Can you imagine sitting down across from another player, and it’s only the two of you at the table? This is what high stakes professional players have to deal with all of the time. Still, it doesn’t help ease matters in your mind. You have to be sure that you’re always looking at all aspect so the situation. The difference between placing second and placing first is huge, so obviously you want to make sure that you’re placing as high up as possible, whenever you can.
1. Look at Your Opponent Carefully
Getting as much data on your opponent as possible is the name of the game here. Be sure that you’re looking at how they’ve played so far, if you can. Also, you want to make sure that you watch their chip count and your chip count. If they want to end the match quickly, they might take big swings when they really don’t have the nuts, so watch out for this as well.
2. Watch Your Position
If you’re on the button, then you’re in position, and if you’re not in position then you shouldn’t be playing big. A lot of poker players ignore basic strategy, because there’s so much money on the line. Winning first place becomes the only thing that they think about. Right now, you can’t think about first place because you haven’t won anything. Make sure that you’re playing in position. If you have a bad hand in position, fold it and move on. This also has the benefit of drawing out the game, which can rattle your opponent.
3. Know When You’re Outmatched
Is there a time where you’re going to have to try to shorten the match? Absolutely. The other player might be just too good for you to face head on, so you’re going to have to get creative. Keeping it short is a good way to do that. The big pots will appear on the scene and you’ll have a chance to make some big plays. If you pull off a big win, savor it. Use it to continue to put the opponent off their game.
4. Make the Most of the Monsters
When it’s just two people, the big hands don’t always come up. What happens when they do, and you find yourself with a new set of decisions to make? Well, that means that you push in. You raise when you need to, and you push hard when you need to. If you know that you have the stronger hand for the board, then you can’t underplay it just because you’re afraid. If you’ve made it down to the final two, you’ve beaten out an incredible field of people. Savor that, and make the best play possible. Remember that being in position definitely makes a difference!
5. Change Up the Style Often
In order to win at heads up play, you can’t always push in all the time, or call all the time…or do anything all of the time. You have to make sure that you’re going to keep them off guard and on their toes, unsure of what you are going to pull out from under your sleeve. It can help you win in situations where you might otherwise have to take home second place.
These are just common tips that we noticed for really getting the most out of heads up play. If you want to find yourself at the final table, understand no amount of wishing and hope will see you make it. You have to play regularly, learn from real time experience and avoid giving up when it gets hard. We wish you the best of luck!