Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tonight I Played Heads Up No Limit Poker: Thoughts and Advice

I've been playing no limit heads-up poker cash on Full Tilt poker the past few nights.

It is certainly interesting since I've never done it before. That is, I've only played no limit heads-up with tournament chips never cash.

The tournament chips heads-up game is different in that the players are more aggressive with making big bets. I play $100 NL buy-in heads-up tournament chip games, so my guess is my opponents feel that they can push since they will either win or lose the buy-in.

The cash NL heads-up is different. At these games I've played the $1/$2 with my $200 buy-in. Since it's cash it is rare to see all-in bets. (Unfortunately, the only time I experienced an all-in move it was my first game, second hand and I had top pair and my opponent had a flush draw. Boom--I lost $200 when he hit the flush draw.)

In these games the first thing I noticed is that there may be 20+ tables where one player sits and sits. Clearly these players are specialists at heads-up play. So please be warned that you better be ready for some strong players.

As a rule, I look for a player that is not seated and waiting at multiple tables--although that can be hard to find. I also want an opponent who has the same amount as me--in this case $200 in play.

I believe I have a pretty good heads-up game. My approach to these games is to see how my opponent plays and adjust my style accordingly. In most cases, if my opponent checks I take him at his word and bet--even a min bet will get him to fold.

Therefore, I play straight forward for about four hands. I may even make a bad call on the river to see what my opponent raised with pre-flop. It gives me an idea on his playing style.

Tonight I had a tough opponent. I went ahead about $25 after about 5 minutes because I hit two pair on the river and called down my opponent. I was surprised to see he had nothing.

Ok, that changes things. Most of these guys love to raise when they act first pre-flop. They figure you won't have a hand so they can take down the $2, and even if you have a hand they know you'll miss two-thirds of the time on the flop and fold to any bet. Therefore, you need to raise them back some of the times to keep them honest. It tends to work.

Frankly, I got drek all night, which is quite frustrating. So I had to re-raise with some lousy starting hands, and raise pre-flop with zip. Also, I bet when he checked in almost every case.

After a while I was down $50, and wondering when I was going to get a hand. I knew I had to be more aggressive than him to win or finally get a hand.

I finally got a hand...it was pocket Kings. I just limped. You don't get a big hand like that often so I want my opponent to be the one who is aggressive. Sure enough, he raised me to $8. I just called--same reason.

I got a lousy flop. A-J-4 with 2 clubs...and I did not have the King of clubs. He bet out $12. I was not folding. I called.

The turn was a King--another club. He bet $30. I called with the set.

The river was a rag. He checked. I bet half the pot and he called.

I ended up winning a big pot, and ahead $50 for the 15 minutes of action.

1 comment:

SugarDayFox said...

KK always works for me for some reason. Not that I would have the guts to play heads up with cash, yet.
Good article anyway!

What's Your Poker IQ?