Heads up hand

OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Total posts
8,583
Awards
1
Thoughts on this one appreciated - for the most part I've been successful in playing small pot poker: villain had me under 1000 chips at one point, and I've come back to this point. Villain has been countering my strategy by either overbetting or shoving, and I've been folding to it.

This is one of those hands. WWYD?

full tilt poker Game #3510931498: $2 + $0.15 Heads Up Sit & Go (26819995), Table 1 - 30/60 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:29:25 ET - 2007/09/09
Seat 1: OzExorcist (1,885)
Seat 2: bucks4us (1,115)
OzExorcist posts the small blind of 30
bucks4us posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OzExorcist [2h 5s]
OzExorcist calls 30
bucks4us checks
*** FLOP *** [2d 5c Jc]
bucks4us checks
OzExorcist checks
*** TURN *** [2d 5c Jc] [9d]
bucks4us bets 60
OzExorcist calls 60
*** RIVER *** [2d 5c Jc 9d] [7h]
bucks4us bets 995, and is all in
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

Legend
Joined
Aug 18, 2006
Total posts
5,389
I would have shoved on the flop
 
A

altruist

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Total posts
56
agreed, two pair is a risky holding when you have a flush draw on board and only have bottom two pair. If you're feeling tricky/brave, you can try to take it on the turn, but rarely should you let two pair go to the river if you believe you have the best hand.
 
J

joeeagles

Guest
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Total posts
1,114
Are you guys serious? Shove the flop? Why? That's not optimal HU strategy when you flop 2 pair, particularly since OP says he's been playing small pot. If you shove the flop what do expect him to call with? Only a better 2 pair or a hand bigger than that, and if he folds all you win is the blinds. This is a hand where you need to get value. I don't slowplay a lot but HU is a different animal, at times you have to in order to get chips. Mixing it up, decieving and inducing bets/bluffs from lesser hands is the key in HU.

Oz, if he's been shoving a lot as you say then I'll make this call. Besides the fact this player is pretty unconventional shoving into a 240 pot, if he has a big hand (he might have T8 and made a straight on the river) he's also an idiot for not trying to get value for it. Your line in this hand was check on the flop and call a 60 (1/2 pot) bet on the turn. As passively as you played this, there is no way he can put you on 2 pair, so if he does have a monster why shove instead of betting it for value? Of course I wouldn't be surprised if he flips over a better hand, but I'm not folding to a such a player, unless I know him well. If he's got it, oh well, he got me.

About the way you played this, I'm ok with the check on the flop, but you should have raised his turn bet. This mostly because the board is full of draws ( 2 FD + straight combinations) and his turn bet could easily be on a draw. If that's the case then 1) you should protect your hand and more importantly 2) the turn raise might be your last chance to get value in this hand. Of course that's just in general, there is still some merit in flat calling, cause you might induce a river bluff, but that depends on opponent. It looks like that just happened here, but in most cases it's not worth it. Get value when you can, raise the turn.
 
Monoxide

Monoxide

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Total posts
3,657
trip 9's


lol im joking i have no idea, i would have been alot more agressive @ the flop with such a low 2 pair though, can easily get fuxed up.
 
A

altruist

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Total posts
56
Are you guys serious? Shove the flop? Why? That's not optimal HU strategy when you flop 2 pair, particularly since OP says he's been playing small pot. If you shove the flop what do expect him to call with? Only a better 2 pair or a hand bigger than that, and if he folds all you win is the blinds. This is a hand where you need to get value. I don't slowplay a lot but HU is a different animal, at times you have to in order to get chips. Mixing it up, decieving and inducing bets/bluffs from lesser hands is the key in HU.

I don't know about shoving the flop, but that's exactly why I'd play it aggressively and wouldn't let it draw to the river. By the river, the only hand he's likely to call me with is one that beats my two pair.

That, or I'm willing to give it up should the board look scary enough for my hand. If I flopped two pair with drawing possibilities for my opponent, I'd rather take the pot than let my opponent draw out on me.

On a board where two pair is very likely to hold up, I'd slow play.
 
A

altruist

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Total posts
56
Actually not mentioned previously, definitely worth mentioning: the main reason you should not slow play this hand, is you can afford not to. You have the chip lead and the blinds are still relatively low. Your hand is vulnerable. You don't need to take the chance.

On the other hand, if you flop a set, flush, or a straight, these hands are a lot more likely to hold up till the river, definitely worth milking for more value.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Total posts
13,642
Agreed that this hand is somewhat vulnerable, but HU, almost anything goes. Villain may have been much more aggressive on the river, or made pushes when shown weakness (see above). As played and considering your reads, this is a snapcall for me.

I do agree that we should have played this faster on the flop/turn though - especially if we've been aggressive in the past.
 
A

alan1983

Visionary
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Total posts
641
River shoves are tricky when a player had been very low-key throught the hand.

I often see it when someone flops a monster HU, and doesnt want to lose the opponent then wakes up on river and thinks "i might as well give it a shot to take him out".

But you say hes been doing it rather frequently, and your still alive if you lose, but pots small so theres no harm folding. I dunno, could go either way with this one
 
J

joeeagles

Guest
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Total posts
1,114
I don't know about shoving the flop, but that's exactly why I'd play it aggressively and wouldn't let it draw to the river. By the river, the only hand he's likely to call me with is one that beats my two pair.

That, or I'm willing to give it up should the board look scary enough for my hand. If I flopped two pair with drawing possibilities for my opponent, I'd rather take the pot than let my opponent draw out on me.

On a board where two pair is very likely to hold up, I'd slow play.


You contraddict yourself a couple times throughout your 3 posts, but that's not important. What I find really wrong is this irrational fear of getting outdrawn, to the point that you're willing to give up on value. I tried to explain in my previous post that this is not a winning strategy when playing HU.

Flopping 2 pair in a HU match, whether it's top 2 or bottom 2, is a very strong hand. You can get outdrawn occasionally (yes, your opponent can make a straight or a flush) but the percentages of that not happening are always in your favor. Just because the board has 2 cards of the same suit on the flop doesn't mean your opponent is on a flush draw. There is only a 5% chance of that. The biggest danger, instead, when flopping bottom 2, is that the board pairs and you get counterfeited. Again though, odds of that happening aren't exactly huge.

You seem to think that aggressively is the best way to play this, because you don't want him drawing to the river, so you want to take this down immediately. That's saying you're happy to win the 120 in the pot, after flopping 2 pair. This, IMO, is a huge mistake. You're not going to hit many hands, and getting value from those you do hit is essential. The way to obtain that (value) is subordinated to how you've been playing so far, and how he's been playing. If you've been aggressive on every flop, then go ahead and bet this one too. But if you have checked the majority of flops, and bet only when you hit, you shouldn't make an aggressive bet here after his check just to get the 120, unless you've seen him check the flop previously when he actually had a hand.

As I previously said, HU is a different animal. It's a mix of mind games and other strategies that are all put forward with the intent of getting the most value you can when you hit, and stealing pots when you miss. If you become predictable with your betting patterns then you're depending excessively on the cards to win. It's very important to keep him guessing and make yourself hard to read. At times you need to decieve your opponent in order to get chips. In the OP this villain was described as aggressive, shoving into many pots. You have a hand where you need him to get in his comfort zone and induce him to do just that, either a shove or an overbet. The risk of getting outdrawn isn't huge and on the flop you have to take it if you want to make the most. This huge fear of getting outdrawn won't take you far in HU matches, and it's certainly the wrong strategy against an aggressive idiot like this one.

This is not a full ring game, it's HU. Like it or not, HU you have to slowplay at times in order to achieve chips. Heck, people slowplay top pair or overpairs in HU, leave alone 2 pair. I do agree though that on the turn he should have raised, for reasons I already mentioned before. At some point you need to start betting, although I have to admit that if he got villain to shove with a lesser hand (and I believe he did) by playing it this passively, his turn call was genius.
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
Joined
May 16, 2006
Total posts
6,129
bet flop usually. fold river. assuming he's even remotely not braindead (probably a bad assumption): he's not doing this with top pair because he can't expect to get called with worse. and it makes no sense to do it with a bluff when a bluff of fewer chips would be nearly as effective while saving him money. this ought to be better two pair +, set, or a straight

edit: didnt see the read mentioned the first time. i still like a fold as you have a healthy lead and if opponent keeps doing this, he should be really easy to beat. wait for a time where you're not beat by like 30 bajillion holdings (68, T8, J9, J7, J5, J2, 72, 92, 75, 95, 22, 55, 77.. he's BB in a limped pot so could easily have any of these)
 
Last edited:
rounder22

rounder22

Rock Star
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Total posts
297
I would have pushed on the turn he probably got lucky and made backdoor straight or slowplayed you but you said this player had a tendency to shove and overbet. So he has to be bluffing a high percentage of the time.
 
A

altruist

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Total posts
56
You contraddict yourself a couple times throughout your 3 posts, but that's not important. What I find really wrong is this irrational fear of getting outdrawn, to the point that you're willing to give up on value. I tried to explain in my previous post that this is not a winning strategy when playing HU.

Sorry, you're right, that was my mistake. I should pay more attention when I make a reply here.

What I meant to say is: it's right to push the flop, it's right not to push the flop (it really depends on the situation), but I'd definitely push before the river, if for nothing other than forcing my opponent to make a mistake.
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
Joined
May 16, 2006
Total posts
6,129
lol, wait does anyone really want to push the flop (or turn) here? for like 20x the pot size? what the heezie? that is, what dan harrington would call, "uncool"
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Total posts
8,583
Awards
1
Thanks for all the comments guys. Here's the outcome:

OzExorcist calls 995
*** SHOW DOWN ***
bucks4us shows [7c 7s] three of a kind, Sevens
OzExorcist mucks
bucks4us wins the pot (2,230) with three of a kind, Sevens
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,230 | Rake 0
Board: [2d 5c Jc 9d 7h]
Seat 1: OzExorcist (small blind) mucked [2h 5s] - two pair, Fives and Twos
Seat 2: bucks4us (big blind) showed [7c 7s] and won (2,230) with three of a kind, Sevens

Didn't really recover after that and went on to lose the game.

My thinking this hand was that (as happens in heads up) pretty much every hand had been won with either a high card, one pair or no showdown at all - two pair was a big hand, and if I bet out on the flop I probably wasn't going to get value on it.

I interpreted the river shove as the villain's standard "get out of jail" move, guess I read it wrong in this case. Wonder how many other times he had the goods while I was folding to it? :p

Amongst other things, reading the replies here has made me realise that I'd lost sight of my game strategy too - the opportunity to end it there and then with what seemed like a good hand made me forget I was just trying to grind the villain down with as little risk as possible. More action earlier in the hand is probably in order next time.
 
A

altruist

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Total posts
56
For the record, I find heads up a very luck based, tough game. Depending on your opponent you may be unable to get a strategical edge in a heads up game, especially as the blinds rise. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it.

I remember losing several heads up game when I develop a good hand on the flop (e.g. straights, full house, set, flushes) only to lose my opponent holding quads, a higher full house, or a higher straight/flush. You really can't expect your opponent to have quads every time you have a good hand, and often I get the perfect cards to lose all my money on.

lol, wait does anyone really want to push the flop (or turn) here? for like 20x the pot size? what the heezie? that is, what dan harrington would call, "uncool"
hehe, of course not, I'd say bet the pot or slightly over if the pot is low, then bet the pot on the turn. You probably still have the best hand on the turn, and while your opponent can choose to call two pot sized bets, he'd be making a huge mistake to.
 
KingNothing4

KingNothing4

Rock Star
Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Total posts
382
i would have played it aggressively on the flop with the low 2pair, i wouldnt want to take that hand deep with those draws out ther
 
Alon Ipser

Alon Ipser

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Total posts
1,406
I'm a little late on the reply for this but why even play a 25o against an over agressive player heads up. I fold preflop and wait for a better hand.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Total posts
8,583
Awards
1
I'm a little late on the reply for this but why even play a 25o against an over agressive player heads up. I fold preflop and wait for a better hand.

Two words - pot odds. They pretty much always encourage at least a call from the small blind, and heads up, literally any two cards have enough of a chance of taking the hand down to make the call worthwhile. This game (and pretty much any other I play heads up) I didn't fold a single hand from the small blind unless I faced a big re-raise.

Yes the villain's been overbetting the pot, but that's on later streets. He's pretty much always happy to see a cheap flop. And so am I, even with a hand like this, because pretty much anything goes heads up. Sometimes I might even raise with this hand.

You'll occasionally hear people say things like "I've got no idea how Doyle Brunson managed to win two Main Events with 10-2 - it never works for me!" Heads up play is the reason. Same goes for Joe Hachem and 7-3, and all the other seemingly junk hands that have won the Main Event.

If you get the chance, read the chapter on heads up play in Harrington on Hold 'em Vol II. Fascinating stuff, and most educational.
 
Last edited:
Alon Ipser

Alon Ipser

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Total posts
1,406
Two words - pot odds. They pretty much always encourage at least a call from the small blind, and heads up, literally any two cards have enough of a chance of taking the hand down to make the call worthwhile. This game (and pretty much any other I play heads up) I didn't fold a single hand from the small blind unless I faced a big re-raise.

Yes the villain's been overbetting the pot, but that's on later streets. He's pretty much always happy to see a cheap flop. And so am I, even with a hand like this, because pretty much anything goes heads up. Sometimes I might even raise with this hand.

You'll occasionally hear people say things like "I've got no idea how Doyle Brunson managed to win two Main Events with 10-2 - it never works for me!" Heads up play is the reason. Same goes for Joe Hachem and 7-3, and all the other seemingly junk hands that have won the Main Event.

If you get the chance, read the chapter on heads up play in Harrington on Hold 'em Vol II. Fascinating stuff, and most educational.

Great if you are playing big stakes and the people you are playing against understand the game but you are playing a $2 H/U. Obviously, you have this guy pegged and haved out played him to this point. You did get lucky to catch the 2 pair but unlucky against the set. How often are you really going to flop a hand with 25o you can play against this type of player. Brunson did say in his first book that he lost more money on bottom 2 pair than any other hand ;). Just my opinion though.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Total posts
8,583
Awards
1
Brunson did say in his first book that he lost more money on bottom 2 pair than any other hand ;)

LOL - good point.

I just figure at whatever stakes, if you're playing heads up and your opponent's letting you see cheap flops, then ATK will do it. The pot odds and your odds of hitting a playable hand don't change with the stakes - the way your opponent reacts might though.
 
P

peacechamp

Guest
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Total posts
4
Agree

I agree 100 percent with JoeEagles point of view because collecting blinds all day is not enough to survive! Sometimes you have to slowplay even if you lose to a river or turn.
 
P

patssoxfan42

Guest
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Total posts
6
Be aggressive

Thoughts on this one appreciated - for the most part I've been successful in playing small pot poker: villain had me under 1000 chips at one point, and I've come back to this point. Villain has been countering my strategy by either overbetting or shoving, and I've been folding to it.

This is one of those hands. WWYD?

Full Tilt Poker Game #3510931498: $2 + $0.15 Heads Up Sit & Go (26819995), Table 1 - 30/60 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:29:25 ET - 2007/09/09
Seat 1: OzExorcist (1,885)
Seat 2: bucks4us (1,115)
OzExorcist posts the small blind of 30
bucks4us posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OzExorcist [2h 5s]
OzExorcist calls 30
bucks4us checks
*** FLOP *** [2d 5c Jc]
bucks4us checks
OzExorcist checks
*** TURN *** [2d 5c Jc] 9♦
bucks4us bets 60
OzExorcist calls 60
*** RIVER *** [2d 5c Jc 9d] 7♥
bucks4us bets 995, and is all in


Anyone that doesn't bet the flop aggressively is a fool. Bottom two pair with a flush draw on the board is foolish to slow play. There's also the str8 draw possibility or if the other player has top pair you're bottom pair could be counterfeited. The only option in my opinion is to bet the pot on the flop and if I get reraised I'm all-in. You have bottom two, it's not like you have a set. Don't be greedy or it will blow up in your face.
 
Starting Hands - Poker Hand Nicknames Rankings - Poker Hands
Top