Posts Tagged ‘heads-up poker’

Heads Up Sit And Go Tournaments

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Heads up sit and go tournaments are a format of online poker that is not very well known. All the excitement is in NLHE multi-table tournaments and the WSOP main event is no stranger to that hype. Alternatively players like ring games, 6-max, single or multi-table full ring sit and gos. But the heads-up sit and go format is scary for a lot or players.

Some of the poker pros believe that heads-up is the purest form of poker and that this is how champions are determined. As a matter of fact if you consider the nose bleeding high stakes contests taking place between durrrr, Phil Ivey, Ziigmund or Gus Hansen, they are all heads-up (but not sit and go).

Many players avoid heads-up matches because they remember from their early days that these are very tough to play. Indeed they are. Heads-up matches are for solid experienced players, not for new players. Skill dominates over luck in these face-up duels.

Heads-up sit and gos are the ideal format for grinding a consistent profit, because they attract plenty of weaker players who do not know better. If you are an intermediate or advanced player who does not play them, reading  this article will benefit you by opening your eyes to this unexpected source of profit.

If you decide to give heads-up sit and go tournaments a shot, start at the lowest stakes. Move up one stake each time you become consistently profitable at a given level. When you start at the lowest levels, there are mainly two types of players:

  1. nits: they are prudent players who play in a straightforward way with few big bluffs,
  2. maniacs: they play to gamble with wild bets and a lot of bluffs.

At the beginning of the match, do not take big risks and observe your opponent to determine his style. Pay particular attention to every hand going to showdown, as it can reveal a bluff or a missed chance to make one. There is no need to take risks at the beginning, but only once you have a good idea of how your opponent plays.

In heads-up, position is crucial. The small blind is the button, so he acts first pre flop, but last post flop; and vice-versa for the big blind. The standard move is to raise 3 times from the button with any reasonable hand. The big blind should fold most of the time unless he has a good hand.

If your opponent fails to raise from the button regularly, this is a big leak. Easy to exploit, you just need to raise yourself more often than him from the button. This will make you collect a bigger share of the blinds and your stack will increase consistently. Forcing your opponent to make moves. This is what you are waiting for; the opportunity to force him to risk his stack while you do not.

On the other hand if you are short-stacked, you must make moves. You must be the aggressor in order to recover.  Change gear, bet more, make larger bets, including allin moves.  If you opponent folds, you will progressively regain chips and this could happen fast if the blinds are large. If he calls, you get a chance to double up and to come back into the contest.

If you know how to play online poker, try heads-up sit and gos for an exciting change full of potential.