Heads Up Poker Strategy

Last updated on : 01 Jan, 1970

Heads Up Poker Strategy

Have you ever been asked “Do you know how to play heads up?” on a skilled players table? The entire repertoire of mind games like bluffing, betting, folding etc. is very well showcased. The real skill is reading your opponent’s moves and cards. Trust me, it’s the most strategic mind game! But more than anything it is a game of counterattack. You are making some hero calls or bluffing by creating a classic bet. Confused much? So, does it confuse your opponent. You can be aggressive or passive in this sort of a game. There are legit heads up tournaments in a very structured manner. It is more over an attempt to dominate the poker players on the table. The only cheat code to Heads up poker is to understand the psychology of the opponent. Heads up poker strategy can lead you to win big bucks or even lose big. But who cares? You are here for fun. When you’re playing poker online, you are facing an unknown player. But there are times you face an overly tight player, who shoves his range to go overboard. This can obviously become a slippery slope.


Did you know?

The rankings differ in the starting hands of Heads up poker.


  • It is very different from 6 to 10 poker player game.
  • Imagine, a player versus player or a player versus eight players. You know who has more probability.
  • The opponent loses confidence the moment you go aggressive.


The ranks of the most basic Heads up poker is very different. It’s definitely due to the number of players. The top heads-up poker hands are:


  • A-A • K-K • J-J • A-K (Suited or non-suited)
  • A-Q (Suited or non-suited) • K-J (Suited)
  • K-Q (Suited)
  • 9-9 • 6-6
  • A-9 (Suited)


Heads up is a little one on one confrontation. You can pick on the weak and sometimes also tiptoe around the better players. Heads up poker players have unquestionable bragging rights to meet up the confidence of the rest of the players. Imagine dealing with higher cards which gives you a distinct possibility. The chance of anyone having the card in their favor is higher on the table against one. On a table which is dealing with the rest of the players leaves you with lesser chance to win the hand. Imagine picking your cards, and having a high card or a pair, you know you’re winning! Flush or full house do happen but not as often as it does on a full table. The lesser the poker hands dealt the lesser there is a chance for the cards to connect with the river.


You either play the majority of the hands by being massively aggressive or play it safe. It is clearly read-based, and it’s almost a good idea to be calling out larger bets depending on the aggression of your opponent. Everyone on the table might have a question popping in their head of how to deal with the aggression of the opponent during such a game or how to take control over the aggressor? First things first, don’t lose your control over your opponent and don’t lose confidence. The moment you lose confidence is when the opponent assumes that you are a nutbar. You need to learn how to crack the weak link and outplay your opponent before he tries that strategy on you. Strategically learn how to judge the skill and the playing pattern of your opponent. Once you know the monster in the room, you can create your game plan and it’s a cakewalk. Spartan Poker definitely makes it a cakewalk to practice your deadly skills.


Usually in a tournament Heads-up trails over in the final phase of the game. You know it is only possible when there are two players left on the table betting against each other. It is a psychological and mathematical game. And the best heads up poker players have a crazy hold on such strategies. A deck of cards is a mathematical question for every poker player. But the big question is, how do you play heads up? It’s mathematics. Just like in Texas Hold’em there are more than 2500 possibilities of your card being the best, Heads up gives you even more possibilities. Players got more marginal during heads up by foreseeing higher profit potential. There were larger edges and no limit, which makes the game steamier. Heads up definitely offers lots of action. It is totally overwhelming for players to figure out the real deal. It definitely allows the player to think, overthink and analyse the nature of the hand. Because of this vivid nature of the game, there is constant exposure to a variety of situations, education experience and solid understanding. Standard multi-table tournament players are usually shorthanded and lack a lot of experience in this format.


Heads up has a few defining characteristics and strategies that make it stand out. These strategies incentivise you to play larger hands and bigger bets. It is a whole new ballgame which is dramatic.


Heads Up Poker Strategy


1. Analyse before you finalise:


That’s the cue. Don’t go aggressive on your first bet. You can definitely not win the pot by limping. Analyse the acts on the pre-flops, and the post flops. Ask yourself questions like, “should I play this specific hand?” or “How should I play them?” Don’t assume your loss before the cards unfold. Burn, open, open and a HIT! You never know that even the smallest of the hands can bag you a few bucks. Play along until you feel it wouldn’t be worth in the end. Trust your instincts or gut feeling more than anything. Analyse the bet people raise at every card that opens. Finalise your bet or raise accordingly. Don’t give up in the beginning. You aren’t expected to play rash, but don’t draw conclusions.


2. Set up a tempo:

You either play aggressive or either play safe. But that clearly depends by adjusting and gaining the understanding of the match. Bring your players or your opponents to the brim. Keep them under pressure. Here you are clearly winning the majority of the pot! Don’t give up in the initial bets. Raise! And raise their fear of being the stronger player. Play what your heart says. Give your hand a chance. Learn the rhythm of the play. Learn how the players tweak their bet at every call or check. You know you are strong at what card. Get in the groove. Come to the level of confidence that your table members are at. You don’t want to be a weaker link to be stepped on, right?


3. Be so good, and they can’t ignore you:

Antonio Esfandiari said “I love the fact that I can mess with someone’s head”. The majority of the players are looking for a reason to fold, and you better find a reason to play! 90% of your hands are supposed to be won over by confidence. Make it your mission to win. Don’t play for the sake. Play for the stack. Play on flops. This game is all about adrenaline rush. Keep it POKER! Reinvent your strategies to have a longevity within the game. Don’t take your losses very personally. Unplug yourself from time to time.


4. Make fear your Illusion and not your obstacle:

Confidence, passive aggression! Remember, these can make you sail through. “If you are playing poker, you look around the table and can’t tell who the weak one is, it’s you”, said Paul Newman. Give a head-to-head confrontation and be legitimate stars. It provides a compelling competition for players and makes it an entertaining sure. The best players are the ones who can turn their indifferent hands into important ones. Don’t hesitate on trying your luck. Online poker games are far more entertaining now. It doesn’t allow your opponents to sense your fears. Take advantage of that and better your game.


5. Either be Gus Hansen or Phil Ivey:

Gus plays it aggressive whereas Phil plays it cool. Your position in the game should be of benefit to you. It’s up to you to disguise yourself. It takes some practice, but if you have mastered the art you will be a formidable opponent for anyone to face or manipulate. You can also be selectively aggressive and gain your position. Step up on a pedestal, earn your confidence to beat the highest in the room. Be Gus when the hand demands. Be Phil when you want to trick your opponent. It does help!


Heads up poker has matured greatly over the past decade in the mainstream culture of online card rooms. It has become a source of entertainment more than a game to put the other down. Spartan Poker has definitely played a great role to bring together the players willing to gain experience. Online poker has never been made so easy and fancy. You need not fear when Spartan Poker backs you with some amazing online tournaments. Head to the most entertaining and fancy platform to try your skills on without any real loss of money. See you at the table!

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