Heads Up Poker Strategy, Adjusting To Diffrent Opponents

Heads Up Poker Strategy, Adjusting To Diffrent Opponents

Heads up poker is the purest form of the game and can be one of the most profitable game types for skilled players.

Heads up poker format means that you will have to play the blind every hand and hence will have to play LOTS of hands - in some cases 100% of the hands you are dealt.

For a proficient player, this gives the opportunity to impost their skill set onto weaker opponents every single hand and can mean higher win-rates when compared to full-ring games.

Adjusting Your Heads Up Strategy

The key skill in heads up poker is the ability to adjust to your opponent and exploit them - that is what we will be covering in this article as we try to adjust to another professional player and target his leaks and weaknesses.

A winning player’s heads up poker strategy consists of a malleable game plan ready to go from the onset. Solid ranges they’ve developed that they look to adjust as new information is learned about their opponent.

Playing against a past challenger allows you pick-up where you left off in your previous encounter. Looking for ways to get an edge

What About Vs Loose Heads Up Players

Each type of opponent presents different challenges to overcome. Loose opponents allow you to be more patient with your offense. Reducing your bluffs whilst increasing your value bets - Since your opponent will be doing more calling.

You can 3 bet wider for value if they aren’t folding to reraises preflop. Proceed post-flop by cbetting less, but look for ‘thinner’ value. Especially on the later streets when you have more accurately identified your opponents range.

Floating out of position which works well against tighter opponents, should be used carefully. When calling a flop cbet with a marginal hand, along with some hope of improving to the best hand, the chance to steal the pot on a later street often makes this play profitable. However loose opponents often call the river with a wide range. So bluffing in a lot of spots can be a futile play. Stick to solid holdings and contest the pot more aggressively in position.

Positional advantage offers you the opportunity to take more free cards, value bet confidently, and fire small ball bluffs. Remembers a loose opponents range will often be wide, so timely bluffs should be an important part of your strategy. Attack when their range consists of numerous weak holdings, and the board heavily favors your range. Don’t push the aggression but rather look for boards that develop favorably when firing multiple bullet bluffs. Moves like this can be quite risky against a loose opponent!


Thank you for this interesting publication. :slightly_smiling_face:

Previously, a long time ago, I really liked this format of the game for exactly the reasons that you described.
In fact, the speed of this format of the game plays an important role. Playing against a single OPP can really be easier than playing against a full table.
But it takes time to understand which OPP is in front of you. It’s not always possible to do this when you’re playing in turbo mode or maybe hyper.

In this regard, it is extremely important to quickly determine which OPP is in front of you and then you can safely build a strategy for your own game.

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Just played heads up, but in a tourney. Only 2 left in Community free roll, everyone played great games. Yes agree, if you want the win, play your style and at times for me is to fold and set up the Win in the next hand:)

Agree 100%, and it can happen in a tourney of 100 plus players. Odds are better you know the OPP by then. At that time you have the advantage if have the skill, luck and desire to win. You will possess the opportunity for the Win !

Hi Community Members

I’m glad you enjoyed the topic.

I belive that this very important part of the game that can be both implemented in a HU game.

And also can be implemented in tournaments when you only have 2 players in a hand

Becoming familiar with opponents tendencies can vastly help your game.

I look forward to hearing your thourghts


My problem is how to get to the FT , the HU matter is not the biggest problem . Anyway , in HU the stack size , the opponent;s style , your table image , the blind structure , the amount of money at risk from 2nd to 1st place come to play .

I have been at HU spots in some micro sngs or tourneys , i am satisfied of my performance . Ofcourse it is not easy to play HU , experience is needed , talent on how to exploit opponent’s weaknesses , try to trap him in a hand and win a lot of chips , force him to make mistakes , force him to make loose calls and pay you .

In HU you are forced to play so many hands , the variance is very high , i like to make a deal with opponent (if he also wants to ) when i go to the HU , i might even split 50/50 even if i have double stack , because i see that at HU the risk is great , ups and downs can happen instantly . But of course it depends on the money at stake , if we are talking about a 1K tourney i might not make a deal , but if it was a 100k $ game or a 1M $ game , i think most people would like a deal …

I once heard someone say “There’s no where to hide in heads up”

To most people poker is simply a game of waiting for good hands. This mindset reduces poker to a contest of who is willing to endure the most boredom. You can become a modestly successful low stakes player by knowing how to spot loose tables then waiting for aces or sets… if you have the patience to do this (it’s harder than you think).

But heads up forces you to be constantly taking risks and making tough decisions. Since you’re bleeding off .75bb each hand you’re dealt, you can’t sit back and let the cards play themselves. You have to be an active participant in the game. This is why I regard it as the ultimate test of poker ability.

Don’t limp , watch your folds carefully. In heads up most pairs are a a winner. If you have a good stack try and see the flop. Don’t be bluffed out.

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Exactly, in order to be successful ! !

But, you really have to be aggressive especially if your opponent is playing it safe.

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Indeed, aggressive and must have the desire for the win. As your stack increases to a certain point & knowing your opponent, fold only the terrible draws and all in when needed:)

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I also suggest watching a lot of heads up games and taking notes on the players. That way you can adjust accordingly

@RhinoRyan89 , watch a final table of 4 on the WPT , while you play in a 100K plus game. I believe you will finish well as I did. GL at the tables & always have fun !!

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If we are talking heads up at the end of a tournament, where someone has watched you play for a while, I like to flip the switch and get really aggressive just to “break the draft” then keep switching things up and using your stack size as leverage and then paying attention to their reactions.

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That is not heads up !!! Nor is it the topic !

Hi poker folks,

this one of the important situation in poker because heads up skills are also very important in a tournament.
There will be many situations where a player out of position is making a bet/raise and you don´t want to fold a middle pair or A-Js, so you can be often in a heads-up situation during a tournament!
If you are a regular player with good knowledge of odds and outs, you cant play loose or like a maniac in heads up because on long distance you won´t be the lucky one ;-)!
In my opinion between blind defending/show aggression and good folds should be a good balance, which is hard to find against many villains in bigger tournaments!

If it is a single heads up it is necessary that you try to learn which kind of player your opponent seems to be, so try to find a way to play variable.


Well said, I prefer to be unpredictable while I can predict my opponent :smiley:


The most important thing in Heads up Poker games is don’t be bullied. Any 2 cards can be a winner. In one on one the odds of you winning is greatly increased so a simple pair may be the winning hand . Adjust your style of playing accordingly.

Best of luck

Facing off against just one opponent can make life way simpler compared to a full table, no doubt.


Great topic! I agree that you must assess your opponent quickly and adjust your play accordingly. If they are passive, you need to be aggressive. If they are too tight, you need to loosen up your range. Always play aggressively in position. I like the other comments that include adjusting your range to be wider and to not let yourself be bullied. Also, if you’ve played with this player throughout the tournament, you should have some read on their style, but be careful because a lot of players are able to shift gears and ramp up the aggression when it gets to heads-up.

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