Short-handed and Heads-up Play (Day 23 Course Discussion)

Debi

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In this lesson we learn more about Short-handed and Heads-up Play.

If you have not yet read Day 23 and watched the video for Day 23 - take a few minutes now to do that and then come back here to discuss it:

Short-handed and Heads-up Play

The book states: "If you would open a given hand if everyone folds to you on the button at a full ring table, open the same hand on the button on a 6-max table and vice-versa."

We also learn that we need to play very loose heads-up - both positions are very powerful and you already have money in the pot.

Collin and Katie both excel at short-handed and heads-up play so let's pick their brains and learn a bit more about that.

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Polytarp

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I'll start my feedback off with a quick note..
there are few things more gratifying in a Heads-Up session after a hard fought MTT than having the other player suddenly sit out. It's also nice to have the other player's internet connection go wonky. You can believe that I make player notes on when, where and who I was playing against and what happened. In the past I would check weather reports to determine if it was a storm...etc... . I recently came across a thing called "downdetector" which depicts internet trouble spots...use your imagination. On the flip side, I've experienced such things also during some major games..so I learned to have a different operating system (with all the software updated so you can jump in when the site loads) ready with a back-up power source..etc...
In my opinion, most money is won/lost during heads-up play and secondarily during short-handed final table play so playing these encounters as perfectly as possible is crucial.

What kind of stakes are being played for during these video sessions? Are they all within your comfort zone or does such a question even apply? I have less than a double digit bankroll at party poker and wanted to show aspects of the short handed games played...I started with $7 went down to $1 and am now at $9 in 4 games.

In the first screen shot I was tempted to make a representation bet but thought better of it and folded the 22 despite my chip stack. I didn't place in this game. The second screen shot shows a trappy hand where I limped in calling the big button. Skrotnes was a tricky bugger, bluffing me off the river (only once) but I managed to fix him and everyone else. During this last game I played (leaving as a winner) I sussed out "john...'s" card range and he was a tight player. He counterfeited me once and sucked out twice but I bluffed him several times poking at his range. During heads-up I bluffed him a lot and the only way I could get him into the pot was to dangle some bait. By this time I had decimated his chip stack so he was ready to grab anything. This game was a clean sweep...with help from the dark side?!
 

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cferdi

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Strangely enough, I seem to do OK at 2-handed - well win at least half the time.

However, I think this chapter of the course & video may have highlighted why I don't like cash these days. I used to do ok, but there were a lot of 9-handed cash tables. Nowadays I find most are 6-handed and even when 9 are available, on-one seems to be playing them!

I don't like 6 handed. And I tend do really badly. I can win first few hands, then it goes downhill from there. If I am tight, I get blinded too quickly, (no I don't stay topped up, I am too low in bankroll and that way I find it can run away from me too quickly on my daily allowance). But, if I am looser, I get owned! Just can't seem to crack 6-handed cash at all.

For me, I think I'm better at tournament - maybe because they tend to be 9-handed, lol!

If (or should I say 'when') I eventually build my bankroll high enough to take a serious crack at 6-handed cash, then maybe I will revisit these lessons for some help!
 
Phoenix Wright

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This is a good topic because I find that all the best poker players seem good at heads up play. Even in huge MMTs, we will probably be heads up at some point when we win the entire thing ;)

p.s. Plus, playing full-ring but with an isolated opponent is essentially playing heads-up, so it is a worthwhile skill to have.
 
Katie Dozier

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Polytarp: the hands from the videos are pulled from Collin or my own databases. We didn't play in order to get them, rather searched our existing hand histories to find the best hands to illustrate the points relevant to each day. :)
This is a good topic because I find that all the best poker players seem good at heads up play. Even in huge MMTs, we will probably be heads up at some point when we win the entire thing ;)

p.s. Plus, playing full-ring but with an isolated opponent is essentially playing heads-up, so it is a worthwhile skill to have.
You're so right! When I get HU in an MTT versus an opponent that only plays MTT I often feel like I have a bit of an advantage because I play a lot of MTTSNGs (where I get HU a lot more frequently than say someone that's only playing large-field MTTs). Feeling comfortable HU can be a great advantage and it is worth the extra practice! :)
 
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Day 23 - Short-Handed and Heads-Up Play

I am also very comfortable playing heads-up because my whole base comes from spin and go or sit and go, although I really want to play only MTT.

I can't play many games at the same time because I'm a perfectionist and I don't want to leave it up to a hud (although I know it's very important) and I also want to play live MTT tournaments.

Now about the short stack I can't say that a person is comfortable, because the best thing is to always be ahead, but as incredible as it may seem, I play better in these conditions because my brain works faster and I have the courage to exercise the villains' fold equity. :p:p:p:p
 
Edison A

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I think heads-up is handled very well, I have calculated that I have an efficiency of 65%. This type of course reinforces my heads-up strategies, although the basic rule of heads-up is to play as many hands as possible. you can wait premium hands to be able to play a hand, in some occasions the bluff will be your best technique to fight your blind, thank you very much for the course
 
Luvart

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Finished Day #23.

For the K7s hand of today's quizz, I would say that opponent checked on all three postflop streets. His stab at the turn doesn't gives us a lot of useful information, since we also showed weakness on the flop by checking behind, and he could fire that bet to finish the pot here. On the river there is a second scare card for him, he checks again, I think we have the best hand, but a raise from opponent would be terrible for us.

Both options are good for me. I would either check behind again, or if I had to bet I would consider a shove.

Tomorrow with Day #24.
 
PsychoVas

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I consider those spots to be of my stronger ones. Many times I entered the final table 7th to 9th and ended up winning it. My weakness, and hopefully the one the next lesson will remedy is getting impatient HU. I try to finish the darn thing and call off way too light sometimes.
"Patience, my young padowan, of great importance is!"
 
redboy23

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Hello CCers,

My HUD is working now and my stats are off to a great start. Cannot wait to see my graph over a larger sample.

I did not know it at the time, but I felt more comfortable playing aggressively at a 6 max ring table. Now I know why and enjoying the action too!

Response to video question:

Villain bet the turn and gave up on the river. It appears that he either connected with the 10 on the board or missed a flush draw. Either way, I do not think it is worth the bet since it may be a trap - my pair has landed a straight for villain and I felt silly facing an all-in and fold on the river. So I vote to check in the event it was a trapping straight draw and not a missed flush draw.

Sometimes, I am relieved to make it to the river and that is one of those hands.
 
freddydr87

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Im a cash player so i play much more short handed than full ring,but when i migrate from short handed to full ring i take my strategy and aply it to the full ring i made a mix off the 9 seats to the 6 im used too.In short handed i have only 1 EP, in full ring i have 2 seat and use the same rangue,also with MP,i only had a rang for MP short staked and aply it to 2 seats in full ring,the i play the HJ and the CO the same way i play the CO in 6max and that leave me with the lat 3 position in full ring and 6 max and i play the the same way. It works for me very well,the other adjustment i do ar in MTT when the blind change a lot(in cash im allwais deep 100bb or more).
 
Collin Moshman

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Im a cash player so i play much more short handed than full ring,but when i migrate from short handed to full ring i take my strategy and aply it to the full ring i made a mix off the 9 seats to the 6 im used too.In short handed i have only 1 EP, in full ring i have 2 seat and use the same rangue,also with MP,i only had a rang for MP short staked and aply it to 2 seats in full ring,the i play the HJ and the CO the same way i play the CO in 6max and that leave me with the lat 3 position in full ring and 6 max and i play the the same way. It works for me very well,the other adjustment i do ar in MTT when the blind change a lot(in cash im allwais deep 100bb or more).


Playing CO and hijack similarly is good of course, since they're next to each other, but in general you should look to make small adjustments as you increase even one position. I'm glad that you're going through the course for cash games too, hopefully you still enjoy the content since there's a lot of overlap between many cash and tourney concepts :)
 
Debi

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I am surprised there is not more discussion on this topic - maybe most people haven't made it to this lesson yet - or they are too confident with their heads up play. :p
 
Katie Dozier

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I think heads-up is handled very well, I have calculated that I have an efficiency of 65%. This type of course reinforces my heads-up strategies, although the basic rule of heads-up is to play as many hands as possible. you can wait premium hands to be able to play a hand, in some occasions the bluff will be your best technique to fight your blind, thank you very much for the course
You've highlighted a big part of why heads-up play is so much fun--getting to play almost every hand is simply thrilling!:star:
 
T

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This is a difficult chapter but also teaches a lot. I was initially intimidated by all the different scenarios for min-raising and shoving hands and the tables from holdemresources when HU but the simple illustration at 5:30 in the video makes things so much easier. I do understand the concepts but it's a different thing altogether to remember all the ranges in real time when playing! I guess with practice I will figure out a simpler way to remember all relevant hands because I am bad at memorization. Is there an easy to remember system for this?

I agree that HU skills can prove useful in 6-max or full ring games with the caveat that when you are HU on such tables, it's likely that both your hands are strong ones not on a very wide range like in a typical HU game so the analysis should be different, right?

Thanks for another educational chapter!
 
Collin Moshman

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This is a difficult chapter but also teaches a lot. I was initially intimidated by all the different scenarios for min-raising and shoving hands and the tables from holdemresources when HU but the simple illustration at 5:30 in the video makes things so much easier. I do understand the concepts but it's a different thing altogether to remember all the ranges in real time when playing! I guess with practice I will figure out a simpler way to remember all relevant hands because I am bad at memorization. Is there an easy to remember system for this?

I agree that HU skills can prove useful in 6-max or full ring games with the caveat that when you are HU on such tables, it's likely that both your hands are strong ones not on a very wide range like in a typical HU game so the analysis should be different, right?

Thanks for another educational chapter!

Thanks and good questions!

For the Holdem Resources heads-up tables, and any other static ranges (like a default range for opening the button), you're allowed to have those open and available when playing. You just can't have any software that's dynamically suggesting or displaying ranges based on what's going on.

And of course, don't worry about getting ranges exactly "right"!


And yes, when you get heads-up in a 6max game for example, the analysis is different because players are on tighter ranges. Also if it folds to the blinds, the big blind acts second pre-flop too so that makes him inclined to play more hands. But a lot of the concepts are still very similar, definitely.
 
T

Tux97

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This is the chart from the video that I referred to above. It does simply things thanks. I know it should be regarded as an approximation but why the required stack size for the BB is double that of the button?Screenshot 20200611 040523
 
Collin Moshman

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This is the chart from the video that I referred to above. It does simply things thanks. I know it should be regarded as an approximation but why the required stack size for the BB is double that of the button?View attachment 272883


Ah, sorry if this is unclear in the video, but the button range is for open-shoving and the big blind range is for 3-bet shoving. So the big blind is jamming 19bb to win 3bb (depending on whether there's an ante) and the button is jamming 9.5bb to win 1.5bb. Same risk-reward ratio. Thanks for asking this and giving me the chance to clarify!
 
T

Tux97

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Ah, sorry if this is unclear in the video, but the button range is for open-shoving and the big blind range is for 3-bet shoving. So the big blind is jamming 19bb to win 3bb (depending on whether there's an ante) and the button is jamming 9.5bb to win 1.5bb. Same risk-reward ratio. Thanks for asking this and giving me the chance to clarify!
Many thanks. Now, it makes perfect sense.
 
Andrew Popov

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I read the text of the chapter, and for one I watched the video on YouTube. It is a pity that in most of the presented hands we do not see an autopsy, and as a result, the opponent’s game logic remains “behind the scenes”.
 
johnnylawford

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The challenge I find in playing heads up is bluffing too often. It's always a balancing act between playing too tight and being exploited on scare cards versus too aggressively and getting trapped.
 
Collin Moshman

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I read the text of the chapter, and for one I watched the video on YouTube. It is a pity that in most of the presented hands we do not see an autopsy, and as a result, the opponent’s game logic remains “behind the scenes”.

It's tough to know your opponent's logic a lot of the time. You just make the best plays based on sound fundamental strategy and opponent tendencies :)

The challenge I find in playing heads up is bluffing too often. It's always a balancing act between playing too tight and being exploited on scare cards versus too aggressively and getting trapped.

A big part of it is adjusting to what's happening in the match. If you find you're having a lot of bluffs get called, decrease the frequency for sure, but sometimes that's just part of heads-up!
 
Debi

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The challenge I find in playing heads up is bluffing too often. It's always a balancing act between playing too tight and being exploited on scare cards versus too aggressively and getting trapped.

Same here - heads up is very tricky!
 
Good Man

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Heads up is a psychological game against an opponent. You need to constantly calculate your opponent's actions, use your bluff in time, and play aggressively. Tight style (waiting for the best map) in heads up, I try not to do this. I throw my opponent off balance by showing the worst cards when bluffing or often making big bets. In a one-on-one game, I try to reveal my game skills as much as possible and often change my strategy. Otherwise, you can become "readable" for the opponent.
And at the end the answer to the question: I would bet on the value of about 30 percent of the Bank, he showed us a weakness by making a check on several streets, putting a small bet you can take the blinds from him.




Life is a game , play beautiful
 
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