Friday, January 28, 2005

Heads Up Doctrine

Heads up no limit hold em might be the most profitable type of game found in online poker rooms today. Heads up is also arguably the most exciting form of poker played today. If you have played heads up once, you know what I mean. The reason for this is that you play every single hand, and if you don’t, new cards are immediately dealt. Going from a ten person table in a casino to heads up online, a player can see as much as 20 times as many hands. Traversing from the live ring game where the strategy is to fold and wait for premium hands, to heads up where the play is almost opposite, can be like going from jumping on a trampoline to base jumping off an 80 story building. The games require two different plans of attack and most players do not truly realize this difference. This is why the most important aspect of heads up, the long term expected value, is a reality. If you have a sound game plan and are open to adjusting your play based on your opponent, you can consistently have an edge against most heads up players you come across.
My posts on this site will break down heads up in a logical way thus teaching solid hold em players to be winning heads up players. First I will write posts about “Your Game,” which will be an in-depth model of the tendencies and thought process of a successful heads up player. These posts will cover pre-flop, post flop, turn, and river action. This segment will also talk about overall goals and present a philosophy behind every move and decision made at the table. After mastering this information, you should be able to critically analyze every decision you make playing heads up as well as relate that decision to your overall strategy.
My next series of posts, “Adapting to Others” is the counterpart to the first section. An example of which can be found by reading my “Heads up Profile: Tight Passive” post. In heads up, almost as important as how you play, is the image you have of your opponent and how you change your game accordingly. This section dissects some of the most common heads up player types and gives you a strategy to beat them as well as reasoning behind this strategy. Never will you be able to learn a player’s tendencies so quickly as in heads up, and this section gives you a name to put behind those tendencies and then a way to beat them. At the conclusion of this topic, there will even be examples that will quiz you by giving game situations using everything presented by they posts thus far. After this segment you should be able to put players in categories based on the player profiles and adapt “Your Game” according to those profiles.
The third segment entitled “Logistics” is the most underrated topic in poker because it discusses many of the unseen parts of poker that have a huge impact at the table. These parts include the amount of your bankroll, the game you choose, what tables to sit at and when to leave, as well as how to handle tilt or the emotional swings of heads up. While this topic will be posted after the substantive part of heads up, it should be taken just as seriously. Many great poker players have lost bankrolls because of problems with logistics.
The final posts on heads up will wrap up the previous three segments in a conclusion that will help you remember the important themes and give you final instructions for implementing them in your game.
If you can understand and master these topics on heads up, as well as handle all the intangibles such as handling bad beats, managing a bankroll, and knowing your limits; you can easily beat heads up games of almost all levels found online today. The information in these posts was forged from hard earned lessons and countless hours of study and debate. However they also come from great success. I hope you will join me in the study of heads up no limit hold em and please don’t hesitate to ask questions.

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