Heads Up Poker Betting Strategy
One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of heads up poker is how you handle your opponents strategy. Are they aggressive, tight, or a mix of both? One thing for sure is that you should always be aggressive. Take notes on your opponent and decide which style his strategy falls into. Is he not raising most of the time? He may be a tight player that is afraid to raise big on a marginal hand.
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Once you have determined your opponents style of play, you can take advantage of it. If he always checks, you should definitely limp in if not raise depending on your cards. While the blinds are low at the beginning of the match, try to see as many flops as possible. If your opponent is aggressive and raises a lot of the time, you may need to throttle back and play better hands than you would if he were timid.
Force your opposition to pay to play. Letting someone limp into a pot for 10 chips is just asking for a bad beat. Think aggressively and keep them from seeing a flop for free. If you have a suited connector on the big blind and your opponent calls, don't be afraid to bet the pot. This means to bet the amount that the pot is currently. If he calls, you can halfway assume he has a decent hand. If he folds, then you know he is a limper who is trying to suck out on you. In my opinion it is better to have some money in the pot when the flop comes. It makes your opponents decisions that much more difficult.
How much should you be betting? I have always been able to tell how much of a bet a player will call in a heads up match, but it is not always easy. Lets say you just flopped trips and your opponent is only in for 50 chips. You don't want to go all in because it will send up a red flag. Make a solid bet for 2 or 3 times the pot and see if he calls. Your goal here is to maximize the amount of chips you can take from your opponent when you know you have the winning hand.
Lets not get the wrong idea and start trying to slow play your good hands. You may be up against a donkey who will call you on a straight or flush draw and end up catching his card. Then you will be pot committed and be facing a big loss of chips.
Remember that reading your opponent is key in heads up poker, just as much as being aggressive. Find the right balance of betting and you will wear down your opponents much quicker. If you liked this article then you might like our intermediate heads up poker strategy guide.