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Old 12-31-2005, 12:25 PM
Indiana Indiana is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 69
Default 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,

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