How to Play Heads Up Poker Hands

Heads up poker is played between players. It might be played during a larger cash session, or where the game is breaking up and two remain on the table. Obviously, we understand these are not the only hands you’ll be playing in heads-up poker, BUT, these are some of the hands you’ll lose or win most of your big pots with. On this page, well mainly discuss how to maximize your profit with them, and how to minimize your losses when you are to lose a big pot.

Pocket Aces

First of all: breathe! You’ve got Aces, but that doesn’t mean you’re sure to win a big pot. In Heads-Up, Aces are a hand you’ll hardly ever lay down — so you want to limit your decisions.

Pre-Flop

In position, if you’ve been raising a lot from the button — raise. Limp-reraising or limp-calling is an option — but when you limp-reraise you’ll literally be tipping off your hand – and limp-calling obviously works great if your opponent raises, but if he checks behind you the pot is so small your opponent might not even be interested in playing the pot. Only limp-call when your opponent raises A LOT out of position.

If you raise and get re-raised: smoothcall. You’re in position,and your opponent will almost always fire a continuation bet. Sometimes, enough to get him pot-committed.

Out of position – you have two options. If your opponent limps in, I suggest you raise 95% of the time. Many opponents limp-call, and this puts some money in the pot. If your opponent raises, you can re-raise or smoothcall. In heads-up play, I like the call or the reasonably large re-raise. If you just call, you give your opponent control of the pot, and you can check-raise the flop easily. If you re-raise big, you’ve managed to get a lot of money into the pot before the flop when your oppent calls. Mix these two strategies up to disquise your hand strength!

On the flop, turn & river

Try to get the money in on the flop, whatever the board is. There is no bad flop for aces in heads-up Sit & Go Tournaments. If you’ve managed to get some money in the pot before the flop, play your hand strong. You CAN trap, but if your opponent has a piece of the flop, THIS is the time to get the money in.

Pocket Kings

Play your hand as if you were holding Pocket Aces (read up here). You’re never folding this hand, so you can’t ever think about the possibility of your opponent holding American Airlines. Your hand is the nuts, and you WANT the money in the pot faster rather than later.
On the flop, turn and river

We all hate the dreaded ace on the flop when holding pocket kings, but heads-up, a little less caution is in order. Yes, you may have to fold your hand, but trying to keep the pot SMALL rather than having to lay down the hand IF an ace would fall is a much more desirable strategy.

If an ace does not fall, play your hand as if you’re holding aces. You want the money in on the flop!

Ace King

Pre-Flop

Let’s get one thing out of the way: you want to get all the money in pre-flop with this hand if possible. Your opponent might have a pair and be a slight favorite, he might have Pocket Aces or Pocket Kings and have you in extremely bad shape – you can’t care… You cannot care. Your hand is the nuts in your head — and you want to play it fast.

Slowplaying your Aces or Kings gives you a lot of options to trap — trapping with Ace King in a heads-up No Limit Hold’em Sit & Go is tough, because ANY hand is in reasonable shape against your hand. If you smoothcall a raise out of position with AK and the flop comes J82 — you’re out of position against any two cards as your opponent could have raised you with close to anything pre-flop. You can’t just lay down AK – but you don’t know where you’re at. That’s why we re-raise pre-flop and hope to get the jokers out, get the AQ’s and AJ’s to push their hand against you…

Post-Flop

If you failed to make the pot big pre-flop: don’t go crazy. If you re-raised pre-flop and pair up – go crazy. AK plays easy post-flop — no need to trap, if your opponent made a pair too – you’re in great shape to have him or her dominated…

Play big slick fast – it’s a monster!

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