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How to Play Heads-Up Holdem

Article By: RuffPoker.com

I could write a series of articles about how to play Texas Hold’em heads-up. It’s amazing how complicated the game gets when there are only two players at the table; the range of your starting hands open up, your play becomes uber-aggressive, and the importance of reading your opponent goes way up. Heads-up Hold’em is a tough game to master.

However, the rewards of mastery can be great. Consider that the difference in prize money for 1st and 2nd place on a $20 Sit ‘N Go is $40. Improving your heads-up skills could drastically increase your Sit ‘N Go return-on-investment. Here are some tips to help take your Heads-Up Hold’em play to the next level: Be Aggressive

B - E Aggressive.

Aggression is the name of the game; especially when you’re in position. You and your opponent will miss the flop the majority of the time. In Heads-up Hold’em, the pot goes to the bold. You have to be willing to go all the way with hands you wouldn’t think about playing in a ring game.

Open Up Your Starting Hand Range

Your range of acceptable hands should be wide open when you play Heads-up. Face cards are good, A-x is gold, and pocket pairs are the nuts! Suited connectors are also nice to see. You play a lot more hands when you’re playing heads-up.

Be Willing to Play Bottom Pair

It’s pretty rare that the flop will make a hand. In a heads-up situation, even bottom pair can be the best hand. Your opponent will try to make you fold your hand with bets and re-raises. You have to develop a good read on your opponent so you can play mediocre hands well.

Study Your Opponent

You can learn more about a player in 30 minutes of heads-up play than you can in days of full ring play. What are their betting patterns like? Do they raise big hands or just call with them? Will they bet the flop out of position with nothing or will they check? Are they consistent or do they alter their play? Look for any pattern that you can use to decode their hand. The more you know about your opponent’s betting patterns, the more confidently you can bet.

Change Up Your Play

While you’re studying your opponent, your opponent will be studying you. They’ll be looking for patterns in your betting. Don’t give it to them! Change up your play. Raise with good hands and bad, check with the nuts on one hand then bet with it on another. Vary your play. Don’t let your opponent get a read on you.

Becoming a good heads-up player can drastically increase the amount of money you make playing poker. Not only will you increase your Sit ‘N Go return-on-investment, you’ll also be able to take advantage of players on tilt. How many times have you seen a player suffer a bad beat and challenge the “donkey” to a heads-up match? You can profit from their macho bravado! A couple of jabs at their poker ego and you could be heads-up with someone who’s hemorrhaging money.