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heads up NLHE

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  • heads up NLHE

    An oft-maligned contributor to RGP (because he accuses poker icons of being cheats, as he asserts that he is) is Russ Georgiev. His pieces on poker playing, rather than cheating diatribes are usually very instructive and IMO spot on. Here is his view on headsup play in NLHE:

    Betting properly is the key to this game. The blinds are high and the stacks
    don't last long. Getting called or having them fold when you want is a skill.
    The amounts you bet are determining factors for this. People who play limit
    poker are not used to bluffing well and aren't knowledgeable in betting amounts
    in No Limit..

    The key to attacking the opposition, is to evaluate your opponent. Is he a
    loose player, is he passive and tight or a combination of the two. The weak
    passive are most easily beaten by raising your opening bet a $25 chip or two
    when you prefer to steal the blinds. When you care for a call, lower your bet a
    chip or so. Standard opening should be about 4 times the big blind when even
    with the opposition. As position changes, you may want to change to a stack
    opening when short. When you get the majority of your oppositions chips, become
    more selective before finishing him off. Don't try stacking off and shooting
    craps with 3-1 or larger leads. Exchange blinds until you get to finish him
    off. Better to adopt this form of play now.

    The key in winning is getting ahead at the start. Luck is a great factor in
    these short events. Knowing how to bet is very important Attack weak passive
    types with an opening bet of $125 to $200. Getting a few chips can prove very
    beneficial as you can use them to keep attacking. Weak passive types tend to
    play tight and will take a stand with a hand before long. Be prepared for this
    and the fact the hand does not have to be strong.

    Facing aggressive players has you use a different strategy. If they start
    raising, feign weak passive to start for a few hands, then stack off against an
    opening bet of $100-$200 with your first hand that seems playable. Any pair or
    a hand totaling 18 [black-jack]should do the trick. Take a stand and put all
    your chips in. Remember this is the strategy you would use on a weak tight
    player so your hands are similar to his, any two. Use this strategy until you
    get a hand, in which case slow-playing and calling will help. Call when he
    opens, then let him bluff his stack off. Give him the chance to bluff the hand
    even when forced to give a free card or two. The winning style is based on the
    opposition not having anything, not on making a hand. Making hands are your
    bonuses. Bluffing is addictive and most players will fall for the two free card
    trap.

    Russ Georgiev

  • #2
    Geezer, after all this time at PSO, you should know what the preferred heads-up strategy is--get your chips in with the worst of it and pray. :wink:

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    • #3
      Geezer missed out that he is discussing play with a high blind structure, so it is shallow rather than deep money. The stacks in this example were 20X BB without an ante.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by apryllshowers
        Geezer, after all this time at PSO, you should know what the preferred heads-up strategy is--get your chips in with the worst of it and pray. :wink:
        Works for me

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        • #5
          Wow... I guess I'll have to turn off the filter on Russ' posts. I couldn't take reading all of his drivel any longer but now I'll have to pick through them all for the rare post of substance.

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          • #6
            rare post of substance.
            Actually he he has posted some excellent essays. It would not surprise me if he were writing a book - I know I've encouraged him to do so.

            His recent pieces on Pot Limit (the "most skillful structure") as well as his earlier post on 7-stud/8 and short-handed play are IMO more "accessible" than those by the more familiar authors.

            Perhaps a lot of this is because he regards tournaments much as I do - lotteries disguised as poker.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dirty_dan
              Wow... I guess I'll have to turn off the filter on Russ' posts. I couldn't take reading all of his drivel any longer but now I'll have to pick through them all for the rare post of substance.
              In what way do you think it's drivel?

              I hope you have the likes of Wayno filtered out as well. His replies are just as much, if not more, drivel than Russ.

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              • #8
                The key to heads up no limit holdem is post-flop play, not pre-flop play.

                Although I agree with Russ' generalizations on how to attack weak passive players, etc., how do you categorize a player as weak passive in a heads up match? A lot of players are aggressive preflop but go into a coma when called. Others are weak passive preflop, but turn into chip throwing maniacs post flop.

                Russ provides a good base, but there are other important factors that come into play during a heads up match.

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