The Yeti Theorem

The Yeti theory is a heavily debatable hypothesis in poker and in this guide we teach you what it is and see if it’s really effective.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic
Image of The Yeti Theorem in PokerMore than two decades ago, when the online poker community was still in its infancy, many of its members had a field day discussing various hypotheses and theories about the card game. Their go-to gathering place was the Two Plus Two (2+2) forum, dedicated entirely to poker and all its variations.

One of the most discussed theorems was the so-called Yeti theory. Even though the original forum thread disappeared, it was discussed repeatedly on various poker sites and social media.

The earliest post we could find was from 2007, but we can conclude that the original thread was created much earlier, as Two Plus Two has been online since 1998.

In this article, we’ll discuss it and see whether it’s applicable in poker. Read on.

What Is Yeti Theory in Poker?

The Yeti theorem is pretty straightforward. It suggests that a three-bet on a dry flop (preferably a paired one) is most likely a bluff.

To help you understand it better, here’s an example.

Let’s say the flop shows 7♦, 2♣, and 2♠. At this moment, the betting action that took place before the flop and the cards you have in your hand don’t matter, so focus only on this flop.
The first move you make is a check, and the opponent immediately bets out — it’s a pretty common sight for post-flop betting.
Next, you decide to check-raise, and the action is back to the villain.
In this case, checking is probably the wisest course of action, but if the opponent decides to reraise, that’s when the Yeti theorem is activated. Since the flop isn’t particularly strong, there’s a reason to believe that the villain is bluffing, so the most intelligent move would be to shove and see how far the other player is to go.

How Yeti Theory Works

Let’s see the reasoning behind the Yeti theorem.

We can assume that the villain had either a seven or a three.

If they had a seven, the hand still wouldn’t be strong enough to re-raise on a check-raise post-flop. It takes superior confidence to do it on such a weak flop. Check-raising from your side will make everyone think you either have a deuce in your hand for Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Another possible solution here is to hold an overpair, and you’re confident enough to check-raise.

If they had a three, they would probably call instead of re-raising. It’s much better to slowplay such a hand than immediately trying to scare your opponents into folding with aggressive action. Simply put, any poker player would try to trap you here and then increase the pot on the turn and the river.

How Effective Is the Yeti Theory?

How Effective Is the Yeti Theory?

The Yeti theory might have been influential in the past when the online poker community wasn’t as big and aggressive. You’ll see all kinds of players nowadays, some ready to three-bet you with strong hands as soon as the flop cards are face-up.

Moreover, bluffing has become much more sophisticated in recent years. You have to assume that most players already know about the Yeti theorem and are willing to three-bet you on a dry flop in any scenario, bluffing or not.

It’s safe to assume that the Yeti theory isn’t very effective, even though it makes sense when explained. Instead of relying on the theorem, it’s better to stick to math and ensure you’re making an optimal play.

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The Yeti theory caused a stir in the poker community when it was published. It’s unknown where it got its name, but we guess that the original nickname of the user who came up with the hypothesis had something to do with Yetis.

Either way, coming up with theorems such as the one described in this article makes poker the world’s greatest card game. Even though the Yeti theory doesn’t hold water, the player who created it deserves kudos.


What is the Yeti theory?

It’s a theory suggesting that whenever an opponent three-bets you on the weak flop, they are probably bluffing.

Is the Yeti theorem true?

Unfortunately, Yeti has proven not more than a theory over the years, and you shouldn’t rely on it.

Who came up with the Yeti theory?

A user created the Yeti theorem at the Two Plus Two forum. The original post is now lost, but the theory is discussed on many other poker sites and forums.

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