Tips for improving your heads-up play

Heads-up is the most intense and fierce part of a poker game, when the two remaining players at the table have to bring forth their entire arsenal of skills and strategic moves. Heads-up should be played aggressively but you should not forget considering the board and the other player’s cards in order to build an appropriate strategy. Aggression without strategic thinking is a recipe for failure.

Aggressive play means that you lead with bets and raises in order to win all those small pots when neither you nor your opponent have good hands. Aggression will not work when your opponent has a very strong hand because he will take advantage of your aggression to attract you deep into that hand making you lose big money. This is why it is important to use aggression selectively. Instead always use your reading skills. They will keep you alert for any signs indicating that your opponent might have a stronger hand and in this way you’ll know when it’s best to fold and when to call.

Position is another important factor in the heads-up play besides aggression. As the last player in the hand, you’ll have the advantage of gathering information about your opponent who acts before you so your can take decisions more easily. As a result, you can control the game in response to his actions. In the opposite situation, when you are the first player, you decide what information to send out to your opponent. You can make him believe you have a strong hand when you don’t and vice versa, and he will react to that information. It depends on how good his reading skills are to call your bluff. Of course, bluffing can’t be used too often.

An overall strategy is to build yourself an image and be consistent with it. If your opponent comes to believe it and expects you to play each hand according to that image, he will have a hard time discovering your bluffs.

To make a long story short, here are the main ideas about Heads Up play:

1. Aggression should not be used in excess because it will make you win only small pots and lose the big ones
2. Concentration and reading your opponent should be a constant of your heads up play
3. Position can be used to your advantage whether you are in early or late position. As an early player you can decide what type of information to send out to your opponent while as a late player you have the power of taking your decisions based on the information provided by the other player.

This post presented you the most essential factors of the heads-up play. All you have to do now is to add to them your personal skills and experience and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success!

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