Top 10 Heads Up Poker Tips
Top 10 Heads Up Poker Tips
If you ask the average poker player what the weakest part of their game is, and you will likely hear that it’s their Heads-up Play. Playing Heads up poker is a part of your game that you must get comfortable playing, and eventually learn to master. Playing heads up in Sit and Go Tournaments or Multi-Table Tournaments should be your goal. You cannot win these Tournaments unless you play heads up, and win.
Below, you will find a list of tips that will be of immense value to all heads up poker players who are looking to make improvements to their own game.
Heads Up Poker Tip #1 – Open up your game
Heads up poker is a very different beast to 6max and full ring games. Because there is only two players at the table, it means you are in the blinds every hand, so you can’t sit around patiently waiting for a premium hand, if you did your opponent would run over you. Due to the different dynamics of HU games, you should open up your starting hand requirements by playing more hands in the big blind, and pretty much playing every single hand when you’re the dealer.
Heads Up Poker Tip #2 – Aggression
Aggression wins heads up poker games. You don’t have to invest a lot of money into the pot unless it’s worth it because you’ll get to play so many hands against the opponent that you’ll get better opportunities to win their stack. View heads up poker as a marathon, it’s not a sprint. An aggressive game can win lots of small pots, and your table image will eventually lure your opponent in, giving you opportunities to trap with a big hand. Practicing heads up poker is crucial if you want to improve this form of the game, and it will help you to pick your spots of when you should be more aggressive.
Heads Up Poker Tip #3 – Feel out your opponent
My general rule of thumb when just starting a heads up poker game against an unknown player I have never met is to play fairly tight against them early on until I have figured out their playing style and tendencies. I think it’s best to avoid big confrontations during the early stages of the heads up battle, until you have better reads on your opponent.
Heads Up Poker Tip #4 – Mixing up your game
As you observe your heads up opponents to try and figure out their playing style, keep in mind they are trying to figure out your game too. Therefore, you don’t want to play in a predictable manner, since it will make it easy for your opponents to play against you. Changing up the way you play and doing your best to avoiding being predictable will put some question marks in your opponent’s head, because they won’t know exactly what to expect from you next. You can mix up your game by changing your bet sizes, or changing the starting hands you choose to raise/re-raise with.
Heads Up Poker Tip #5 – Change your playing style
Another good way to be less predictable in heads up poker cash games is by switching gears during the session. If you have been playing snug and only raising premium hands, you can amp up your levels of aggression and start playing really loose and aggressive, until your opponent starts adjusting to your play. This can work so effectively in heads up poker because many players will try and figure out your playing style early on in the session and assume that’s your playing style that you never deviate from all throughout the heads up game. This presents you with an excellent opportunity to profit from this situation
Heads Up Poker Tip #6 – Don’t limp in the small blind
At least you shouldn’t be doing it very often: either fold or raise from the small blind. You don’t have position, so the main aim is to win most of these hands pre-flop. If you limp in, it’s highly likely the BB will raise you anyway since you have shown weakness. The one exception to this strategy is if you wake up with a monster hand like Kings or Aces.
Heads Up Poker Tip #7 – Slow play against aggressive players
This strategy will work in heads up games when you’re playing against a maniac. If you have a big hand, you can fake weakness, allowing the overly aggressive players to hang themselves True to their form, once you set the trap, he or she will go all-in on a bluff, and you’ll have won their stack.
Heads Up Poker Tip #8 – Play your draws aggressively
Play flush draws and straight draws aggressively in heads up games, because aggression gives those odds of making your hand a much greater value with folding equity throw into the mix, which is of immense value against only one opponent. Even hands like gutshot straight draws can be good to be aggressive with at the right times.
Heads Up Poker Tip #9 – Know when you’re beat
For the most part, small ball poker is best in heads up poker cash games. Don’t look to build big pots before the flop unless you have a premium hand. Remember, minimizing losses is what separates the good players, from great players. If you play poker long enough, then you will end up in a position where you know when you are beat, it’s these times that you must learn to have the discipline to let your hands go.
Heads Up Poker Tip #10 – Invest in a good Heads up poker book
If you’re still a novice at playing heads up poker games, reading a poker strategy book dedicated to this specific format of the game will improve your game drastically, allowing you to gain insight from players who are beating this game.