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-   -   Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science (http://archives2.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=408212)

Indiana 12-31-2005 12:25 PM

Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
I love heads up. No other way to put it. I like to parlay them with a SNG which works well for me. The beauty of HU games is the low variance do to the deep stacks and low blinds. Because of this, once u learn the HU game you will almost never have a losing night and will freeroll in your SNGs. Of course, we are not talking about an end game heads up situation, but rather a pure heads up match.

I wanted to start this thread to share the sweet science that is the pure heads up match. About 6 months ago I decided to embark upon a new poker strategy which made HU matches my staple in the day to day grind. I have been very successful, amassing a nice buck in this racket and decided to share my wisdom here. Below I will list the 10 most important things that I have learned from my HU experience. Please retort with your own critique. Here Goes (Not in order):

1. The first 10 minutes (level 1) is the trapping/study period. Do not get yourself behind in this period. You are not going to be chasing or bluff raising too much here. This is your time to understand the proclivities of your opponent. If you run up against an aggro raiser like IrieGuy, don't worry, he will get his comeuppance soon enough.

2. Do not try to snap off large river bets that appear to be bluffs with something like a single middle pair. You may catch a guy from time to time but over the long run you will get hurt. Of course, this may not apply to the aggro player.

3. Do not be afraid to check your powerful hands to an aggressive player, even at the river. He wants to win every pot as the aggressor but will fold in a heartbeat if you show strength.

4. Do not decide what you will do on auto-pilot before your opponent has even acted. Your profits at the end of the day will come from putting a lot of thought into each street of each hand.

5. Do not call raises, even mini-raises, unless you are ready to make a move at the pot if the situation affords it. A good player (Irie, ZeeJustin, et. al) will exploit this quickly. You are better off reraising preflop than just calling. Its hard to hit a flop and you are taking this burden if you call preflop with a marginal hand. Put the burden of hitting back on your opponent, especially if he is the aggressor.

6. Do not waste good hands. There is no need to get aggressive preflop with a hand like AA, KK, QQ if your opponent may not call. See a flop and let him commit.

7. After level 2, its time to start raising preflop and attempting to gain the blinds if you can. Play this strategy to the stack sizes at this point in the tourney. Do not be afraid to get your opponent all in if his winning the hand will put you back to even in chip stacks. Of course, you want to be no worse than 60-40 to do this if possible. The worst thing you can do when you are a 2:1 chip leader at level 3 is raise preflop and fold to his reraise or drop the hand on the flop without taking a stab. This simply puts him back into the game.

8. Most of the time the blinds are not going to get large enough to become a maniac. Pushbotting and overdoing the all ins will often get you into trouble in the late game heads up matches. I am being general here, but I hope that most of you will get my drift. Aggression with selectivity is the key.

9. As the blinds start to rise, you will have to start smelling out the weakness in your opponent. This will come with experience. If he is dumb enough to build a pot out of position with a weak hand and starts to chicken out on a later street, you will have to selectively put him to the test. The key word here is SELECTIVELY.

10. Do not wear yourself down and do not try to multi-task too much while playing HU matches. The key to success in HU matches is to get a handle on your oppoenents style and exploit it. You would not want to 5 tables these games.

Good luck at the tables,

Indy

12-31-2005 12:31 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Nice post, thanks for that.

HU is one (of many/all) facet of my game I would like to sharpen up.

Indiana 12-31-2005 12:32 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Thank you. I'm sure there will be some flaming soon.

Indy

skipperbob 12-31-2005 12:35 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
Thank you. I'm sure there will be some flaming soon.

Indy

[/ QUOTE ]

Not likely....Irieguy is out-of-town for the next week [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

12-31-2005 12:40 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
The beauty of HU games is the low variance.

[/ QUOTE ]

I hate to break it to you but you're wrong. Do you see why?

Mr_J 12-31-2005 12:42 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The beauty of HU games is the low variance.

[/ QUOTE ]

I hate to break it to you but you're wrong. Do you see why?

[/ QUOTE ]

No he's not.

Indiana 12-31-2005 12:43 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Nope Im not wrong. In HU games you will not achieve the maximum EV but you will attain the min variance.

Indy

Jbrochu 12-31-2005 12:44 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
I think this is a good summary. I slightly disagree with a couple of points.



[ QUOTE ]
6. Do not waste good hands. There is no need to get aggressive preflop with a hand like AA, KK, QQ if your opponent may not call. See a flop and let him commit.


[/ QUOTE ]

This depends entirely on your style. If you're very aggressive with non-premium hands you need to continue the aggresssion with premium hands. Otherwise, you become an open book to your opponent.

[ QUOTE ]
5. Do not call raises, even mini-raises, unless you are ready to make a move at the pot if the situation affords it. A good player (Irie, ZeeJustin, et. al) will exploit this quickly. You are better off reraising preflop than just calling. Its hard to hit a flop and you are taking this burden if you call preflop with a marginal hand. Put the burden of hitting back on your opponent, especially if he is the aggressor.


[/ QUOTE ]

Deep stacked, I call or raise almost every mini-raise otherwise you will get pushed around.

12-31-2005 12:45 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Must be the way I play HU then because I always have massive variance compared to 10 man SNGs

Mr_J 12-31-2005 12:49 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Wouldn't mind seeing some figures if you're fine with that, eg

- ballpark roi
- average length of sng
- stakes
- sample

HU is something that has interested me for awhile, and it's just the insecurity of income that has stopped me from having a serious go.

Also, do you find other serious HU players?? If so, how do you avoid them? Sit 2nd and just put up with missing seats?

gumpzilla 12-31-2005 12:49 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]

I hate to break it to you but you're wrong. Do you see why?

[/ QUOTE ]

I'll pile on here, but I'll explain briefly, so I think it's a fair trade. The standard deviation for an HU SNG is going to be on the order of 1 buyin - if you're winning 50% and losing 50% for 2 and 0 buyins, that's an average of 1 buyin, and then you have 2 possible scenarios, both of which involve a distance of 1 from the average. The standard deviation for a conventionally structured SNG is widely accepted to be somewhere between 1.5-2.0 buyins. So the standard deviation is lower for the HU game, suggesting your performance will be closer to average and thus less variable.

kitaristi0 12-31-2005 01:08 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Great post. However, you should add:

1. Position is everything.

Indiana 12-31-2005 01:38 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Position is very important, especially because you have control in building pots when you have position.

Thanks,

Indy

12-31-2005 01:57 PM

Post deleted by Cola
 

Indiana 12-31-2005 02:12 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
I've learned a lot from these forums. I don't mind sharing what I have learned.

Indy

DeathbySuckout 12-31-2005 02:37 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
Great post Indy. I love playing HU, but I feel I am too week tight. Seems like everytime I turn up the aggression, I get burned. Maybe I am not correct with my timing, I don't know.

Do you find that the strategy changes much between low and high stakes HU matches?

citanul 12-31-2005 02:46 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The beauty of HU games is the low variance.

[/ QUOTE ]

I hate to break it to you but you're wrong. Do you see why?

[/ QUOTE ]

you have 0 of 1 do you see why posts remaining.

c

12-31-2005 02:47 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The beauty of HU games is the low variance.

[/ QUOTE ]

I hate to break it to you but you're wrong. Do you see why?

[/ QUOTE ]

you have 0 of 1 do you see why posts remaining.

c

[/ QUOTE ]

Sorry, sir

12-31-2005 02:52 PM

Post deleted by Cola
 

gumpzilla 12-31-2005 03:01 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]

Unfortunately, I've tried to explain a certain techniques before and got bashed for it by $10 players (lol), so I'm deciding whether it's worth the effort. Probably still is.

[/ QUOTE ]

Teacher, you must help me. I seek to learn the true Five Elements Poker, so that I may revenge myself on those who have dishonored me with their disreputable River Strike style. You are the greatest poker warrior in the land. Help me, please! I beg of you!

12-31-2005 03:02 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I've learned a lot from these forums. I don't mind sharing what I have learned.

Indy

[/ QUOTE ]

That's cool, it's good you think that way. I just prefer not to give away things to those I may face and make them better players. Actually, I doubt many posters here play at my level so I'm not sure they would understand what I was talking about. I'm all about helping players reach higher limits as that helps me too (getting bad players to play at levels beyond their talent).

Unfortunately, I've tried to explain a certain techniques before and got bashed for it by $10 players (lol), so I'm deciding whether it's worth the effort. Probably still is.

[/ QUOTE ]

If there's anything I've learned from reading books, playing, and reading forums, is that there is always another way to play a hand... especially in a HU match. When HU, different styles work for different people. It is up to the individual to find a style that works best for him, and try out new strategies. Notice there is no book written specifically on "Heads up Play." (I think Matt Matros may write one).

Anyway, I would love to hear your HU insight, and I will share some of mine.

PrayingMantis 12-31-2005 03:04 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
1. The first 10 minutes (level 1) is the trapping/study period. Do not get yourself behind in this period. You are not going to be chasing or bluff raising too much here. This is your time to understand the proclivities of your opponent. If you run up against an aggro raiser like IrieGuy, don't worry, he will get his comeuppance soon enough.

[/ QUOTE ]

A lot of hands can be played in 10 minutes in an online HU game, so in fact you can learn a lot about your opp (if you're good enough) even in much less than 10 mintues. Limiting yourself in those 10 mintues to only studying or trapping is giving up on a lot of EV, since most of the players play very poorly when stacks are relatively deep (and also when stacks are not so deep, in different ways of course).

Many poor players on many buy-in levels will make enormous mistakes in those first ten mintues, there's no reason to sit back and not exploiting it, using your whole arsenal.

citanul 12-31-2005 03:07 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
jukel, if what your post is is an admission that you intend to contribute nothing to this forum, i will take it as exactly that, and do with you what we do with such people.

c

jmillerdls 12-31-2005 03:45 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
must be a small sample size then, because this simply could not be the case

TheNoodleMan 12-31-2005 05:43 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The beauty of HU games is the low variance.

[/ QUOTE ]

I hate to break it to you but you're wrong. Do you see why?

[/ QUOTE ]

you have 0 of 1 do you see why posts remaining.

c

[/ QUOTE ]

Sorry, sir

[/ QUOTE ]
Don't feel too bad, I wasted mine too.
Citanul was much harsher back then, but it was good for me.

FlyWf 12-31-2005 07:33 PM

Re: Pure Heads Up Poker-The Sweet Science
 
I'll ignore everything else you wrote about, you know, poker and focus on your first sentence. "Parlay"? "Freeroll"? That smells of a gambling problem in the making. That isn't a good way to think about this stuff.


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