Heads Up Poker: Can you be Tight and Aggressive?
When you really think about it, playing heads up poker is a very personal game. It is one on one, and all your mistakes show. It isn't a team sport, and you better make the right decisions so you don't look foolish or even worse lose the game. The game is so simple yet so complex. If you think it is all about the cards you hold in your hand, think again. There are so many little characteristics of heads up poker that make it the great game it is.
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Think of playing heads up like being in an argument. In every relationship there is usually a dominant person and a submissive person. If both parties are dominant then most likely the relationship will not work out. The same goes for heads up poker. There is usually an aggressive player that dominates the other player and gets his or her way (which is to win). In the case of two aggressive players playing heads up, the game is usually much more exciting, but it is also a much shorter game.
This brings us to our next point. Let's say you are an aggressive player, but you end up losing every time you play against another aggressive player. Every time you raise he raises, and it seems like there is never a bet that is just called. What can you do to take down these difficult opponents? While reading some strategy articles on the web today I came across a great article that discusses Tight Aggressive Texas Holdem Poker. The article makes gives some great pointers on how to tighten up your game while staying aggressive.
How does all of this tie into heads up poker? Everything you read about heads up poker always tells you to be aggressive. What if your aggressiveness causes you to lose every game you play because you get called when you have a K-10 by someone with an A-2 who ends up catching an ace? This may mean you should tighten up your game while staying aggressive. Narrow your starting hands down to just the top ten heads up poker starting hands. If you play only those hands and fold the rest, you will improve your win percentage against other aggressive players.
Consider an aggressive heads up player to be a wolf looking for a kill. Don't give him a chance to take your chips. If you want to be a tight and aggressive heads up poker player then you need to play hands which you would feel comfortable going all in with. I like to call it the "put up or shut up" approach. Keep in mind that you need not apply this strategy if your opponent is not an aggressive player, but only if you find yourself up against a blood thirsty, aggressive, head hunting opponent.