So, you have played poker for a while and want to show up your poker skills in a head-to-head battle. If you are not sure about your skills, you might need some heads-up poker strategies to develop your strategy.
Poker is one of the most interesting games in a casino. It is mostly dependent on strategies, and it is an honour to be a master of poker. There are many variations of the game, and each variation is as good as the other. Poker is also very fast-paced and intense. It is no exaggeration to say that a heads-up match between two worthy opponents has the same excitement as a top-rated thriller movie.
It is often said that if you can take over your opponent in heads-up poker, you have mastered poker! For pros, heads-up poker is a fine opportunity to show off their skills and make some money. And to help you gain that confidence, we have elaborated some cool heads-up tips. Here, we have spoken about Texas Hold 'em Poker.
Heads up poker terminology
Before we delve into the world of poker tips and poker strategies, we must know some of the terms associated with a heads-up poker match. We will not develop our poker skill set if we do not know the commonly used terms in a heads-up poker tournament. So let us get familiar with the terms:
Hole cards: Each of the play heads is dealt two cards face down. These cards are called as such.
Community cards: These are face-up on the table, and the play heads can use them along with their face-down cards to make hands.
Small blind: The position of the small blind is to the left of the dealer. A small blind is the smaller of the two bets that are placed pre-flop.
Big blind: This is the first full bet in Texas Hold 'em poker. As opposed to the small blind, the big blind is the larger of the two forced bets.
Flop: The first three community cards that are dealt on the table is called the flop.
Pre-flop: Whatever actions are taken by the play heads before the community cards are dealt.
Post-flop: Whatever actions are taken by the heads-up players after the community cards' dealing.
Pot odds: Pot odds is the amount of money currently present in the pot compared to how much you have to call to stay in hand. Suppose there is $100 in the pot and your bet call is $10. The pot odds is 10:1. Pot odds are very useful as they affect a player's decision and the heads up poker strategy. Like in the given example of pot odds, a heads up player must make the call if the player's hand wins one in ten times.
Top-pair: Two best possible pairs based on the heads-up players' cards and those on the table.
Value bet: When you consider that you are in a good position with your hand (you are certain that you have the best possible hand), you place a bet to entice your opponent to call. This is called a value bet. You want to be paid off by your opponent. The bet must be smaller than a normal bet.
Stack size: Stack refers to the chips each of the heads-up players has on the table. Stack sizes refer to the volume of each stack.
Suited connectors: When two cards belonging to the same suit are in sequential order.
Folding: The act of surrendering your hand and ending your participation in a heads-up match. You resort to folding when you realize you cannot win the pot with the hand you have.
Strong hand: A hand that is strong enough to give you a chance of winning.
Face card: A card with a face on it like King, Queen and Jacks.
Heads Up Poker Tips for Beginners!
Heads up poker involve more strategy and less luck. The sessions continue till one of the players goes broke. So, in this poker type, you are putting your entire bankroll at stake. Often, weak players are targeted first. And you certainly do not want to be targeted. So here begins our list of poker tips.
When you are in a head-to-head poker battle, it is useless to go on the offensive side. You cant the opponent's moves influence your moves. If you fold half of your hands, you will lose half of your money. In the long run, the aggressive player will stand longer even if they have equal skills.
2.Each hand is important!
The pros at Texas Hold 'em will always tell you that 2-7 holes are the worst cards a player can hold. And they have good, logical reasons backing this claim. As only two players play, the chances of an AA showing up are even lesser, especially if you already hold one A.
If you do a little math, you will realize that the chances of the rival beating you are slimmer. At a full table, the same chances are 9 times more. With so few hands dealt, the board does not connect to anything. This is why the face value of the cards becomes vital. The higher face value will gain you victory. Following this logic, 2-3 will be the lowest hand you can have.
3. The winning Ace
In addition to the highest card, an Ace can increase your chances of winning by 52%! Since most of the games in heads-up poker are won by the highest card, having an ace is a cherry on top. A pocket pair is valuable. And having any pair puts you in a better position than any high cards.
The logic is simple; the opponent will call you when they have a confident hand and fold when they have trash. The stats are to make aggressive play easier for you without being reckless.
4. Intimidate the aggressive opponent by being more aggressive
By now, you must have realized that “being aggressive” is one of the most important tips you need to remember.
But do you deal with an aggressive opponent? By playing more aggressively. Being pushy against all their aggressive hands can sometimes work and help you gain control in the match. But other times, excessive aggression just to gain control can affect your strategy.
If the opponent sees through this, they might push you whenever you try to get fake control.
Now, this is a bad strategy when you are playing at a full table. But heads up, poker is a different game and demands advanced strategies. You can actually win by calling if you can figure out the odds.
A genuine calling station is a player who does not get a read. And because of this, the player does not fold as they believe that they will lose.
But you can use this strategy to your benefit. If you can read how strong your opponent's hand is, you can act like a calling station. Make them believe you are a calling station when you have a stronger hand.
This approach should be applied when you have a stronger hand.
Make them believe that you are the weaker player
“Underdog” will be a fancier word for this approach. When it comes to heads-up poker, it is more of a mind game. It is smarter and easier to throw your opponent off the track. Being unpredictable can work at a full table.
But you might need to apply some twisted strategy here. One of the best tips is to trick your opponent into thinking that you are a specific “type” of player and get them to play like you want them to.
Simply put, you trick them into playing how you want them to just by setting up a false image of you. For instance, if you call frequently, the opponent will think they are the better player and loosen up.
Steal the blinds!
Once you make the opponent believe that you are nuts, the opponent is likely to make many mistakes. These are the gaps that you need to take advantage of and steal those blinds.
Stealing blinds is crucial in heads-up poker. One stolen chip gets you ahead by two chips. The blinds are comparatively smaller, so a few lost chips hardly mean anything. But you steal those blinds 20 times in a row, and that reduces the opponent's stack by 30%. You can steal a ton of chips before the rival realizes what's happening.
Match your open raise size with your range
Some poker head players decide to open-raise to 2x on the button. Some players go even higher with 2.5x or 3x. There is no problem with such open raising as long as they are used with the right range. Usually, a large raise size is associated with a tighter range, and a small raise size is associated with a looser range. The correct raise size depends upon how a poker player plays in the big blind. Here are some examples:
Suppose the big blind constantly folds to pre-flop raises. The poker players must limit their raising to a small size. The size must ideally be between 2x to 2.25x.
Suppose the big blind rarely folds to pre-flop raises. The poker players must increase their raising to a large raise which is ideally between 2.5x to 3x.
We must also consider the post-flop tendencies and the 3 bet percentage of the big blind while choosing our range and size.
On the whole, poker heads must remember one point; if the opponent is playing with tighter stats, one should open more hands. It is recommended that the default open-raising be 2.5x.
Bring a balance to your heads up poker strategy
More often than not, we notice that the playing heads play a poker game with an exploitative strategy. Simultaneously, this strategy will work if the heads play against each other every once in a while but will fail in a heads-up poker game.
This is because, in a heads-up poker match, the playing heads are likely to encounter the same scenario on multiple occasions. Suppose you are one of the playing heads. Your game plan involves an exploitative strategy. Your opponent observes you over a period of time and develops a counter-strategy. Your opponent would not have been able to develop the counter strategy if your poker strategy was balanced.
These were some smart tips to get you started and enhance your game. These tips and tricks give insight into the complex gameplay and thought process behind heads-up poker. Practising and experimenting with these tips will get you into that mindset and help you win!
Heads up poker FAQs
How many poker players can play a heads-up match?
A maximum of two gamblers can play the match. Two gamblers enter heads-up play when they think they have gathered enough poker skill and can compete head-to-head. They believe that they have enough knowledge regarding heads-up poker strategy to enter into a tournament against one opponent.
Which is the best poker site to play heads-up poker?
There are many such sites in Australia. You play at that poker site that suits you best. Some of them are as follows:
- Ace Play Casino
- Fresh Deck Poker
- Hold 'em Pro
- Governor of Poker
- Zynga Poker