When it's down to the last two

I’ve been playing a lot in the last month, focusing on the SNG games. Really enjoying the games but I find that if I’m in the final two left, I often seem to lose the will to continue and so end up shoving hard and going all in - just to get the game finished.

I suspect this is because I’m still new to the game and have decision making fatigue by this point in the game.

Anyone else have this problem?

Any advice welcome, thanks.

There is a decided difference between Ring, SnG, MTT, and HU. They are all different animals, which demand different strategies at different times. Key to all SnGs, and MTTs, is the last part, the Heads Up part. It is then that you have to keep your vision and mission. Hopefully by then you have studied your opponent and now know his tactics, whether he is passive or aggressive, tight or loose. In order to learn this phase of the game, first order of business is to start playing the many HUs that are available on the site. Focus not on winning these but playing these. This is your best preparation in the eventuality of the finality of an MTT or SnG. For me what works is to become super aggressive. If you are behind, know that the other player is playing to protect his or her stack. This makes them vulnerable to any and all bets. If you are ahead, do not play passively to protect your stack. I suggest to play any two cards that are equal to 13 or better. Play Broadway very strongly. Good luck.


I play MTTs and get that way at final tables.

I’m not new to the game, been playing poker for 40 years.

When I feel like playing, I join a MTT and play. Two hours later, I might feel like doing something else. This tends to happen more when I am playing too much. Even though I love the game, sometimes too much is just too much.

If you are bothered by it, I suggest you play less and concentrate on playing better. It works for me.

as scratch already said hu is really different from normal sng, and mtt and ring.
but in your post i see 2 problems, you said you lose patience and lack hu strategies. for both problems i can advise you to play a few hu tournaments with low buy-ins. this way you can start immediately with it so you are not bored yet and you can practice your strategies as much as you want, also when doing this with lower buy-ins will mean that it won’t hurt your bankroll when trying.
about the shoving you mentioned it is rarely a good strategy to go all-in immediately. with weak hands you just throw your chips away, with medium hands you are gambling instead of thinking and with strong hands you rarely get much value out of it. it is true however that you should be much more aggressive hu but not like this, its more like raising and reraising with hands that are strong hu but would be weak when playing a full table. an easy example is you get A4, this is an insta fold in most positions when playing 9 handed but it is strong enough to raise with when heads up probably even 3bet worthy. even when you know your opponent is very loose you may even consider a 4bet. so what i mean is that the aggression you should have hu is not betting too much but it is playing a lot more hands and play them aggressively. and of course hands like 25, 39, 2J, 58 etc are still folded when possible.

When you finally get to Heads-Up… as Scratch said, hopefully you know your opponent. To me, you can either be bullied or not. Even I get bored if HU goes for 15+ minutes and neither player is any closer to kill’n the other player, but that also means neither is running over the other. a SnG lasts far less time than a MTT, not sure how u can already be tired @ heads-up.

Learning good Heads-up skills, is learning good “how to play the player or posistion”. Sure chipstacks mean something, but more than anything HU means you are playing the player, not the cards. That skill is invaluable early on in SnGs or MTTs.

Heads up is a different animal, especially when the blinds get really high. There is added pressure because you have a decision to make every hand and it’s when the most chips are there to be won.

I like to be aggressive and be the one who puts the pressure on. It is hard to connect with a board heads up (you are going to hit about 33% of all boards), so hypothetically if you take the aggression every hand you would win 66% of the time (assuming your opponent folds every time they dont flop at least a pair). Of course poker is far more complex than that, but taking careful aggression (not shoving every single time or bluffing too much) can usually give you an advantage

Aggressive in the sense of 2X to 6X depending upon the BB, but always in first position no matter what is dealt, looking for the fold. I don’t want to be the button in HU because then you are at the mercy of the first bet. However, if the opponent simply calls then you raise. This describes the strategy.

The tactics are determined by the hand itself, and in tactics I mean bet sizing. Thus, all-in is determined by the cards.

And that is about as complex as it can get.



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Lots of food for thought, thanks all. I admit I haven’t even tried a HU yet as it just didn’t appeal to play against only one person - but I can see the sense in starting to do so to practise for the SNG endgame. I’ll start to give this a go, bearing in mind the advice given here on how to play aggressively.

Bottom line… either ur a bully or u’ll get bullied… you have to force a aggressive HU player, to back off… thats if you are playing the cards, not the person…

true, but also wanna say that it is controlled agression you should play.
and when the opponent is too aggressive, like going all in most of the time or making insanely high bets, it is often better to be not aggressive at all. more like check/folding most of the time, and when you do pick up a hand you like you still check but do a check/call and in the end a big bet. or when in position call/call/raise.
however keep in mind if this is not such an opponent controlled aggression is almost always the best

All I said was a course of action (to force), not the methods to carry out such an action.
Altho you should know how your opponent is playing, many people play HU differently, therefore its all situational once you enter HU. I think we basically agree tho… yet 2k/4k … 60k vs 200k, always plays differently than 2k/4k … 130k vs 170k. Sometimes you don’t have time to wait around, even if in that situation (#1) you still have 15-20 bigblinds.

i think that we agree too.
but because he explained that he have trouble with heads ups, i meant to specify some of your points to make it more clear for him. :slight_smile:

I agree completely. It is harder if your opponent is a calling station and will never fold because those raises get dicey, but like you said, in heads up you can often judge the strength of your opponent by their action (e.g., limping) and bully them with any two cards. However, good players will adjust to this and it becomes a much more complex meta-game.

The last thing you want an HU to become is extended with a good player. Hence, the goal then is to work yourself into an all-in with the best starting hand. Yes, variance may kill you, but your TT is a slight favorite over the expert’s AK.


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