Heads-Up Tournaments
When playing heads-up tournaments, you should be applying a solid poker strategy that applies specifically to a single opponent game. Too many players look at the tournament over the long haul, rather than paying close attention to their current situation. This can be a deadly mistake in heads-up poker tournaments.

A heads-up tournament often involves an extensive series of competition, taking on one opponent at a time. These sorts of tournaments are often quite expensive to enter in order to keep the prize pool valuable enough to encourage enough entries. If you’re going to make this investment, you need to apply a heads-up Tournament strategy or chances are, that investment will be purely for entertainment value, and no return.

Your heads-up tournament strategy should be priority based. Your current opponent is your only priority. If you look too far ahead at the big picture, you’ll be focuses on taking down too many players at once. That is not the goal. The goal is to beat the player seated across from you. This will remain your goal at all times.

Since you have only one player to worry about, your ability to read the opposition is extremely important here. The sooner you can get a read on him, the faster you can turn his weaknesses to your advantage. Look for poker tells signs, like betting heavily on marginal hands to scare you away from the pot, or betting low with a monster hand to keep you tossing chips in. Does he always fold when you attack pre-flop, or does he like to see the flop before making this decision? Getting a good read on your opponent is the fastest way to send him packing.

Try to get a substantial chip lead as quickly as possible. Once you have the lead, wait until you are in late position (on the button), then make your move. If he places a small bet that lacks his usual strong-hand confidence, you can push all-in with marginal holdings. Chances are he will fold, giving you his small bet and blind.

Should you find yourself with a premium hand, bait the hook and wait for him to bite. Place a small enough wager that he will want to see the flop. Play your hand as if it is a Draw, and if he is holding something similar, or even top pair, you should get a strong bite.

Once he has invested enough that he can’t afford to fold anymore, then push all-in and finish him off. If he does fold, he’ll be terribly crippled and easy enough to pick clean in the next few hands.

If you are the low stack, you’ll need to be conservative enough to keep your bankroll healthy, but aggressive on big hands. Don’t be afraid to push all-in if you’re running low on blinds; they go much faster in heads-up tournaments since you’re posting a blind every hand. When a workable hand arises, push it. If he folds, you’re keeping your stack from depleting. If he calls, you’ve got decent shot at doubling up.

Heads-up tournaments are often played much looser than a normal tournament since the winning hand is most often Two Pair or Top Pair. High Card is not very uncommon either, but don’t risk everything on it.

The last tip we can offer you in this heads-up tournament strategy – and this is an important one – is to always change up your game. Just as you are reading your opponent and exploiting weaknesses, he is going to be doing the same to you. Don’t give him the chance. If you change from passive to aggressive for no apparent reason, you’ll keep him guessing. When an opponent cannot read you, he cannot exploit anything, forcing him to rely on his own strategy and luck alone if he wants to come out on top. Watch for him to change up his strategy as well, as you may find yourself in the same situation.

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