Texas Holdem, 1 on 1, Heads Up poker is a different game in terms of strategy compared to short handed games. Players are forced to put money thru a big blind and small blind in every round. In order to win, you should know how to get more than your fair share of chips by utilizing the advantage of your hands and your position.
Playing more hands
When you are given the cards during a heads-up game and you look at them, you have so many things to consider. The starting hand basics for the short or full handed holdem do not apply. The average card dealt during a heads-up poker is the offsuit Q-7. Anything higher than this means that you have a better chance of winning playing one on one. So if you have a K-8, this is a monster and of course an Ace. When playing heads up, you need to loosen your requirements for your starting hand.
He who is aggressive, brings home the cash. This principle also applies to heads up poker. In every match, you will have a money invested to the blind. Not that you have to protect it but you have to try and win the pot so in the end you will be coming home as the winner. You will also need to learn to raise the cards that you usually do not. You just cannot wait for premium cards before you make your move. Do that and you will most likely shake the hands of the other player after a while when he gets all of your chips.
During a heads up match. You will have the button after every turn. You can use this position to take advantage. You will have to act preflop but you can put some pressure on the other players by raising their big blinds. Experienced players rarely fold their cards when on the small blind especially during the early parts of the game. You need to mix up your game play and put emphasis on raising preflop when you are on the button.
Understanding Thin Value
When you see commentators on TV analyzing a poker player’s decision on the river, you might have come across with the term “thin value”. The skill to get the thin values from marginal hands will spell if a player is good or a great poker player. I am pretty sure you want to be at least good so take some time to read about it.
Thin value is when you place a value bet when you see a marginal hand on the river and take advantage of the small profits that you can get on a long haul.
To understand more what thin value means, let us give you an example:
When you have a strong hand like J-club J-heart and you have J-diamond, 7, 4, A, and 2 on the board, then you will be inclined to raise and bet all day long because of the value in pushing forward your chips here.
On the other hand if you have 3-3 and J, 7, 4, A, 2 on the board then you will most likely check until you see all the sheep jump over the fence because there is simply no value betting for this scenario.
The above situations are extremes and thin value is what you get when you are in between. It is actually a bit difficult to tell if you are getting some value bets to consider.
Maybe you can understand it more with this diagram from The Poker Bank.
When you have a strong hand the bigger profit you can make where as the other extreme puts you on a negative value. Thin value can be achieve when there is a small chance of having a best hand but making a small profit after all with a mediocre hand. Ive seen top players like Laurens De Smet or Jeff Lisandro make valuebets in spots I would never be able to do so. IDentifying these spots is vital!
Thin value betting can actually make you a more dangerous player on the table. Of course, you also get to take home more money.