10 Hints For Playing Heads-up
Another article aimed at beginners.
Heads-up poker is a face-to-face game where you have to fight just one opponent. Some deviation from standard tactics is necessary here. This article contains ten hints that will help you to become successful when playing against only one opponent.
Hint 1 – Position
Entering the pot last after the flop is a big advantage. You can make decisions based upon your opponent's actions. Such a situation gives you an opportunity to win more money with a strong hand, and lose less when you have a weak one. In heads-up poker your position constantly flips between dealer and small blind, so you need to make full use of this advantage.
Hint 2 – Aggressive playing style
Usually, your opponent does not have too strong a hand, pre-flop, so make use of it. Thinking of that when you have an under-pair in your hand, it gives you the opportunity to use only one third of the flop. It's easy to realize that you will only have the opportunity to increase the pot with the help of an aggressive playing style. Additionally, if you do not raise, you do not give your opponent an opportunity to fold.
Hint 3 – Pot control
Poker winners control whether they win more than the average pot size or lose less than it. Make the decision about the strength of your hand while you are playing, and plan your bets in a way so that can win as many as your opponent's chips as possible. Similarly, control the pot when you have a weak hand to minimize the losses in case of bad luck.
Hint 4 – Watch your opponent
In a heads-up game, work out as soon as you can the hands that your opponent raises, checks or calls with. Will your opponent raise to move to a flush? Will he miss a round with a very strong hand to make a check-raise? Will the player raise a bet on the river if he thinks he has the strongest hand when you act weakly?
Hint 5 – Adapt to your opponent
To make full use of your advantage in being able to read your opponent, you have to be ready to alter your playing to suit his style. If your opponent does not make large raises or calls too often, you should not bluff too often, but instead when you have a strong hand, make large bets. If your opponent is inconsistent, call to him more often. Use re-raise as a semi-bluff sometimes, especially when you think your opponent is likely to skip the flop. Whoever your opponent is, thank about the ways you can change your playing to get the maximum profit out of your style.
Hint 6 – Folding
If you bet with a middling hand and your opponent raises, there's a reason behind it. You will have to decide yourself whether he has a made hand or is just bluffing. If your hand is weak, and your opponent keeps standing against you, you must be ready to fold. Move to the next deal with the minimum loss of chips, and do not tease your opponents when you have a weak hand.
Hint 7 – Bluff
Always look for a good opportunity to bluff. If two or three cards straight have come out on the flop, wait for a good card on the turn. The next card can give you the perfect chance to take the pot by bluffing. Remember that in heads-up play your opponent is very infrequently likely to have a strong hand.
Hint 8 - Vary your playing style
Your opponent will try to predict your behavior in the same way you are trying to predict his. Make his task more complex for him by changing your plan from time to time. It can be done this way: play certain combinations differently, change bet size and the time it takes you to make a decision. If you change your plan, your opponent is likely to make a mistake in attempting to read your way of playing, allowing you to win more.
Hint 9 – Keep within your means
Many situations in poker require only a minimal advantage. The winner is the one who learns to use their advantage, no matter how minimal it seems. If you play above your means, you might make a mistake and play a hand incorrectly. Be absolutely sure you are in a winning position when you play above your means.
Hint 10 – Learn by your mistakes
Wait a while after the round has ended, then analyze your hand's history. Look at which cards you played well, and which ones were not so good. The time spent doing this is compensated by future wins.