Studying Heads Up Play
There are strong reasons actually for studying heads up play in poker and if only someone had advised me this early in my career then it could have made me a lot more money. Of course all this isn’t strictly true of course as I played limit hold’em for several years and when I say heads up, I am primarily referring to heads up no-limit play. Now before this article goes any further, in no way am I recommending that anyone goes out and immediately begins playing heads up poker if you have never previously played it before.
What I am suggesting that you do is to make a concerted effort to study heads up poker. In all ring game situations then you will encounter heads up play. You simply do not have to be sitting in a heads up match to play heads up poker situations. If you raise from the button in a six max game and the big blind calls you then you are in a heads up situation. It is slightly different to a heads up match as your opponent will not be pressured as much by the blinds so can play a reduced range.
But having a good understanding of heads up play is paramount to increasing your earn rate. I started out playing full-ring games at limit hold’em but I know from past experience that I would have been a far better player had I been able to play heads up poker very well. In fact I know numerous winning players who simply will not play if their games fall below certain numbers.
Better opportunities for good players.
Often a good player will increase their ranges and aggression levels (rightly so) when the game shrinks in numbers and take advantage of the tighter full-ring players who have failed to adjust and are not opening up enough. This same principle holds true in six max games also.
A six max game that shrinks to four handed because several players have dropped out plays far differently to a full six handed game. Having a very good grasp of heads up play and what to do in certain situations will prevent you from becoming too defensive in these situations. You tend to find these flaws with multi-tabling grinders and especially players who are “nuts” orientated.
They play so many tables that they often miss the little intricacies of heads up play. Often some of your best profit can stem from playing against players who are dividing their attention over too many tables at the same time.
But it is definitely worth repeating again that a study of heads up play will stand you in very good stead for all your future ring games and it will also install more confidence in your ability to play against steal raises and in blind versus blind type situations. Studying heads up theory is something that I wished that I had done earlier in my poker life for sure.