If you’re new to heads up poker or struggling at the micro stakes HU cash games or sit n gos online for real money, this website and the articles contained herein is perfect for you.
Why play heads up poker? Well, there are multiple reasons a player would want to specialize in the heads up format of the game. It’s fast-paced, it’s just you and the villain in any given pot, and last but certainly not least, there is great potential for large profits.
But you can’t approach heads up SNGs and cash games the same you would if you play regular games. Although the rules of heads up games are no different, since there are fewer players at the table, this means the relative strength of hands in heads up poker situations increases. You can’t afford to be waiting around for strong hands to play like you would at a full ring table because you are posting blinds every hand.
You are also less likely to get that much action because against a single opponent it’s unlikely they will have much of a hand either pre-flop or on the flop. Hence, tight is not right, you’re not just looking to play premium starting hands and hope that you can get paid off with them.
If you’re playing extremely tight, observant opponents will be aware of this, and will be less likely to pay you off when you have a strong hand. If you are tightening up too much and folding too many hands especially in position, you are denying yourself the opportunity to steal and re steal in good spots to accumulate chips without just relying on making good hands. Because as you would know, in hold’em it’s hard to make a hand, and this is also true when playing heads up poker matches for real money.
Play Heads Up Poker Cash Games Online
The natural progression of the vast majority of online poker players is to transition from full ring, to 6-max to heads up games, all of which are offered at online poker sites. This is not to suggest you can’t start with heads up games, by reading the articles on this site, you will already put yourself ahead of most of your opponents at the micro stakes.
Stealing the blinds is a huge part of winning at heads up online poker cash games. In HU cash games, where the blinds don’t change as they do in tournaments, because the blinds are small in relation to your stack, means that it can take a while for a novice to figure out how much damage always folding is doing to their stack.
In heads up no limit hold’em cash games the big blind is usually 1% of the cash game buy-in. So over the course of a small session, if you were to have folded 20 times when you were in the big blind, that in itself is 20% of your stack. A heads up poker strategy for playing cash games is very different from normal poker strategy, hence the importance of gaining heads up cash experience online.
Play Heads Up Poker SNG’s Online
Heads up SNG’s differ from heads up cash games online in a few key areas. The most fundamental difference between the two is that with the blinds going up every few minutes, the stacks get shallow very quickly and so it becomes a completely different game. Also, you can’t top up in SNGs like it’s possible to do in cash games, you battle it out until one player has all of the chips. The difference is quite big, and it really comes down to personal preferences.
Heads Up Poker Strategy
Regardless of whether you play heads up poker cash games or SNGs online, it goes without saying that you should practice using the strategies and concepts that will take your heads up game to the next level.
Even though playing ABC poker is a good way for new players to get experience under their belt when playing full ring games and it’s a winning strategy, when playing the typically more aggressive heads up matches it’s a lot more about playing your opponents and the situation. With heads up poker games being one-on-one matches when both players rarely will have much of a hand, it should theoretically be easier to get reads on your opponents so you can more accurately gauge their playing style, because you’re playing every hand against one opponent.
You really have to understand what level your opponent is on, how they approach the game, their betting patterns, how they think in different situations, and then you must build a good counter-strategy to make their strategy unprofitable. Although heads up poker is typically even more aggressive than 6-max online games, players are usually either playing too tight or overly aggressive.
Aggressive opponents in heads up matches can be intimidating at first, but you’ll have the button and position half the time, and they’ll be inflating the pot out of position with weak hands, which is an obvious mistake that you can profit from. Not tilting may be almost as important as knowing basic strategy and adjusting this strategy based on what you see during the heads up poker match.
And that is the awesome thing about playing heads up poker! If you understand your opponent better than they understand you, you’ll be one step ahead without them evening realizing it, and therefore win more often than him.
Where should you play heads up online poker games?
If you are located in the United States, the good news is that all the major US-friendly online poker rooms offer heads up only tables across the tournament and cash game sections. Heads up players from the United States can easily access all of the sites we’ve recommended to our readers.
Note that any of the US Online Poker Sites we recommend are safe to play at, and you can expect that you will receive a nice welcome bonus to try out the poker room and jump right into a heads up game.
Even though heads up poker matches are exciting and allow players to show off their skills, you should also ensure that you play at a licensed and regulated online poker room for peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what is important, playing your best game all the time.
The two largest online poker sites offering the best heads up action were forced to exit the US market but there are worse players (where most of your profit will come from) at the smaller sites we’ve recommended.