09 JulThe Basics of Heads Up Poker Strategy
Any poker player, no matter how inexperienced, understands that poker is a game of strategy and therefore learning and applying proper strategy is vital to finding success at the game. Just as there exist a wide variety of different types of poker games, there are also many different elements to the game, requiring knowledge of how to utilize strategy in a multitude of situations. Here, we’ll examine the basics of Heads Up Poker Strategy, and more specifically take a look at a few books on the market that can teach any player the fundamentals of heads up play.
As a post on Carbon Poker’s blog points out, there are a few different types of heads up games, including heads up cash games and heads up sit and go’s. Sometimes the difference between the two can be confusing, but essentially a sit and go is a tournament, which won’t end until one player has won all the chips, whereas in cash games players can enter and exit the game as they wish. Of course, tournament play and cash games require different strategies, and for many new players it is not always clear which situation will allow them to best practice and master heads up play. Reading a few strategy books is a great place to start.
Released back in 2005, Dan Harrington’s book Harrington on Hold ‘em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Volume 2 is by now something of a classic, and is a good start for new and intermediate players wanting to improve their heads up strategy. Harrington on Hold ‘em Volume 1 addresses play during the early phases of tournaments and now the second installment delves into deeper tournament play, including how to make moves, how to cope when the tournament is down to only a couple of players, as well as some basics like poker pot odds.
Another relevant book for those looking to learn more about heads up poker is Heads Up No-Limit Hold ‘em by Collin Moshman. This is the first poker book solely focused on heads up play, and will pay off for any player who finds heads up play to be a weak spot in his game. Moshman’s book addresses important topics like how to exploit the most common playing styles, how to distinguish between optimal tournament and cash game strategies, and how to maximize heads up profitability utilizing basic business principles, just to name a few.
A lesser known, but still worthwhile title on the topic of heads up poker is Secrets of Short-Handed No Limit Hold’em: Winning Strategies for Short-Handed and Heads Up Play by Danny Ashman. This text focuses more on the psychological aspects of the game and specifically addresses heads up play. Many players find heads up play to be difficult and trying, and studying psychological techniques can provide players with valuable tools and strategies to succeed mentally under stressful circumstances.