Heads-up poker is played in exactly the same way as regular poker but with one key difference. Rather than sitting at a table and playing against multiple opponents, you’ll be playing one on one. This can occur during a cash game or tournament where all other players have left or been eliminated. It can also be an agreed-on format between two players who want to see who’s the best.
Because there are only two players, there’s often some confusion about the blinds and what happens. If you’ve never been in this situation before, it can be difficult to know what to do. Luckily, it’s not as complicated as it first seems. This guide will help you understand how to play heads-up poker as a beginner.
How to Play Heads Up Poker
The rules of heads-up online poker are exactly the same as those for regular poker. Each player is dealt two cards, and the first betting round begins before the flop, turn, and river and following betting rounds. In the end, the player with the highest ranking five-card hand takes the pot.
The main difference between heads-up poker and any other kind is the position of the blinds. In poker, blinds are used to help grow the pot while also encouraging a higher percentage of hands to be played. The big blind and small blind are used at the start of each round. This is before the first cards are dealt.
In regular poker played between more than two people, the small blind is the position directly to the left of the dealer. The big blind is posted by the player on the left of the small blind. At the end of each hand, the role of the dealer and blinds move clockwise around the table.
With heads-up poker, the dealer posts the small blind, and the opponent posts the big blind. The two swap roles until one leaves or a new player joins the table. In addition, the dealer goes first on the pre-flop, but the big blind goes first for the other streets. This helps ensure fairness, as otherwise, the dealer would get to act first in betting rounds before and after the flop. This would give them a clear advantage.
Heads Up Poker Strategy
Because the rules of heads-up poker are mostly the same as in regular poker, your strategy will also be the same. However, there are some key differences. Heads-up poker games become more aggressive than usual because only two players are involved in the hand. As a result, there’s a higher chance that you’ll have the best hand compared to a multi-opponent game.
In addition, it’s much more likely that you can successfully bluff to beat a player and win the pot. This is because multi-opponent games have a higher chance that at least one player will have a strong hand that can’t be bluffed.
Heads-up games are also more interesting because it’s you versus one other person. You can study them much more closely and pay attention to their behavior more, gaining an insight into their strategy. If you’re playing in a live game, you can also closely watch their body language and facial expressions, looking for tells.
While you’ll be able to make use of tells and recognize opponent strategy in multi-opponent games, it’s much easier to do in heads-up games as you only need to focus on one opponent. The more you play against the same player, the better you’ll get at anticipating their actions and understanding their strategy. However, they’ll also be able to do the same to you. As a result, it can be smarter to play less predictably.