Heads up poker involves only two players. A recent phenomenon, it gained popularity in recent years thanks to internet poker sites and the sit ‘n’ go games they offered. For players looking to develop their poker playing skills, heads up play is an excellent opportunity. It’s not only a fun way to play the game it’s also a great way of learning to think and stay on you toes – a very important and good habit to develop for your poker game.
Sites offering heads up play include most of the online poker world heavyweight. Buyins are anywhere between about $1 and $5000 dollars and the competition range includes easy-to-beat newbies and world-class aficionados http://cuzoogle.com .
However, there are a few major differences between heads up poker and regular poker, from Texas Hold’em right through to Draw poker. In heads up, you can’t afford to be timid with mediocre hands. Yes, even with on honor card, a jack or a queen, you should take a chance. In heads up, you pay for ever hand you play. If you wait for the high honors, particularly if you’re waiting for an ace to make your move, you’re going to be losing some serious bankroll before you get anywhere.
Heads up teaches you to bluff and how to read your opponents. Post flop play also becomes very important to your success in this game. You also need to hone your awareness and understanding of positions at the table because they become extremely important in heads up poker as well.
As a general rule, you should play aggressively when you are at the button position in heads up. You should play the majority of your defensive poker after the flop, reducing the risks you’re running. Although a lot of your short-term success depends upon your opponents and how they play, if you always attack from the button and defend off it, you’ll come out on top.
You should be aware of your opponents, as you would be in any other situation. You should be prepared to spot weaknesses; frequent raises and check raises that leave the vulnerable, passive plays from the button; excessive or limited bluffing. Watch out for these traits and be prepared to respond to them, compensating your aggressive or defensive plays depending on your position. Watch out for strategy errors and analyze them whenever they occur.
When you’re in last position and you have a strong hand, you should definitely at least call. In most cases, you should raise with a strong hand to minimize your opponent’s chance of bluffing successfully, weight up your chances in the knowledge that it is generally – not always but generally – best to play tight in last position when in doubt.
In first position you should be more aggressive, check-raising your opponent when you have a strong to very strong hand. When your hand is weak and you’re in first position, you are in a strong position to bluff but, depending on your opponent and your read of their strategies, you may want to check and fold if they are likely to bet.
It’s worth noting that high limit players tend to be every aggressive in heads up games. You can spot these players easily by their propensity to raise and reraise as often as they can with mediocre and bad hands.
As far as your own play goes, heads up poker should give you a very powerful wake up call about any weaknesses you have. It’s a trial by error for a lot of players when they first try the heads up game. Many play a few rounds, realize their weakness (the reason they’re losing), quit, and adjust their problem. The more you try the format and use it as a way to learn and improve your game, the more you will get from the experience.
In heads up poker, as in every other format, you should try to play by instinct and feeling as much as possible. In fact, the heads up format offers a great opportunity to learn and hone this play technique, too.
When you play one-on-one, remember that a good player knows the guidelines and will follow them when in doubt, but they’ll also try to be in-tune with the game and the cards, trusting their instincts about their opponents, the relative value of position, and the general situation.
It sounds obvious, but the real key to winning heads up poker is being in touch with your own game and proactive when you spot a weakness in your strategy.