Heads up poker is a lot more intense than other forms of poker. This is poker in its most pure form. It’s just you and one opponent, so there is nowhere to hide.
While a tight strategy at a full table waiting to stack someone when you make a big hand is possible, you certainly need to change things up in heads up play. Understanding poker odds is essential to manage your pot sizing accordingly, no messing-up, every shot counts.
Most people don’t seem to realize just how different playing one vs one poker is from playing full ring or short handed games.
Heads up is a whole different beast. Some players are great at it while others don’t have a chance of succeeding in this form of the game, because it just doesn’t suit their style of play.
Here a Few Things You Need to Know About Heads Up Poker:
Hand strength changes in heads up play. The strength of starting hands changes when compared to full ring or 6-max poker games online. This is due to the fact that since you’re facing just one opponent, there is less chance that you’re up against a hand that is dominating yours.
The cards don’t matter nearly as much when playing heads up. Many inexperienced players wait around patiently for a hand, and when they finally get one they either raise or go all in. Their opponent knowing they finally have something folds, and then they go back to waiting around for a hand.
Approaching heads up play this way will just eat away your chips quickly, both from the blinds and because you’re playing in such a predictable manner. Any A, K or Q hand is playable one vs one because in addition to stealing pots they can make big hands. Top pair is a massive hand in heads up. All pairs and suited connectors are also good to play.
Aggression is Important in Heads-Up Poker!
Although you may be able to limp in more often, limping in every time doesn’t work. On the button, you should throw away the complete junk but you should raise about the top 70% of hands in heads up play, and sometimes mix it up by limping in sometimes against maniacs or calling stations who don’t like to fold to c-bets.
Aggressive poker is a winning poker strategy, and it’s no different when playing one vs one. You have to be aggressive and this means playing more hands. Even when you don’t have much of a hand yourself, the majority of the time your opponent is going to have a weak hand they can be pushed off of.
Use table position to your advantage. While it’s not too difficult to get position on weak players at a full table, position switches every hand in heads up. You will have the button and position on your opponent 50% of the time, and you will be out of position the other 50% of the time.
Raise more often on the button then when you are the big blind. In the big blind you will only want to play around 25% of hands, because hands that can be profitable on the button all of a sudden are less attractive to play out of position. A raise on the button can pick up a lot of small pots uncontested, and bigger ones on the flop, turn or river, with and without legitimate hands. A lot of the time your opponent will have missed the flop as well, and if this is the case, having position really helps.
It can take some adjusting to heads up play and playing a lot more hands than what you normally would, but it’s essential that you do so. With aggression being such a key factor in a poker player’s arsenal in this situation, it does mean you will face a lot more aggressive players in heads up play, and you need to be comfortable dealing with aggression.
Good players will be putting you in tough spots where you’ll be unsure if they have the nuts as they’re trying to represent or attempting yet another multi-street bluff. With that being said, just because an opponent in aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good, they could just be a reckless maniac.
At the end of the day, if an opponent is making you uncomfortable, you can always sit out and play another opponent, or drop down in stakes where there will be fishier opponents. Smart table selection is a poker strategy in itself and is an even more important consideration when playing heads up games.
Pretty much every online poker room accepting Indian players has heads up cash games and sit-n-go ´s you can play for real money. The micro stakes one vs one tables are a good way to practice and hone your skills. The quality of play may not be as good as higher limits, which is obviously a great thing if you are trying to build your online poker bankroll whilst working on different aspects of your HU poker game at the same time.