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Heads Up Poker Strategy: 5 Tips for Beginners

Grinderschool Free Poker Strategy Article


As more and more of Grinderschool subscribers improve their cash game play they will be diving into Heads up cash poker. I have a good deal of experience playing both Heads up Cash and Heads up SNGs; read below for advice on poker heads up strategy for beginner players:

1. Table select really well
-- Try to avoid regulars, especially the tighter ones. There are plenty of bad opponents to choose from while playing heads up, so why make life difficult on yourself?

2. Set stop-loss limits
-- Tilt is a huge reason why some good heads up players go busto. I set my losses at 2 buy-ins per opponent and 5 buy-ins per day. Momentum (and variance) is HUGE in heads up poker, so even if you feel you are better than your opponent, if you have dropped multiple buy-ins to them it's generally tough to reverse the flow of the match.

3. Play very loose in position
-- Position is paramount in heads up poker. Seeing how there are only 2 players involved in every pot, getting to see your opponent's actions first is paramount. The best heads up players understand this, leading to my next point.

4. Play very tight out of position
-- I rarely call normal 3-4bb raises OOP. There are times where it is correct to do so, but generally I like to 3bet/fold pre flop out of position. It makes marginal poker hands easier to play and being the aggressor can help you to win pots you normally wouldn't win otherwise. A general example would be your opponent opens TT to 3x otb and you 3bet KJo to 11bbs, he calls. The flop comes Axx, you continuation bet and win the pot.

5. Take notes, adjust to your opponent. TAKE YOUR TIME
-- Take your time when playing someone (1 table max when starting) and take good notes and then ask yourself "how can I exploit this?" A side benefit from taking notes, taking your time, and making good decisions is that playing slower can really tilt some opponents. People like playing heads up poker online because of the action. If you are playing slower the sense of fast-action goes away, and might force/coerce your opponent to make spewy plays benefiting you.

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