Tournaments: Playing Heads-Up
written by BeatTheFish.com
says, "Never fold from the small blind, and stay aggressive! Even
though I'm akin to a goldfish, I still pack a mean heads-up punch."
and go buffs, this is a common situation that you should
learn to master if youíre sick of second-place finishes. When itís
down to just you and one other opponent, the whole dynamic of the
game changes. Every subsequent hand is going to require an action or
reaction from you. You can change the pace of the game at any point.
When youíre down to heads-up play, youíre going to need to get
aggressive. If youíre fortunate enough to have a timid opponent, you
can easily manipulate them and take a lot of their stack before they
realize whatís going on.
Playing heads-up, youíre always going to be in either the small
blind or the big blind. The small blind is the preferable position,
as youíre going to act rather than react. Youíll take control of the
hand. The odds are that your opponent isnít going to be holding a
decent hand, so you should play aggressively most of the time. Learn
what size raise it takes for your opponent to lay down his cards.
Itís usually tough for him to call, even if he knows youíre just
bluffing at him, because heís going to be at a disadvantage for the
rest of the hand unless he really hits something. If your opponent
keeps folding his hands to your raise, why not keep raising? That
way, youíll also know that he probably has something when he decides
to stay in the hand or plays back at you.
An aggressive play that I like to make in the big blind is when my
opponent just flat-calls from the small blind. He probably doesnít
have much, but figures he can see the flop for cheap. Donít let him!
Try about a pot-sized raise and see if that shakes him. If he stays
in and you donít think the flop helped him, bet at it again. Of
course, youíll be taking a risk that your opponent isnít slowplaying
a big hand, but you need to be taking those kind of risks when
youíre playing heads-up.
Hands that I like to raise and even go all-in with preflop include
any Ace, any pocket pair, any two face cards, and suited connectors.
You put pressure on your opponent when you do this, especially when
you have him covered in chips. He knows that heís got to put
everything in to call you, and a lot of players canít handle that,
especially when theyíre holding something like 6-2 offsuit. I never
recommend folding your small blind in heads-up play, either. That is
a timid play that forfeits your positional advantage.
Stay aggressive heads-up, and also consider mixing it up by
slowplaying everything once in a while. Did you make the nut flush
on the flop? Top pair with top kicker? Just call your opponent down.
Itíll really bewilder him when you show it down on the river, and
will make him afraid to bluff you in future hands.
General Poker Strategy
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