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DeuceAce Poker Discussion Forums > Poker Articles And Reviews > Poker Articles » Heads-Up Poker | Aggression pays!


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Old 02-20-2006, 04:03 AM #1

  John D

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Heads-Up Poker | Aggression pays!

Heads-Up Poker is the climax to every single game of Texas Holdem, if you are going to win you will always face a heads up situation.

Heads up poker is where you play one-on-one against a single opponent and whether you start off with two players in the game or two thousand, the result is always the same - a heads up between the final two players.

If you start with a high number of players, or indeed any number of players bigger than two, the game will lose one of them at a time as they run out of chips until you are left with the final pairing - the heads-up.

Now heads-up poker is different from the rest of the tournament and requires a different mindset in order to be successful. Nowhere is the contrast more stark than in online Texas Holdem poker play and if you've never made it to the final of a Hold Ďem tournament you are in for a rollercoaster ride when you do!

The pace is extremely fast and furious with little or no time to think, you are relying mostly on your experience and quick thinking to pull you through. But the number one strategy you need to adopt when playing heads-up poker online is to be aggressive. It is a ruthless winner-takes-all situation and if you don't show enough determination and aggression, your opponent almost certainly will and you will quickly wilt under the onslaught.

You need to call almost every hand, after all you're paying for the blinds so if you don't call it your opponent gets to keep the blinds for free. Remember also that when it gets to this stage, the blinds are at their highest so every hand is important to win. You canít afford to let one go for free unless you feel you have absolutely no chance of winning the hand.

Of course a Holdem hand that you would probably fold in a ten player situation is often one that you can go all-in with at heads-up poker. Any Ace at all is certainly worth raising and re-raising, the chances are your opponent is adopting a similar strategy to you and he may be going in with a King or Queen along with a lower card.

Say for example you are dealt King-Eight. Now at a ten player poker tournament you would most probably fold this hand in early position, but call or possibly even raise in late position. In a heads-up situation you would be perfectly entitled to go all-in with a reasonable expectation of winning the hand if it got played out.

Vary your play and if you find yourself in front in chips, be even more aggressive! Donít be afraid to put in a big raise with no hand, your opponent will most likely back down unless he has a big hand.
The bottom line is this for heads-up poker - attack or be attacked!
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Article by Ian McIntosh of www.Love-Texas-Holdem.com. Check out the site for all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and poker freerolls.Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.
 
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:46 AM #2

  cochise

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Yep this much is true, usually heads-up poker consists of many hands won before the flop. You should go in trying to win more hands than your opponent and putting yourself in a position to have more chips in case of an all-in hand.

Its hard to win a heads-uo natch by folding a lot...
 
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:40 AM #3

  Lewis84

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Nice article, until the last paragraph i thought...

Why would you want to risk giving someone an easy chance to double up if you've got a nice lead? Obviously if you've got 19,000 chips and they've got 1,000 go for it, but if its say 15,000 & 5,000 and you give them an easy double up you've just let them right back in the game.

In my opinion, you have to just keep working away at them, sure - play a bit more aggressive, but "putting in a big raise with no hand" isn't going to do you many favours.
 
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:26 PM #4

  cochise

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It really depends on the situation Lewis...I've found more times than not in heads up it doesn't pay to wait for the perfect hand. You can lose a lot in blinds just waiting to go all-in and never get the chance to.
 
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Old 03-16-2006, 06:27 PM #5

  Cobalt

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An easy double up, or you take them out the game. There is not safe way to play heads up, the blinds are a killer and it's about putting your balls on the line time and time again.

Sure, drop 5,2o now and again, but you get suited cards or a pocket pair of any value then that constitutes reason to go for it. You can spend 10 hands waiting for something to go all-in with, by which you probably have little or nothing left in the chip department.

Great article, thanks for posting it John.
 
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:43 PM #6

  Lewis84

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt
Sure, drop 5,2o now and again, but you get suited cards or a pocket pair of any value then that constitutes reason to go for it. You can spend 10 hands waiting for something to go all-in with, by which you probably have little or nothing left in the chip department.
So you'd go all in on 5 2 suited? guess we all play the game differently, would be boring if we didnt anyway!
I suppose it depends what we're considering a chip lead aswell, are you talking about a 15k to 5k lead? (so if they double your all even again?) or a good lead, say 18k to 2k? (if this is the case i agree with you, take the chance on most hands)

Of course it depends on the blinds level too, as thats relevent to the chip lead.
 
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Old 03-17-2006, 05:28 AM #7

  cochise

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Well first of all you wouldn't expect an opponent to call every time you go all-in, especially not if they are short stacked. If you want to put all your money in with 5 2, chances are you have live cards and a good chance to pick up a pair and win...pairs usually can take it in heads up play. Its really up to you how to play the actual hand.
 
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Old 03-17-2006, 11:00 AM #8

  Lewis84

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cochise
Well first of all you wouldn't expect an opponent to call every time you go all-in, especially not if they are short stacked.
I've found people are more prepered to go all in when they're short stacked, i think desperation kicks in with a lot of people, mind you, i mostly play $5-$20 heads-up, im sure it would be totally different if you've worked your way to the end of a MTT, i wouldn't know
 
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Old 03-17-2006, 04:02 PM #9

  Cobalt

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Why not? I hit 3 suited cards on the table and more often than not the pot would be mine.

I'm not suggesting going all-in with 5,2 suited, I meant it is a vaguely more valid hand than 5,2 off suited I much prefer to go all in with a pair in hand at least, but as I said, if the cards aren't falling for you, you've just got to pick a hand and go for it. At best you'll win or steal the blinds, at worst you lose. That's what heads up is about, skill is less of a factor at this stage. Yes it's nice to be able to judge a good hand to go all-in on, but you do need an element of luck. After all, even the professionals couldn't do a lot with a high card 5 could they?

Yes, a measure of tilt comes in to the minds of short stacked players, but this can get them back into the game with a couple of lucky breaks. That's why it's important to play a little more wisely when you're in the lead. Sure try and take them out if you get a good starting hand, but you can afford a blind or two to avoid taking a risk on nothing.
 
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Old 03-19-2006, 06:01 AM #10

  cochise

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Lewis again it depends on who you are playing. I personally will wait for the best possible hand when I am short-stacked, I won't call on anything unless I really want to stop playing. You really have to know your opponent and play to his weaknesses as much as possible to win.
 
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