Features of playing Heads-up tables
Heads-up is a one-on-one poker game
Facing one opponent is typical for both tournament poker and cash gamesMany novice poker players believe that playing against one opponent is much easier than playing at a long table, but this opinion is fundamentally wrong. In fact, poker heads up refers to the highest aerobatics in this game and requires flexible tactics, unpredictable behavior, thorough knowledge of poker psychology and skill adapt to the style of play of each opponent that you meet at the tables for two participants. When participating in a heads-up hand, you should take into account the specifics of this format, since it is radically different from tables with multiple opponents. Everything changes here, from the range of hands played to the most complex strategic approaches. You should not expect that in the format of a heads-up game, you can develop an optimal strategy that will work in each hand. This is an impossible task, because the key factor in the game against one opponent will always be the same one. The same techniques are not suitable for an aggressive maniac and a tight NIT, so in each hand you will have to adapt to the opponent's game. The small and big blinds alternate, which means that the player will place the minimum bet and the double bet in turn. It follows that, in any case, the player loses every game. the giveaway will lose part of its stack.
There are only two positions in heads-up poker: the button and the big blind.
Both opponents are required to place mandatory blind bets
From the point of view of the distribution process itself, the first one is more profitable.
The button can leave the game preflop With the least losses, moreover, on further streets, the player in this position decides second, he has more space for action. Features of the opponent. In the course of playing each hand, the opponents will remain the same. This makes it possible to study the opponent's playing style and draw conclusions about their tendency to bluff. For a successful heads-up game, you just need to be able to read your opponent's hand, know what pocket cards they are calling a raise with. At the same time, it is much more difficult to determine the range of hands played in a one-on-one game, since it is quite wide. Unpredictability is the basis of tactics in the heads-up game. An experienced opponent will very quickly be able to draw conclusions about what to expect from the opponent, so the player's tactics should be flexible. you should frequently change the range of hands, style of behavior, and size of bets.
In a one - on-one game, it is important to take into account the average pot score of all hands played.
As a rule, the size of the pot does not change very much, so in the event of a predominance of wins, the game will eventually turn out to be positive. You should make the most of promising hands, trying to force your opponent to invest in the pot, and get out of the game on time, keeping spending to a minimum. The style of the game. The tight style of play is completely unsuitable for heads-up hands, as it will lead to the loss of part or all of the stack at a distance. When playing one - on-one, you should practice an aggressive style, play a wide range of starting hands. Careful play will very quickly become predictable for the opponent, who will readily respond to each player's raise.
This psychological technique fully justifies itself in a one-on-one game.
However, you should not focus entirely on this trick, as the opponent will also not be able to do it. ignore the opportunity to bluff. It is very important to be able to read the opponent and correctly identify attempts to cheat. The heads-up format is very dynamic. The player will always have very little time to assess the situation and make a decision. At long tables, participants have more time to analyze their own position and study their opponents. One of the variants of the tournament game is the Shutout format. Registration for such events ends before the start of the competition, and the tournament itself is divided into rounds, in each of which participants play heads-up through and through. In each subsequent round, new pairs are formed, and this continues until there is only one final table with a pair of players. Experienced and strong poker players take part in tournaments of this format, so to win, you need to have a deep knowledge of the strategy of playing against one opponent. In regular tournaments, the final stage also ends with a one-on-one table.
This is quite a fascinating sight, especially in tournaments of global significance, such as the WSOP.
It is worth noting that professionals who find themselves in the heads-up of the Main Event often win with very dubious hands, which again indicates in favor of aggressiveness and thorough bluffing. Everyone knows the "Brunson Hand", consisting of a ten and a two. With these pocket cards, the poker legend won the WSOP Main Event twice. The heads-up format is available in every poker room, but you should not rush to sit down at the tables with one opponent, because winning will not be as easy as those who are new to poker assume. Playing one - on-one requires experience, deep knowledge of strategy and psychology, and the ability to adapt to each game situation.