All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Playing Heads Up Poker

playing poker heads up
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Going heads up is a very important part of your poker arsenal. One-on-one defines you as a player. The important thing is to remember that the cards themselves have a lot less meaning than they do at any other stage of a table game. You’re no longer concerned about how other players are going to behave behind you.

Your focus is making sure the single player in front of you is picking up the things about you that will upset his game the most. If you’ve already shown him you’re a tight player in the previous hands, shake him up with a bluff. Even if it doesn’t work, he’ll be unsure of what you’re going to do next. You, in turn, will have noted how your final opponent has behaved on his way to the heads up. Now hit him with everything he doesn’t like. The cards you are holding will matter less than your ability to unsettle your opponent. If you have great cards, so much the better.


Q: What does it mean to “play the board”?
A: Unlike with Omaha where you MUST use two of your four hole cards, in Texas Hold’em you don’t need to use any of your two hole cards. So if there’s a straight, a flush or a full house formed by the community cards, it’s available for you to use as your entire five card hand.

Q: What does “steaming” mean?
Avoid it all costs or you’ll be poor very quickly. Steaming is when a player becomes frustrated with a losing streak and begins to play in a reckless fashion.

Q: What is the “wheel” I have heard referred to in Omaha Hi-Lo?
The best low hand available in Omaha Hi-Lo is ace-two-three-four-five. It’s known as the “wheel” and sometimes as the “bicycle”. It’s worth remembering that in Omaha Hi-Lo straights and flushes simply don’t count against low hands.

Q: What is the main attraction in choosing a game like Omaha Hi-Lo over Texas Hold’em?
A: Both games have their appeal and their fans. We like Hi-Lo because if you have a fast brain you can really hand pot-pain to folk with slower thought processes. It’s not a game you’d you choose if you were bottom of your class in mental maths. -- Play poker to the heads-up!

ALL THE ACES poker column:
Wednesday November
 23, 2005: