No Limit Texas Hold’em Heads Up Strategy

Texas-HoldemHeads up tournament poker games are completely different to 6 player or full ring games. For this reason, quite often a good tournament player will play the heads up portion of the tournament very badly.

Why? Most commonly players get into a heads up situation when they get down to the final two players in a tournament. Bad heads up play can occur because they fail to adapt their strategy to the specifics of heads up strategy. Chances are you’ve reached the final two by playing in a tight aggressive manner, but if you continue to play tight in a heads up situation you’ll lose.

The best no limit Texas hold’em heads up players play loose and aggressive. Heads up is more a game of bluffing and nerve than any other holdem game as both players will rarely have a strong hand.

You can easily put your opponent in a downward spiral by continually being first to bet and making them make hard decisions about what kind of hand they think you have. Once you’ve got them on the run, you’ll have them folding even when they know you don’t have a hand.

Why should you play looser in heads up Texas hold’em?

Unlike six or nine player holdem, it’s quite common for neither player to make a hand with any of the board cards. In this situation the high card wins so you can quite often find yourself winning hands you would never have considered playing in regular hold’em.

If you play a bit looser and bet aggressively, you can easily put another player off his game, especially when you are playing online and there is a greater pressure to act quickly. If he sees bet after bet after bet come his way, he’ll fold waiting for the great hand to come along. By playing loose aggressive heads up hold’em, you are continually trying to steal your opponents blinds. It doesn’t take long to rob the tight player of the tournament. Good bets preflop will force the tight player to fold, you’ll steal his blind and he’ll never see the flop that could have made his hand.

Drawing hands and pot odds in heads up hold’em.

When you are playing Texas hold’em heads up, forget what you know about pot odds. You haven’t got lots of players contributing to the pot to help pay off your draw and even when you hit your draw you’re not guaranteed of getting paid off as your opponent may not have much of a hand. If you are looking at calling a bet when you are on a weak draw like a gutshot, forget it, you’ll make your draw a miniscule percentage of the time and you generally won’t be getting good pot odds so don’t bother! However, you can bet aggressively with your draw if you are first to bet, in the hope that your opponent will fold.

The general approach you need for heads up hold’em.

So the good news is you don’t need to worry about calculating pot odds, but what does that leave you with? Aggression! The more aggressive you play, the better you’ll do at heads up. You need to act like you have the best hand each and every time. If you believe and can portray this attitude to your opponent then they’ll believe it. If you bet pre-flop, make a continuation bet after the flop even if it’s done you no good at all. Chances are it didn’t do your opponent any favours either. So you can be aggressive, but not super aggressive. If your bets are raised, or your opponent makes an aggressive bet, then you can easily get away from the hand without having invested too much.