Fighting for small pots in heads up no limit hold’em

Poker strategy

Heads Up vs. Full Ring Poker strategy

I have never been a big fan of heads up no-limit hold’em as it simply doesn’t suit my natural style of play. I much prefer to play a form of poker that my level of ability can handle and that is full ring games. However in full ring games then you can often let small pots go. This is because of the fact that sitting and waiting can lead to big pay offs. You need to remember here where the profit comes from in full ring games and it is usually connected with patience. Usually in full ring games then the big winners over time tend to be the players who can out wait everyone else.

Heads up poker strategy

Sooner or later someone makes a big mistake and you make your money on a few big hands. There are only a small number of confrontations with any poker player. If you are sitting in a game with nine other players and the stakes are relatively low then there will nearly always be value somewhere. So if gets folded around to the button who is constantly raising then you can let this go more than you could in heads up poker play. This is because in heads up play then an opponent would quickly know that he was facing a really tight player and would constantly raise their blinds. However in heads up play then every single hand that you play will be against the same opponent. This means that you will no longer be able to let a series of small pots go in pursuit of a big pot. Let us say that you are playing $2-$4 heads up and you fold to a raise in the first ten hands. You are handing a big lead to your opponent and if they are very good then the big pot that you will be chasing will simply never materialise unless you are fortunate enough to be on the right side of big hand against big hand.

Adjusting hands for heads up poker

When you play heads up then you are constantly faced with situations where your hand is either weak or marginal. However you need to adjust your hand values because hands that are marginal in full ring acquire more value as the field reduces until they actually become quite good hands heads up. For example a hand that was say A-8 when the flop was 9-8-2 rainbow would be a good hand heads up and would be ahead a very high percentage of the time. So you are constantly in situations where your hand strength is much more marginal than what it necessarily would be in full ring. This fact of heads up play often takes some getting used to if you are not used to playing heads up then you can often find yourself being dominated by very good or very aggressive players. Very aggressive players who may be fish in full ring games and even in six handed games can often be playing optimal poker in heads up play.