Seize The Showdown
If you want to win poker tournaments you’ve got to be a skilled heads-up poker player.
It hurts more to make it all the way to heads-up and finish second, than it does to be the first player out of a tournament.
Remember, a second-place finish in a World Series of Poker event pays less and doesn’t come with the infamy of winning a WSOP bracelet.
With the advent of online poker rooms such as the OddsPoker Room, you can now practice your heads-up play whenever you want without grinding through an entire tournament and hoping luck occasionally finds you.
All poker rooms offer one-on-one heads-up tourneys or multi-table heads-up tourneys in which you can test your heads-up skills.
When you finally get down to just yourself and one other player in a poker tournament, it’s time to change gears.
Heads-up play should be played differently than how you would play a table with three or more players.
The worst thing you can do is continue playing the same way, especially if you were playing tight.
Tight play should be abandoned when you reach heads-up.
Winning while playing heads-up is all about one thing… Aggression!
If you’re not aggressive you’ll need luck to win, and you’ll likely end up getting repeatedly crushed by your opponents.
Scared money never lasts because once your opponent picks up on your tame play, they’ll run over you with big bets.
Since there’s just the two of you, most flops will be a dud for both players.
You need to be aggressive because the only way to win a pot it to have the best hand or cause your opponent to fold.
Don’t give your opponent free cards and free looks at the flop.
Be aggressive and make them pay to play.
One thing a lot of beginner poker players don’t realize is that the value of your starters changes considerably in a heads-up situation.
This about how valuable a hand like Q-8 whould be on a full table…
It isn’t really a hand you would want to play very often.
However, in heads-up play the general consensus is that you want to play any hand that has a vaule of Q-7 or higher.
Experts (and a computer) have worked out that hands valued Q-7 or higher will win more than 50% of the time during heads-up play.
This leads to two other important aspects of heads-up play:
Trapping, and reading your opponent.
By varying your play you can trap your opponent when you have the nuts and bleed a ton of chips out of him.
By occasionally betting and raising with nothing, this will make it harder to read your play when you actually have a hand.
While making your own bluffs and traps, carefully observe your opponent for betting patterns, tells and other gateways.
- How often do they raise?
- Do they only raise preflop with certain cards?
- How often do they call your raise?
- Do they call your raise with draws or with made hands?
Answering these questions will help you make the right decision when it’s your turn to act.
One last tip on heads-up play:
Don’t be afraid to occasionally chase flush and straight draws if it won’t cost you too much.
If you hit these draws heads-up they’ll often pay off big and make you more money then you will lose when occasionally chasing.
So remember these poker tips about heads-up when you play online poker!
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