Knowing how to play heads up is extremely important because the most money is awarded to the final players at the end of the tournament. One of the most important poker tips on heads up play is to utilize your speed andience to take down pots.
Many amateurs have a hard time playing heads up because they aren’t comfortable with the nervous time between hands. For starters, the game is over before it starts with four players tossing chips into the center of the table. Five memorable hands are usually played in heads up play and the vast majority of hands will follow the same sequence as in full ring poker.
Starting with the first hand, the dealer will place a bet on the small blind called the ” cutoff “rated at a sightly $1, and the player with the dealer button tucked into his hair is the first to act. (You can’t do anything on the blinds if it’s folded to you. In fact, they are sometimes called “Vegas88” because of that fact.)
Cutoff usually has to put in a call to the blind or he can fold. Frequently, the big blind as second to act will fold. That leaves the small blind to act first and, if he hasn’t hit the flop (four of a kind, a full house, etc), the big blind usually will follow. However the big blind is not always in the blind.
Big blind can call with a raise, re-raise with a raise, or bet. After flop, the cutoff to the left of the big blind has to bet first. On the flop, the closure of the strength of his hand is questionable. It isn’t entirely clear how he should bet since he hasn’t seen any cards yet, and the money in the pot is far below his expectations. He should usually bet out if he has a reasonable hand. In this case the small blind with a weak hand has nothing to worry about.
The stampede begins when the cutoff raises pre-flop. This is the time to determine whether he is playing it very safe or not. If he’s a timid player who is going to get his money in with a coin flip hand, he’ll make a continuation bet anywhere from half to three quarters of the pot. (This is the same pre-flop bet that blinds make when they miss.) If he’s a player that likes to make small bets or call on their draws, that’s not a sign of a timid player. In fact, since he’s still paying out, a timid player wants every chip he bets to add up to some kind of a big pot.
If the player is a maniac, you probably want to get your chips into the pot when you have a hand. Once you see some cards, you’ll know whether you have a chance of getting your money in with the best hand. Judging by the way he bets, it’s gotten to the point where the only thing that will get him out of the hand is another maniac. Queens against aces, kings against three-quarters the size of the flop, if no one has a decent hand holding, get your chips in. If he raises you, you’ll probably have to throw out your hand unless you have a sure winner. This will be insulting to your intelligence but it will be preferable to throw your cards away than to call and allow your opponent to draw out.
If you’re the second player in the pot, your position around the table is very important. If you’re in the small blind, the big blind, or the person to the left of the big blind, you’re in a bad position. Watch the other players for cues on what to do in your position. The worst thing you can do in the small blind is to panic and act out of turn.
This is going to be especially true if there are multiple players in the pot. Multiple players raising, multiple callers, and multiple possibly re-raising later can all be signs that a hand is not yet made. The thing to do in those circumstances is to call the big blind, no matter what you’re holding. Don’t raise pre-flop, don’t raise post-flop, and don’t always re-raise. Just call the big blind, and if you get re-raised, you will have to consider your situation and the probability of your losing the hand to decide whether or not to call.
This is the worst thing you can do in those situations, but with any luck, it might be the only thing you need to do. It would be, however, advised to fold if one of the players in the hand has a big stack (or a big stack in relation to the blinds).