10 Quick Ways To Lose Heads-Up
1. Ignore the position
Position is of great importance in HU. No good will come of playing most hands out of position, as you have to overcome a huge drawback in being out of position. Good poker players play on the button only. It gives you the advantage of seeing your opponent's actions before acting yourself. Additionally, you act in position not only on the flop, but also on the turn and on the river. This way you can use the information you gain against your opponent.
2. Not keeping to your bankroll
HU is a game with a large dispersion. Even if you are more skilled than your opponent, your playing will depend a great deal on the cards you are dealt, making this variant more dispersive and sensitive to bankroll management. If you don't play HU in accordance with the rules of bankroll management, the chances of you losing everything are extremely high.
3. Playing too tightly
Many players who are used to playing at a full table are bad at adapting their card ranges to the HU game. If you have only one opponent, you have to broaden the way you play. Hands which you would fold at a full table may be suitable for a raise in a heads-up game. Just be sure that you have adapted your ranges well.
4. Bluffing too often
There are many nice moments for bluff and semi-bluff in HU. A good player will adapt to it, and will lower his standards for calling. Be sure that you are balanced between your bluffing and value-betting, and that you are bluffing in position and not trying to make your opponent fold on air.
Since a lot of hands are played in a HU game, there are a number of chances where you'll catch a bad beat. Be sure that whilst you play you do not become angry, or irritated, and you don't just keep on playing, no matter the cost. Playing in such a way will lead to defeat in any form of poker, but it is especially lethal in HU. Take a break and watch a movie instead.
6. Playing too passively
Of course, there are places for check and call in any well-balanced game, but if you play in such a passive manner all the time, you are likely to lose more than you will win. In this case, it will always be your opponent's decision as to when he will increase the pot, and when he will get a free card for his draw. If you never bet, then you never give your opponent a chance to fold.
7. Do not adapt to your opponent
Winning in HU play often depends on how well you adapt to your opponent. You should adapt to your opponent's manner of playing so that you can make profit from his weak points. If you play each hand exactly the same way, then as a result your opponent will adapt to you and you'll end up being exploited.
8. Do not concentrate on the game
Surf the net, watch TV, chat to your friends on Skype whilst playing HU and you can forget all about winning. Winning depends on your levels of concentration and the focus you have on your opponent's play.
9. Make standard bets which differ according to the strength of hand you have
Bet size plays a significant role in HU play. If you contribute to a large pot with marginal hands when out of position or if you slow play monster hands, very soon your opponents will get used to your playing style and will adapt their play to the size of your bet, and that will lead to losses. You should either always make the same bets or change the size of your bet at random, independent to the strength of your hand. The second requires a much higher level of skill, so try to make all your bets the same size when beginning.
10. Play just for pleasure
Poker is not a game for the tired, unwell or drunk player! Be sure you are tuned in to the game and wish nothing more than to demonstrate top-notch playing. Your tenacity will be rewarded.