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Texas Holdem Tournament – Playing Heads-Up Takes Nerve, Skill And Bluff
Texas Holdem Tournament – Playing Heads-Up Takes Nerve, Skill And Bluff

Texas Holdem Tournament – Playing Heads-Up Takes Nerve, Skill And Bluff

Playing heads-up is the closest you’ll ever get to feeling like you’re playing Russian roulette with Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter. There might not be a gun to your head, but going down to your opponent is a high pressure situation. Heads-up poker is a battle of pure martial arts. You must be nimble and quick, but most importantly you must be smart.

The whole point of poker is the bluff. There are few other ways to win a game other than to have a solid hand. If you have no hand, you have nothing and you can’t win. You might win a pot here and there, but in the long run you’re going to be on the losing end of the ledger.

That’s why bluffing is important. You don’t necessarily win much money when you pull a bluff out of your sleeve, but you sure can lose a lot of chips doing nothing about it. Bluffing is essentially a lie because you’re telling everyone you have a good hand when you don’t and you hope the whole table is on your side. Bluffing is telling a story that your hand is strong when it’s not. Bluffing gets your opponents to call when you have a strong hand and fold when your hand is weak.

Your motivation for betting aggressively should be a combination of the fact that you have a hand (or a very promising beginning hand) and you’re going to bet it no matter what bad things might happen to you. This motivation works well against most opponents, because most players can’t resist calling you.

Even if you have a weak hand, if you bet out aggressively you may be able to take down a pot even though you have nothing. Your opponents tend to let you take the blinds without thinking about it, and then you punish them for it. If you have a good hand, you can steal the big blind from the button or the cutoff if nobody else has bet.

When you have a weak hand, you don’t have to make a big bet to try and make a big win. Unless you have a really good read on your opponent, just bet out 2-3 times the big blind or 3-4 times the big blind, whatever you feel comfortable doing to try and create a pot.

However, once a pot starts developing, you should be sure you’re in position to take it to the end. Even if you’re in late position and no one has bet at the pot yet, don’t just lead out with a big bet. Take a little time to consider the situation, consider how much you’d have to act after you get your cards and play your hand accordingly.

The more information you can gather about your opponent’s hand, the better. If your opponent always bets the flop no matter what, it’s pretty clear the flop isn’t safe yet and it’s a good idea to bet again on the turn.

When you know you have a good hand, you’ll also want to bet in relation to the pot. That is, the more you bet, the more likely you’re behind. You do this in order to accomplish three things. First, you want to make sure you’re ahead of the bet. Second, you want to scare your opponents off the pot. And third, you want to force the play in the direction you want it to go, whether that’s forcing a check from a scary flop, forcing a bet from an opponent you want to steal from, or whatever your goal is.

This is why it’s important to be aware of your opponents. You’ll need to judge which ones are weak and which ones are strong and know when it’s a good idea to run now and not later.

Don’t think that you’ll be always running into quality hands. Think about it instead, that you might not get that good a hand again. And even if you do, you’ll need to gather more information before you can make a good bet.