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The Top Seven Tips for Improving Your Heads Up Game

As it holds true for any form of poker, it takes a lot of work and dedication if you want to become a solid heads up player. And it won't be an easy task. Heads up is one of the most difficult variations of poker to learn and play.

However, you shouldn't let that stop you. If you want it bad enough and you're willing to work at it, your game will eventually get there. And to help, I have included my top seven tips for improving your HU play below:

HU Tip #1 - Use every resource at your disposal, and participate.

The best resource I have found would probably be the forum(s) dedicated to HU poker at 2+2. You'll find tons of information about both HU SNG and cash games including beginner's guides, bankroll management tips, preflop hand ranges, and discussions about variance. In addition to 2+2, advice is also given on PTP and Pocket 5s.

But keep in mind that to get the most out of these resources, you'll want to participate in the discussions as well. Post your hand histories for review, comment on other player's hands, and ask a ton of questions. Get involved.

Another solid resource would be poker-training sites such as These sites are dedicated to providing you with informative videos and articles created by some of the best poker minds online. When watching the videos, it's a good idea to have a notebook and a pen ready so you can take notes.

Last, but definitely not least, informational sites such as are great resources as well. You'll find tons of content in the form of articles and videos that will help you improve. Not to mention it's all free.

HU Tip #2 - Use every tool at your disposal.

We've already gone over what tools are best to use for your HU game, but in case you forgot, here are some of the best:

  • Poker Stove
  • Shark Scope
  • Hand Replayers

Be sure to check these tools out. Whether it's reviewing your play, checking out an opponent before you play him, or calculating hand equities, your heads up game will improve immensely by utilizing these tools.

HU Tip #3 - Make friends with other heads up players.

One of the best things you can do to improve as a heads up poker player is surround yourself by other players who play heads up poker. The reason being is so you'll always have someone to bounce hands or strategies off of. You'll improve at a much faster rate networking with other heads up players than if you were to not network at all.

I'd also like to point out the phrase, "you're only as good as the company you keep." In other words, it's not just about hanging out with heads up players, it's about hanging out with players who are trying to get where you are trying to go or with players who are already there. The idea behind this is that if you want to continue improving and moving up, you'll be better off socializing who have equal goals (and are pushing hard to get there) or are better than you. That way you're always pushing yourself too and not becoming complacent.

HU Tip #4 - Study as much as you play.

I think it's a good idea for most players to put as much time and energy into studying as they do into playing - at least in the beginning. My reasoning for this is that I feel playing poker is more or less "practice" while studying is where you catch all of your leaks. Until your game improves, you're much better off catching your leaks as opposed to playing all the time "practicing" those leaks.

HU Tip #5 - Start with one table, slowly add tables as you improve.

Heads up poker in my opinion is more about quality than it is quantity. The more tables you play at once, the more the former suffers.

I would suggest playing one table until you feel your game is extremely good. And I wouldn't play more than 2 tables until you're close to the highest stakes you want to play. I'd rather focus on playing well and moving up than trying to increase my hourly. Not to mention that there is just so much focus and thought that goes into HU poker, I'd find it extremely difficult to play against more than 2 decent (or better) players at once.

HU Tip #6 - Play over rolled.

I would suggest playing over rolled, at least in the beginning. For one thing, the variance in HU poker is pretty gross. This can lead to players tilting (maybe easier than other forms of poker), losing confidence or chasing losses. By playing over rolled for the stakes you're playing, hopefully you'll avoid those feelings or situations long enough to get through your small bit of run-bad or variance.

HU Tip #7 - Read/watch anything Tommy Angelo puts out.

Speaking of tilt, I would highly suggest that all heads up players visit Tommy Angelo's site and buy/read his book as well as visit and watching his series, "The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment."

The reason why I suggest doing this is that I feel that it may be easier for many players to tilt at heads up poker in comparison to any other variation of poker out there. So investing in some poker psychology would definitely be +EV.

Put These Seven Tips into Action and Watch Your HU Game Transform

If you want to become a better heads up poker player, it's not going to be an easy task. It'll take a lot of work and dedication to make it happen. However, if you use the tips above, put your head down and just work at it, you'll find that your efforts quickly pay off and that the work you need to do as you improve lessens.

More Heads Up Poker Strategy
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