Heads Up SNG Strategy

Heads up sit and gos are a unique game in which you can win a
lot of matches or lose a lot of matches in a short period of
time. When playing heads up games you should study your opponent
from hand one. The blinds will be small and you should be
opening a number of different hands to see how your opponent
will react.

Assessing Your Opponent

The first thing you should do is test your opponent out by
putting in a raise from the button. If you put in a raise from
the button it gives you a better opportunity to gauge what type
of player you are playing against. Some players will let you win
every hand at the beginning of matches and you can continue to
easily win matches simply because they are afraid to play pots
without monster hands. These opponents are easy to exploit and
you can run them over.

Other opponents will constantly 3-bet
you. These are the players you most likely want to play against.
The match will be over very quickly and all you have to do in
order to win is sit and wait for a hand until you can stack
them. These players are recklessly aggressive and matches are
over in a matter of a few hands.

Another type of player is a calling station. The calling station will just about never put
in a raise or re-raise. This player is someone you can beat, but
it may take longer to end a match. The match will almost always
get in to the third or fourth blind level simply because you
need to get hands to beat them. If you don’t pick up hands you
don’t pick up pots.

Blind Structures

The blind structure of most heads up sit and gos will leave
you with 1,500 chips and 10/20 blinds to start the match. This
is plenty of room to work with and you should not be worried. To
start off you should make three times the blinds raises from 20
to 60 from the button pretty regularly. This isn’t to say to
play every hand from the button because you don’t want to be
reckless, but, you should play a large majority of hands. Hands
to stay away from are almost all small unconnected cards or a
jack with a rag card and queen with a rag card. If you can avoid
hands that can get you in trouble early on in the match, you’ll
have more success later on in the match.

A great deal of heads ups are won within the first three
blind levels. The reason for this especially at lower level
heads up matches is that none of the players have enough
patience. Patience is something that you should have as a poker
player in general, but especially when playing heads up sit and
gos. If you pick one bluff or shove off later on in the match,
that’s the difference between a win and a loss. If you don’t
have enough patience to wait players out you won’t have
success when playing heads up sit and gos. To have patience
means you are in it for the long haul and able to have the want
to be great. Without patience you will lose your money in heads
up matches, it’s that simple.

As the blinds begin to increase and you are at the second and
third levels, you’ll either see a change in the player you are
matched up against or you will not. Most players will begin to
pick up aggression at the second and third blind levels because
the blinds are now worth having in your stack. If you can see a
change in aggression you can start to pick up your aggression
level as well and open more hands from the button. Also, you can
make more three bets from the big blind. If you start to three
bet, then your opponent will shrink their range of hands to try
and pick you off.

After the first blind level your pre-flop
raise size changes from three times the blind to a minimum
raise. The reason for this is because you don’t want to commit
too much to a pot. If you start to raise three times the blind
at 25/50 blinds to 150, and fold to a shove, you are losing
money in the long run. The best play is to put in a raise to 100
at this level. If you decide to limp in, unless you are playing
against a completely passive fish, you are also not helping your

The reason to limp in is if you see how passive your
opponent is. If they are far too passive, to win pots sometimes
you don’t need to put in raises before the flop. You can
simply have them check the flop, you bet, and win the pot. This
isn’t suggested too often though, because most players won’t
let you limp in to pots. If you are the player in the big blind
you should try and run the limpers over. More times than not
they will snap fold pre-flop. Other times the player will call
before the flop then fold to a continuation bet on the flop. If a player limps in you can
take control of the pot pretty easily, and unless they smash a
flop you’ll win the hand.

Changing Gears

Changing gears in heads up matches is crucial to winning. If
you don’t figure out the type of player you are sitting across
from you won’t have success in heads up games. You have to
pay attention from deal number one to determine the proper
strategy to beat your opponent. If they are passive, then you
need to run them over. If they are aggressive, then you should
look to trap them. The little things in heads up matches mean so
much. If you play a pot and your opponent shows down a weaker
starting hand, you can keep that in mind to shove on them before
the flop next time. Small things turn losers into winners and
winners into losers. If you focus enough you’ll be a winner in
heads up games.