Heads Up Poker:  How to Play Against Aggressive Players

Everyone always says that being aggressive is the key to winning any heads up match.  While this still holds true, is it always the right approach?  What do you do when you find yourself up against a hard headed aggressive player who never backs down?

First you need to decide if you are up against a true aggressive player or a dumb ole donkey.  A donkey will call you with anything, while an aggressive player will re-raise you with anything.  If you find yourself playing against an aggressive player, you must choose your hands wisely.  Do not attempt to limp in by just calling the big blind with a poor hand.  This is a quick way to get raised and lose some chips.  If you don't plan on being in the hand for big money, then fold the cards.


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Folding your garbage hands is a good way to wear down your opponent.  Come at him strong when you have a good hand, and you can bet that you can come out on top.  By folding all of your bad hands you don't run the risk of getting in too deep on a hand and having to lay down your cards because you simply can't go all in with bottom pair.


Choose your all-ins wisely.  Make sure you are holding a pocket pair preferably aces or kings.  If your feeling lucky you could push with something less than that, but stick to one of the top ten heads up poker hands.


When all else fails you can always bring in some more advanced tactics such as check raising and bluffing.  These can throw an opponent off while they are trying to read your style.  The great thing about heads up games is that they are usually pretty fast paced, and it can be hard for an opponent to get a good read on you if you vary your style of play.  The only good thing about playing against an aggressive player in heads up poker is that you can count on them to not have a better hand half the time.  Try to see how they bet when they have it and don't have it.  This is the key to beating an aggressive player.


Use your position to your advantage.  A good tip is to steal some blinds while they are cheap.  An even better tip is to steal the blinds when they are high.  If you are first to act you can throw a big raise out (hopefully you'll do this when you have a good hand) that will keep your opponent from calling.


Remember to play within your limits so you can focus on the game at hand and not the amount of money that is on the line.