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The Perils of Two

By: Ov3rsight @ 11:00 (EDT) / 336 / Comment ( 1 )

Recently I've been dabbling with heads-up play. Probably due to a bad run in the cash games I saw my poker play swiftly dwindle down to near nothing, and that's not what I wanted. And so I went to YouTube, watched a few seasons of NBC's Heads Up Poker Championship, and got back in the mood.

Well, actually that's not entirely true. I didn't watch a few seasons. I watched them all.

And so, I started playing, and watching some of PSO's tutorials. There's a whole lot of heads up videos from HoRRoR77 available, so that's good. And quickly enough, I learned a few things. Some I already knew, some I feared, and some were a surprise.

First, there's no use waiting for big hands. You'll be blinded off before you know it.

Second, there's basically four types of players at the micro stakes. The first one is the nit. They're playing way too tight, and whenever they get chips in the pot, be very very careful. I'm not too fond of playing them. You can take small pot after small pot, but at some point they'll catch something, win a big pot, and then you'll be back to eating small pots forever just to get back to even. Basically, what you need against these players is a real hand. In other words: this one usually ends in a cooler, one way or the other.

The second type of player is exactly the opposite: playing very loose and very aggressive. You can see a few flops with these guys, but it's expensive. They tend to raise big preflop, looking to either scare you off or play a big pot early. Now as long as they're the variety that nits it up after the flop, I don't mind so much. If they keep firing after the flop, it becomes very hard to play them. On the one hand, you better have a hand when fighting them off. On the other hand, they're firing so often they can't have it every time, so the quality of the hand you need to take them on goes down. I think.

Lastly, we have the shove monkeys. They open-shove at the first level, or when they see a flop they shove that. It's pretty much their only move. Having a great hand is nice, but basically you're playing a lottery against these people. And that's not why I sign onto PokerStars. But in a way, they're the easiest to play.

And then there's the fourth type of player: the luckbox. They're most dangerous, because you never know what's going to happen. The other day I ran into one. I had him all-in for all of his chips 7 hands in a row. 6 of them I had the best of it, and 6 of those he drew out. Your pocket Jacks, or the Ace-King suited is worth very little against a luckbox....

The biggest problem with heads up though is the psychological effect. After all - when you're playing fullring or 6max, from time to time people will suck out on you, or flip over the bigger pocket pair when you get dealt the Jacks. But the bad guy in the story is always someone else. In heads up - if you get sucked out on or coolered 4 hands in a row, it's by the same guy 4 times in a  row. And that's the biggest problem for me. And that's where the learning curve begins.....

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