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Heads-Up

Playing Heads Up can be the toughest part of any game. Read on to see if you improve and take the pot.

1. What's your approach at the very start of a heads-up game?

Every heads-up encounter I've contested has been different and I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this. Personally I like to adapt my play depending on my opponents style. If they're coming out all guns blazing then I'll take the back seat and let them dictate the pace, whereas if theyre employing a tight solid style, I'll step up and take the lead.

2. What is your hand range like in relation to your position? Will you raise with pretty much everything on the button or are you waiting for premiums?

I like to mix up my play from the button and hazarding a guess I'd say it's 75% raise, 20% call and 5% pass. I'll raise and call with anything and fold some filth once ina while.

3. What is your normal raise-size at the start?

I usually go 3x Big Blind although I know less does appear to be the in-vogue bet at the moment.

4. Do you like to get the first few hands down to showdown so you can see what the other player is opening with?

If the game is a heads-up match as opposed to the last two standing in a competition, then yes. I'll take it easy at the start just to see how the land lies.

5. What kind of image do you like to portray in the early stages. Do you like to show bluffs or would you rather play tight and use that image to your advantage later on?

I like the appearance of a solid image that has the goodies when looked up and then this (hopefully) can be exploited later on.

6. Is your heads-up strategy more of a small ball approach? Do you like to grind the opponent down?

Small ball would be my style of choice, but you do need to have a flexible approach to the match and adapt to the flow of the game.

7. What are your tactics depending on whether your opponent is: a) very passive, and b) very aggressive?

A passive opponent will be your easier foe as all it should take is a little aggression to wear them down. The very aggressive opponent will give you the maximum bang for your buck and you will be forced to find some spots to play back at them or they'll just run over you. Look to trap and you must throw in the odd re-raise to try and slow them down.

8. If a player is making huge overbets pre-flop, how do you deal with it?

Keep your ego in check and fold away when you miss and just hope that they're pot committed when you hit.

9. At what stage in a heads-up match will you start kicking up a gear? What should you do if you can see the other player is trying to do the same thing?

When the blinds get that big you're both approaching 10x Big Blinds or less, the game has reached the point where it's just a case of trying to get your chips in first with any reasonable holding. It's a very fine line and obviously opponent dependant, but a seasoned player should have a sufficient feel for what the opponents pushing range is from the button. With that range in mind sometimes (a good) Q-high is enough to call with.