Strategies with HU (Starting hands and raises?)

Thread: Strategies with HU (Starting hands and raises?)

Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Full PFC Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    141

    Strategies with HU (Starting hands and raises?)

    There are so many different ways to play heads up poker, and so many different types of players in heads up. I thought I would start a thread that basically talks about your type of play and how you think it helps you profit.

    It would be nice to see what types of starting hands you will play. Do you limp in, or do you raise every hand? What hands do you raise on the flop, the turn or the river? Do you bluff a lot? What do you do to get reads on your player? How do you keep your player guessing?

    I personally love heads up poker. It's faster and keeps my attention a lot better than other games. I am still learning a lot, but I'm making money with it, and that's the goal, right?

    So far I have played in a quite a few $2 HUSnG at stars, and a few $5. I don't seem to be as successful at the $5 tables, so I am sticking with the $2 until I win more than 80% of the consistantly. I'm somewhere around 60% winning.

    Anyway, when I first go in I like to see what type of a player I am playing. I start by raising every hand pre-flop to see if he ends up being a calling station. I also bet a few hands to the river to see if he is a calling station. I get a couple of reads out of the player and go from there.

    I like slow playing hands in heads up, and it seems to work a lot of the time. For example, if I get KK and the board flops A K 7, I will slow play it and just check after the flop. Lets say a Q his the turn. I'll slow play again and just check, or re-raise if the other guy raises. A lot of the time by the river the guy will hit something and think he's got the best hand. I will then push him all-in (or a decent raise if I think they won't call all-in) in an attempt to take all his chips. It works a lot of the time.

    I feel that in heads up, it's best to act strong when you are weak and act weak when you are strong. What do you think about this?

    I also try to raise any AK, A-x suited or any hand where both cards are T or greater (unpaired) or <TT paired hands I get in hopes to have the other player fold pre-flop. I'll limp with paird high cards and bet post-flop, depending on the player. If I have a player that will never fold pre-flop, I'll raise the blinds if I get one of these hands.

    I play quite loose against a tight player and fold any time he raises or bets. I'll increase his blinds every hand, especially when on the button, and bet every flop. Most of the time the tight players will fold if they hit nothing and my chip stack increases slowly. This is when I wait for the blinds to get bigger so I can blind them out.

    Now that I think about it, there are so many different types of players out there and so many different ways I play. Post some of your playing styles and player types you play against.

    The thing I want to work on is how to force tells out of a player. What do you do to try to get a player to give you information about their playing style? Do you taunt them when you bluff? I like to throw out a full out bluff when I sense weakness and show them my hand to let them know that I'm bluffing. What are your tactics?

  2. #2
    Full PFC Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    37
    My heads up is definitely a weak spot in my game. I can get to the final 2 during tournaments pretty good but my 1st place to 2nd place ratio is brutal. I don't know what it is. I'm bad against tight players and I'm bad against loose players... usually your pretty good against one or the other.

    I don't mean to hijack this thread but, how do you even begin to analyze your heads up play?

  3. #3
    Full PFC Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by PokerVector View Post
    My heads up is definitely a weak spot in my game. I can get to the final 2 during tournaments pretty good but my 1st place to 2nd place ratio is brutal. I don't know what it is. I'm bad against tight players and I'm bad against loose players... usually your pretty good against one or the other.

    I don't mean to hijack this thread but, how do you even begin to analyze your heads up play?
    I would take a look at this web-site first - Heads Up Poker - Heads Up Strategy

    Baiscally you want to be aggressive, and a little looser than if you are playing in a tournament. Also understand that starting hands are different. 7 2 offsuit isn't the worst starting hand anymore. 2 3os is a believe.

    Anyway, the idea of heads up, in my opinion, is to mix up your play as you play to keep your opponent guessing. If you are going into heads up from a tournament, do a full 180 in your playing style right when you make it to heads up. If you have a chip lead, make sure you double every single blind in hopes to steal some of them, and only raise or call when you hit a hand.

    Remember that even bottom pair will win a hand. If you have any pairs, raise. Chances are he has nothing and will fold.

    That being said, there are a lot of calling stations out there. If someone calls anything you raise, make sure you see the river with him on your higher pairs and try to check him down. You want to see what he plays like. If he's simply calling because he has an A, but didn't hit it on the flop, you will win against him if you pair up more often than not.

    It's also good to find out their limits. See how much you need to raise to get a calling station off of his hand. Then, when you hit a strong hand pre-flop raise it just enough to keep him in, but not too much. Then raise an amount that you think he will be pushed off of his hand with after the flop. Be careful though, and only do this when you have good positioning.

    Also, DON'T IGNORE POTITIONING. Positioning in heads up is very very important. A lot of people will ignore it. Make sure you double the blinds every time before the flop when you are small blind. You'll steal more blinds that way.

    Last thing I want to say doesn't have to do with heads up, though. It has to do with top three.

    What I do, and what seems to work best, is I play very tight until there are 4 or 5 people left in the tournament. From there, I'll start loosening up a bit and start stealing some blinds. I'll only do this if the table tightens up though!! The blinds will be big and you will raise your stack a decent amount by stealing some of them. The other players actually won't care all that much about it, cause they are trying to make it in the money at this point. Your goal is to make it in the money too, but get as many chips as you can while doing so. Also, remember to minimize your losses and don't be afraid to fold if you bluff for a blind.

    After this, you'll be in the top 3. From here it's not that hard to make it to top 2, but that's now your goal. Your goal is to be first or third. Think about it, 2nd is usually 30% of and 3rd is usually 20%, or something similar. So, the difference between 2nd and 3rd isn't much. You will be first more if you do the following:

    When there are 3 of you left, get very aggressive. Don't be afraid to go all in with your good hands. Take as many chips as you can and lean on weak players. At this point you will have a tight image, so it will hopefully look like you are just getting lucky. If someone calls you all in, hopefully you knock them out. YOU NEED TO BE THE PERSON TO TAKE THE 3RD PLACE PLAYER OUT!!! This will almost guarantee you a 1st place spot if you do it. You should have a huge chip lead at that point, and you can just lean on the final player while you take all the money home.

    You will get 2nd sometimes, of course, but most of the time you should be 1st or 3rd. You are either going to bust to 3rd or go in heads up with a big chip lead. Play smart when there are 3 of you left and focus on the player types left at the table. Pay attention to what is going on.

    Does that make sense? That's how I play anyway, and I seem to be 1st, 3rd or 4th more often than anything. I play 9 player SnG's for 1.20 buy in right now on stars and I can't remember the last time I finished below 4th.

  4. #4
    alces alces moose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Cambridge
    Posts
    12,380
    Unfortunately since there is a live h/u tourney currently running on the forum I don't think many people would be willing to post unless they are completely sick and post a strategy that is opposite to how they play. Then again, knowing this, someone may post a strategy that is exactly like how they play, thinking people will assume it is opposite to how they play. Then again, knowing that they know that you know that...

    ...ah head games. Love heads up play.

    Fold every hand. There is my strategy.
    To Bet or not to Be(t). That is the question. - Billy (Big Slick) Shakespeare
    RC III, XI, XIV - Champions!

  5. #5
    Full PFC Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by moose View Post
    Unfortunately since there is a live h/u tourney currently running on the forum I don't think many people would be willing to post unless they are completely sick and post a strategy that is opposite to how they play. Then again, knowing this, someone may post a strategy that is exactly like how they play, thinking people will assume it is opposite to how they play. Then again, knowing that they know that you know that...

    ...ah head games. Love heads up play.

    Fold every hand. There is my strategy.

    LOL

    I am going to take a look around at these tourney's on here.

  6. #6
    Full PFC Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    37
    "What I do, and what seems to work best, is I play very tight until there are 4 or 5 people left in the tournament. From there, I'll start loosening up a bit and start stealing some blinds."

    That's basically how i play my sit and gos and I agree it works well.

    Thanks for that link... will make sure to take a look at it.

  7. #7
    fck limit Kristy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    In cyberspace posting 5 to your 1
    Posts
    5,474
    Quote Originally Posted by moose View Post
    unless they are completely sick...
    Sorry I'm late..

    I just started playing 3 max winner take all and a little HU on pacific, $20-$40

    My Strategy is very simple....be a better player then them.

    I think If you go in at low levels like ours with a rigid hand selection you are likely burning or abandoning chips.


    One thing I haven't figured out yet is what increase in value to assign middling and low pairs...in and out of position (presuming average opponents) Set-mining seems less profitable, and pf raises more..

    I'm just not quite comfortable with them yet, and can't shake my awkward feeling.

  8. #8
    Full PFC Member Juggling man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    69
    I love heads up. My tac is to play tight and keep the game alive long enough for me to assess the opponent. What's his thing? I don't pay attention to the style of play as much as the person him/herself. I talk to them get a gut feel on what kind of motivations they have. Compare that to their poker game and you start to get a very good feel for the player. I find this more difficult to do when there's more than 4 players because it's too many things to focus on. 4 player table to heads-up, it is not unusual for me to pinpoint hole cards. Once I get a handle I start playing pretty much any hand with a 9 or better but adjusting my gears according to the game dynamics.

    But it gets on people's nerves sometimes. I talk it up a lot and I get told off. But hey, if the chips flow in my direction...

    I respect all your thoughts on starting hand assessment but in my opinion that is much less important than you seem to think. Especially when there are few players at the table.
    Last edited by Juggling man; Oct 14,2008 at 07:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Nice River Card >:^( Rocco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The Lone Star State
    Posts
    138
    I am very aggressive in heads up play.

    Sometimes it works out very well, sometimes it bites me in the butt.

    More often than not though, it's what works best for me personally when I am playing heads up.

    I'll play pocket dueces just as hard as i would play pocket Kings in heads up play. I'll try to trap with Aces though.

    But then again, I am not a pro player, so what do i know.

Similar Threads

  1. Big stack - Raises and raises and raises.... etc
    By InsaneGuy in forum Online Poker Talk
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: Oct 15,2007, 08:50 AM
  2. Starting hands for PLO
    By SocietyRed in forum General Poker Chat
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Jun 01,2006, 02:47 PM
  3. Starting hands...is this playing to tight?
    By wayne in forum General Poker Chat
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: May 30,2006, 03:07 PM
  4. starting hands... how loose am I?
    By Redington in forum Brags, Beats & Variance
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Feb 05,2005, 10:02 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •