Heads-up Poker Matches – An Introduction To Profitable Heads-Up Poker

Heads-Up Poker Match Introduction Including Profit / Bankroll Considerations,
Strategy Areas, Links To Specific Articles And More

This article is a broad introduction to online heads-up poker matches. We differentiate the matches from the cash games – in a ‘match’ (or heads-up Sit N Go) the buy-in is fixed and each player assigned chips, the blinds then increase until one player has all of the chips. Heads-up poker matches are some of the most profitable games online for those players who understand the correct poker strategy adjustments. This introduction will take you through all of the important factors to give you a profitable start in heads-up SNGs.

Heads-Up Poker Matches - Why Play Heads-Up Poker Matches?

There is only one important factor here – potential for big profits – the important thing is to understand where this profit comes from. A good heads-up player can achieve a ROI (return on investment) significantly higher than in the full table SNGs by playing heads-up. For example a comparable ROI at the $20+$2 might be 12% for full-ring SNGs and 20% for heads-up poker matches.

Now, an 8% increase in your ROI sounds fine but the real benefit is the time it takes to play a heads-up poker game. This can be as short as a few minutes and may well average to around 10 to 15 for Turbo games, multiply this by a few tables and you have a stream of income that could easily generate the best hourly rate you have ever had!

Let us go one step further, with some site selection and active avoidance of known winning players you could be looking at an increase in hourly rates to double or even treble that from the 9 or 10 handed SNGs. Check out our article on the Best Site For Heads-up Poker SNGs for more info on where to find the fish.

Mark's (Non-US) Site Selection Tip: Since I wrote the original article on heads-up SNGs the rise of experts in this area has made seeking the fishiest sites more important. For non-US readers I strongly recommend checking out Titan Poker. The iPoker Network has a larg recreational player base and less specialists - making the heads-up SNGs very juicy indeed. Readers using our bonus code SNGPLANET can claim a free $20 in addition to the 200% matched up to $2000 on your first deposit - Make sure you check out Titan Poker for yourself!

Heads-Up Poker Matches - Bankroll Management And Variance For Heads-Up Poker Matches

As with all forms of poker, bankroll management in heads-up poker matches is the key to becoming a long-term winner. The guidelines are actually very similar to that for standard sit n go bankroll management – with 50 buy-ins being the suggested ‘standard’ which is then adjusted up or down depending on your individual circumstances.

While temporary downswings are inevitable in any form of poker, maintaining discipline with bankroll management should ensure that you are able to recover from those 10 to 20 buy-in swings that are a natural part of the game.

Heads-Up Poker Matches - What Are The Important Adjustments For Winning In Heads-Up Poker Matches?

In a series of 3 excellent heads-up poker strategy articles our guest writer JackOfHeartz explains some of the important factors to consider while playing different opponents – here we will stick to the high level principals.

1 – Adapting: You need to adjust to different hand strengths, position becoming more important and (critically) adjust correctly to the tendencies of your opponents. In fact you are ‘playing the player’ (and position) more often than you are playing the cards in heads-up poker matches.

2 – Hand Reading Skills: while this can come under adjusting to your opponent, the ability to put players on an accurate range of hands depending on their bet sizing is key. Good players keep the ‘hand history’ open and constantly check their reads. If you can tell when an opponent has a monster, a draw or a weak hand such as bottom pair then you are a long way towards winning the HU match. Make sure you watch each opponent closely and check the results to continually improve in this area.

3 – Discipline: There are two related areas here, firstly bankroll management as already covered and secondly the ability to control your tilt. The reason that Tilt is more dangerous in heads-up poker than in full-ring games is that you need to make decisions on each and every hand. While in a full-ring game you can fold everything but premiums for a while your tilt subsides, in a heads-up poker match this is not possible. Those who are not able to control tilt will go broke fast in heads-up poker – use this to your advantage by being more disciplined than your opponents.

This introduction to heads-up matches is just to give you a hint of the profits available in this excellent form of poker. A large aspect of winning is going to be avoiding the other profitable HU SNG grinders found at the largest poker sites. Check out our article on the best sites for heads-up poker matches for more information.


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