.

If you put yourself in the shoes of a player that is facing a strong bet after that 4-flush card hits on the river, you can already feel yourself leaning toward folding anything less than a flush, along with weak flushes. Therefore you can see that this is a prime opportunity for a bluff for the player that is first to act, as you are going to fold the vast majority of your hands in this spot.

How to use Clarkmeister's theorem in Texas Hold'em.

To ensure that you get the most from the Clarkmeister theorem, make sure that you get the fundamentals sorted before attempting the bluff.

* You should be first to act on the river.
* You should be heads up against your opponent.
* You should make a strong bet – around ¾ the size of the pot at least.

If you are not first to act, it makes your bet a lot less convincing and so the bluff will be less effective. If your opponent checks to you and you bet, it makes it more obvious that you are trying to pull off a bluff. Therefore as the Clarkmeister theorem states you should bet when you are first to act.


The more players there are in the hand, the more likely it is that someone actually has a great hand. If you are heads up there is a greatly reduced risk of your opponent actually having a strong flush or better.

By making a strong bet, it puts your opponent to a very tough decision, and increases the chances that they are going to fold. If you make a weak bet, then you are pretty much giving your opponent good odds to call, and so your bluff attempt it going to be pretty poor. Show no fear and make a decent bet if you really want the Clarkmeister theorem to work.

Important point.

When you are using the Clarkmeister theorem, you are turning your hand into a bluff. Therefore you should not look to bet out if you want to try and extract as much money from the hand as you can, because with the Clarkmeister theorem you are looking to get your opponent to fold.

Similarly, if you have a hand like a weak flush at this stage in the hand, you will be best served check/calling as opposed to betting out. This is because you will only be forcing weaker hands to fold, which doesn't provide you with any value. This would be referred to as a way ahead / way behind situation, and so check/calling is better than bluffing.

Is the Clarkmeister theorem still effective?

Yes. It is not bullet proof like Zeebo's theorem, but I think it is on par with the Baluga theorem in terms of reliability.

Clarkmeister theorem overview.

Unlike the crazy aejones theorem and outdated Yeti theorem, the Clarkmeister theorem is a useful one that you should take note of. Unless you are coming up against experienced players who are aware of this theorem and can exploit other players who use it, you should find the Clarkmeister theorem to be profitable over the long run.

This theorem should work brilliantly against the weaker players, which means that you will be able to steal your fair share of pots with it. Be sure to use your knowledge of your opponent and the information from previous betting rounds to help you when deciding whether or not to make this play, as this will help with its overall success rate.

The Yeti theorem

The "Yeti theorem" is quite an old theorem in poker that was coined by a poster at the 2+2 forums some time ago. The theorem essentially states that:

“A 3-bet on a dry flop (preferably paired) is almost always a bluff.”

Not the original Yeti theorem thread, but good enough.

This means that if the flop could not give anyone a possible flush or straight draw, if you re-raise an opponent and they raise you back, the chances are that they are bluffing.

Yeti theorem example.

Let's say that you are heads up against an opponent and you are first to act. The flop has come 8d 3s 3c. It does not really matter what cards you are holding or what happened before the flop, so just take it as it is.

We check to our opponent and they bet out – perfectly standard. We then check-raise them and the action is back on our opponent, as they have to call our raise to see the next card. If our opponent once again raises this raise, then by using the Yeti theorem why can assume that they are almost always bluffing in this situation, and so we should be able to push all in and make them fold or call and show down the best hand.

How the Yeti theorem works.

So now we know the structure of the Yeti theorem, let's have a think about the ideas behind the Yeti theorem. We'll assume that the flop is still 8d 3s 3c.
There are 2 key ideas that drive the Yeti theorem.

1. If our opponent had an 8, they would not have a strong enough hand to re-raise our check raise.
2. If our opponent had a 3, they would be more likely to trap and call as opposed to raising us again.

Take a few seconds to mull over these 2 ideas – it's easy to read over them but not fully take everything in, so make sure you have an idea of why these points make sense.
Our opponent has an 8.

If our opponent has an 8, their bet after we have checked to them makes perfect sense. They may well have the best hand and they will want to take the pot without giving us the opportunity to catch up if we missed. Now, if we check-raise it shows a great amount of strength, and it would easily appear as though we have a 3 or an over pair at least.

No Texas Hold'em player with any common sense is going to be confident enough to call this check-raise with just an 8, let alone make another raise, which means that a 3-bet here would be totally out of place.
Our opponent has a 3.

If our opponent has a 3, the chances are that they will be more inclined to slowplay the hand as opposed to come out raising and re-raising on the flop. The flop bet is not a bad play, but a number of players are likely to check here in an attempt to trap their opponent due to the flop being so dry.

The most peculiar play according to the Yeti theorem would be the fact that they 3-bet with their 3-of-a-kind, because this would seem like too strong of a play, where calling and trapping would be the preferable option for the vast majority of players.

Is the Yeti theorem still effective?

In my honest opinion, the Yeti theorem is old and does not hold as much weight as it used to. So no, I wouldn't say that it is effective anymore.

There are two main problems with the Yeti theorem in Texas Hold'em:

* Players are far more aggressive these days, and 3-bets with strong hands are not entirely rare.
* Players are likely to 3-bet dry flops like 8d 3s 3c with overpairs.

The fact of the matter is that players are always looking to out-level their opponent (see multiple level thinking). Therefore if your opponent knows that you think that your opponent is always bluffing when they 3-bet dry flops, they are going to go ahead and 3-bet dry flops when they have a strong hand. Furthermore, players will be more than happy to 3-bet with overpairs to the board in this spot.

Take advantage of the rakeback deals to ensure that you add that little extra to your winnings.

When the Yeti theorem first came about, the chances are that it worked pretty well for many people, but as time went by the game has developed and evolved, and so they Yeti theorem is no longer as useful as it once was.

Yeti theorem overview.

Now, I hope that you're not too annoyed at the fact that you just read through an article on what appears to be an outdated and useless play, because there is still something to be learned from this theorem. In some instances the Yeti theorem will still work, but my advice would be to not stick to the Yeti theorem as a rule of thumb, and use your own logic and thought processes when those 3-bets come around.

Hopefully this theorem has opened your eyes a little and helped you to think about 3-betting situations, which is really the most valuable aspect of this article. So whilst it may not have directly helped you by adding a new weapon to your arsenal, it will have helped your general understanding of the game.