orbit--A full rotation of the blinds at a table. Equal to the number of people at the table.
Poker Fun Facts
Did you know that statistics show you will receive a pocket pair, an average of one time in every seventeen deals. In a full ring game of ten players, this means that a pocket pair will be dealt more than once every two hands.
With the Big River Showdown looming heads-up poker is on every AGP member’s mind. With that in mind let’s look at some key points when playing just one opponent. This article is not meant to provide a full proof strategy as everyone tends to play different when making it to heads-up. However, it will give a few short strategies to consider when you find yourself vying for a championship.
The first thing to remember when playing heads-up is that starting hands change significantly when only faced with one opponent. When playing a full table the amount of cards dealt is greater, therefore your Ace that you hold in your hand is not as strong. The likelihood of another player having an ace is great due to the amount of cards dealt. On the other hand, when playing heads-up the chances your opponent has an Ace too is greatly reduced. As a result your hand is stronger.
Another key to strong heads-up is to be aggressive. Typically aggressive players are good at heads-up play. Being an aggressive player does not always work out when faced with a full table. Their aggression can turn into a string of bad decisions and they can go bust in a short-while. However, there is not a great heads-up player that is not aggressive. Does that mean play every hand? Not necessarily. You have to have controlled aggression to win. Remember, to win in poker consistently you must remain in control. It is no different with heads-up poker either. Not only do you need to be aggressive when the odds are in your favor, but you also need to use your opponent’s aggression against them.
You will need to play a lot of hands in heads-up to be successful. Many poker pros say they play up to 75% of the hands in heads-up, where as on a full table that number is only 20% on average. Many players try to play heads-up the same way they play in a full ring game, trying to grind it out. While this can be effective at times, it should not dominate your strategy to win. The less hands that you play, there is a less chance you have to build a chip lead. The reason is because you are in the blind every hand, so you will have chips in every hand. If you fold more than you play, you could run into problems as the blinds increase. One move that many players do not incorporate in heads-up play is the “all-in move.” While going all-in every time is futile, it can cause your opponent to become frustrated at times. Later in the match when you make a strong hand, you may get your opponent to call by acting on emotion rather than an informed decision, i.e. using their aggression against them.
Of course every player has different strategies when playing heads-up. Always keep in mind what type of player you are facing and think about how they play in a full table versus how they play heads-up. The best thing to do is to practice. That way you can familiarize yourself with multiple situations and styles of play.