Zeebo's Theorem Explained

Zeboo’s theorem is an interesting idea in poker, claiming that nobody ever folds a Full House. Let’s explore whether this works in practice.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic
Image of Zeebo's Theorem Theory in PokerBefore the age of the internet, poker knowledge and theorems were scattered and only available to small groups of people. With the popularity of the world wide web came the development of various poker forums, where professionals and casual players discussed different poker theories, Zeebo’s theorem being one of them.

So, who is Zeebo? What does the theorem suggest, and does it really work in poker? Without further ado, let’s explore this theory in detail.

What Is Zeebo’s Theorem?

Unlike many complex approaches and theories, Zeebo’s idea is relatively straightforward, suggesting that players will never fold a full house, regardless of the betting round or size of the bet.

Because of its simplicity, this theorem is the most effective of all similar theories appearing on poker forums for the past two decades.

The following are a couple of reasons why this strategy works:

  • A full house is considered a strong poker hand.
  • Full houses are not that common in hold’em.

The theory was coined by an online player nicknamed “captZEEbo,” who also uses the alias Captain Zeebo in online communities. It was later revealed that the professional high-stakes player was actually Greg Lavery. He had a poker blog, which has been down for a while.

Zeebo has been active on the 2 + 2 forum, and there’s even a documentary by DeucesCracked about Lavery’s professional poker career.

How to Use Zeebo’s Theorem?

Now that you understand the rule suggested by the theorem, it’s crucial to know how to use it in practice and start making money.

It all comes down to two essential rules.

Don’t bluff anyone if you think they hold a full house. If nobody folds this hand, your bluff will fail, and you’ll lose money from the unsuccessful bluff. If you have a good reason to believe the opponent has a boat, just fold it and let it go.
Try to increase the pot as much as possible if you believe your opponent has a full house and you have a better hand. If they never fold, this is an excellent opportunity to take all their chips and make a profit.
Let’s take a look at an example of the second rule.

Imagine you hold K♥ and 10♠ while the board shows K♠, K♣, J♥, and J♣. In this case, you already have a full house with three kings and two jacks. If you assume that the opponent has a jack, it’s time to make them pay for it.

Following Zeebo’s theorem, we can assume that the opponent won’t fold their full house, even though you have a better hand.

Why would they do that? Well, Lavery believes it’s some kind of psychological trick where players always convince themselves they have a winning hand whenever they have a full house, even when common sense suggests that the opponent might have an advantage.

Can the Theorem Provide an Advantage?

Can the Theorem Provide an Advantage?

If you get into a situation where you could assume your opponent has a full house, you’ll most likely have the higher ground by applying the theorem.

Of course, exceptions might happen occasionally, and we’ll cover them in the following section.

Exceptions to the Rule

The rule might work most of the time with casual or even professional players. However, there’s always a 1% chance that you’ll stumble upon a poker pro who has a highly tight approach. In that case, they’ll likely fold, and that’s a way to tell that the opponent is a true expert in this game.

There’s even a legendary video of breaking Zeebo’s theorem. In it, Laak has pocket sevens, while Johnny Chan gets AJ off-suit. The flop shows A, Q, and 7, giving Laak 88% equity at that moment, while Chan only had 4%. Negreanu is still in the game, but he folds on the turn.
The turn shows another J, meaning Chan now has two pairs (AA and JJ), whereas Laak has three-of-a-kind (777). Still, the equity for Laak is now 90% against Chan’s 10%. Laak then decides to go aggressive on the pot, putting Chan in an uncomfortable position.
The river is another ace, meaning the board is A, Q,7, J, and A. This completely flips the odds, as now Chan has an AAAJJ full house against Laak’s baby 777AA boat.

In this situation, 99% of players in Laak’s position would probably shove. Truth be told, Laak’s initial move was a $16,400 raise, with Chan countering him with a $46,400 reraise.

Laak immediately folded, which was a great read. The fold was followed by, “You have an ace, eh?”

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Zeebo’s theorem is one of the poker theorems you should learn and apply at the tables. There’s nothing complicated about it, and it’ll help you win more money. This is all there is to it.

The only thing to pay attention to is whether there’s a chance that the opponent has a full house. If you have a good reason to believe that, it’s time to introduce your friend Captain Zeebo into the equation.


What is Zeebo's theorem?

Coined by Captain Zeebo, the theorem suggests that players will never fold if they have a full house.

What is the history of Zeebo's theorem?

Greg Lavery published the theorem on his blog, which isn’t available anymore. It was then accepted throughout online poker communities and has been widely used in poker ever since.

Does Zeebo’s theorem work?

It works 99% of the time, but watch out for experienced and tight players.

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