The following post deals with heads up play. While every heads up player in nl hold em is different, most fall into some type of general category. While it is important to realize that players can change gears for various reasons, knowing a player's style and category will lead to a strong feel of a players tendencies and capabilities. Beating a player heads up is all about minimizing strengths and attacking weaknesses. After all, everyone gets the same cards in the long run.
Name: Tight Passive
Playing Style: This player only raises with strong starting hands. Even though all good hands are even more powerful heads up, this player will only raise pot preflop with AA-TT or AK-AJ(s). This player does not like to be raised and usually won’t call raises preflop unless you start raising consistently and he feels run over. If this player had it his way, he would play an opponent where 50 percent of the hands were checked to the river and high card won.
Strength: This player’s strength is in his patience and hand selectivity. This player can get into the habit of folding but makes his money back and more on one big pot. His bread and butter is the big pots where he has a monster and the aggressor has a decent/good hand.
Weakness: This player gets run over by an aggressive player. He is constantly leaking money from stolen blinds. He will not call a bet unless he has a hand either pairs or drawing. He is also poor at deception. If he raises a raise or even bets, he has a hand. This player also typically gets tired of being run over and starts playing poorly by calling raises out of position. Then he might start to believe that everything is a bluff and overplay pairs. However, still be very wary of a re-raise or large bet.
Plan of Attack: Although overstated, this player can be beat by raising preflop on the button 60-80% of the time and then betting the amount of the preflop raise on the flop. Do not call re-raises without a monster. Beat him without showing down. If you feel like he is starting to get rattled and starts calling more hands preflop out of position, start under-betting when you have a huge hand to induce the bluff. In this case he might raise with a middle pair or drawing hand. However, bottom line, patiently raise and steal small pots and don’t call his bets to win. This is a great player to consistently win money off of.
Notes: When you identify this type of player notice what he does with his monsters. Most of these players like to raise with them but some like to check/call and induce your bluff. If you see him doing this, only fire one bullet in a hand when it is called. That is of course unless you have a hand.