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Ask me anything about headsup

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  1. #1

    Default Ask me anything about headsup

    I'm in a giving mood tonight so I thought I'd make a thread like this. I've been playing HU as a professional for almost three years. I've played as high as 200/400 NL and played many high class players including durrr, jungleman12, Ansky, Mastrblastr, David Benefield, Issac Haxton, and Justin Bonomo just to name a few (I also played Isildur1 in a hu sng recently, I won lol).

    Right now I play hu sngs mostly 345-1k turbos, sometimes higher and sometimes lower.

    Ask me anything
  2. #2
    1) How easy was it for you mentally in the beginning playing HU (both cash and HUSNG)? I have personally noticed I get worn out way faster playing 1 table HU vs 20 tables of SNGs.

    2) When studying a HU match. What are some things you look for in order to improve?

    3) What qualities make a difficult opponent?

    Perfect timing on this (for me anyways)! I've been going over my HU game a lot so this will be a big help.
  3. #3
    !Luck's Avatar
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    At what stage would you recommend someone start to learn HU, if they are Micro FR cash player? Does it make any sense to split ones time learning both games (FR and HU), or do you suspect it would be better to learn one then the other?
  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by revolvingiris View Post
    1) How easy was it for you mentally in the beginning playing HU (both cash and HUSNG)? I have personally noticed I get worn out way faster playing 1 table HU vs 20 tables of SNGs.

    2) When studying a HU match. What are some things you look for in order to improve?

    3) What qualities make a difficult opponent?

    Perfect timing on this (for me anyways)! I've been going over my HU game a lot so this will be a big help.
    1) The mentality isn't easy, sometimes I play someone (especially someone who's really aggressive) and I just feel like my brain is going to melt after a couple hours. With experience you get used to it though, I can basically play all day without feeling worn out.

    2) Hmmm, do you mean against a specific opponent? I basically look at all the showdown hands to see what he's doing from a strategical standpoint, and then I think of what counter strategies I can use. For example, lets say I review a match and see that my opponent is 3betting a shitload. I look at some of his 3bet hands and I see AA, 47s, 98o, and 54s. Clearly, his 3bet range is polarized therefore I'm going to 4bet a wide range against him (whether its a wide value range or bluff range depends on how I think he'll react to it).Then when I see another opponent doing a similar thing I can use that counter. If I do this over and over with different strategies, eventually I'll be comfortable adjusting to any opponent.

    3) You hear this over and over again from players but it's true. Balance. A player who plays with mostly balanced ranges is a bitch to play against.

    However, for me specifically, I have a really hard time with very irrationally stationy players, just because I love to make big bluffs and assume off that bat that I'm playing a thinking player. Although once I figure out they're total clowns they become very easy.
  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by !Luck View Post
    At what stage would you recommend someone start to learn HU, if they are Micro FR cash player? Does it make any sense to split ones time learning both games (FR and HU), or do you suspect it would be better to learn one then the other?
    I usually tell people to just stick to 6-max and/or fullring until they get to at least a small stakes or midstakes level. I definitely wouldn't split time learning both, they're just so different that you may end up confusing yourself.

    That being said, there are good players who started playing hu at micros and worked their way up to high stakes.
  6. #6
    Donachello's Avatar
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    1) Even though HU cash has stagnated a huge amount due to rampant bum hunting and refusal of action to winning players would you still consider it to be the most consistently beatable form of cash poker?

    2) Minimum # of buyins to be "rolled" for cash vs HUSnGs?

    3) Most tilting HU moment?
    [00:29] <daven> dc, why not check turn behind
    [00:30] <DC> daven
    [00:30] <DC> on my hand?
    [00:30] <daven> yep
    [00:30] <DC> because I am drunk
    [00:30] <daven> nice reason
    [00:30] <daven> no further questions
    [00:30] <yaawn> ^^Lol

    Problem officer...?
  7. #7
    whats your sn on ftp/stars?
  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Donachello View Post
    1) Even though HU cash has stagnated a huge amount due to rampant bum hunting and refusal of action to winning players would you still consider it to be the most consistently beatable form of cash poker?

    2) Minimum # of buyins to be "rolled" for cash vs HUSnGs?

    3) Most tilting HU moment?
    1) It definitely is one of the most profitable games at least from a bang for your buck standpoint. Fish will make monumental makes deepstacked and good players can have big winrates. But the bumhunting has basically gotten out of hand at this point. Personally I think the sites should eliminate hu cash altogether because of this, it doesn't make sense to have a game where you have a player who can refuse action at all. If you had a hu table at a casino, and someone sat down but you refused to play, would the casino let you sit down at the hu table again? No. I think the sites should give the ability for players to create their own private hu games, so when two players really want to challenge each other to headsup, they can.

    And becuase of the bumhunting, hu cash is a huge waiting game, which is basically why I stopped playing. HU SNGs are much more fun because it's literally impossible to avoid playing someone if you're sitting down.

    2) I don't think there's really a minimum. If you're playing a game you have a good edge in you could play it with only 5 buyins... as long as you're willing to move down when you have to or you can get a stake. I play with over 100 buyins though so what do I know lol.

    3) When I'm playing a total clown and I need to just get a decent hand and then I get AA and he open folds lol.
  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by andees10 View Post
    whats your sn on ftp/stars?
    RunItTrim on ftp

    Redgrape on Stars
  10. #10
    Hoopy's Avatar
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    how do you deal with tilt?
  11. #11
    Donachello's Avatar
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    From my somewhat limited experience with HU I've noticed that the regs mainly fall into two categories, those that try to control the 3betting game and those that don't. I see a lot of regs who 3bet early and often in a match and then it kind of dies out as the game goes on and I respond the their aggression a couple times.

    Gameflow is obviously super important so.... How important is it to establish a 3bet/4bet dynamic and to keep it going (both sngs and cash)?
    How early?

    I would think that in bloated pots the mistakes people can make are larger but is there a point where stack sizes are such that either the 4bet/5bet/6bet(**7bet/8bet/9bet) game is just getting too out of hand that you'd prefer to go back to small ball or is that even possible once stacks are deep?

    (**I watched some pretty absurd sauce vs aejones hands with miech haha)
    [00:29] <daven> dc, why not check turn behind
    [00:30] <DC> daven
    [00:30] <DC> on my hand?
    [00:30] <daven> yep
    [00:30] <DC> because I am drunk
    [00:30] <daven> nice reason
    [00:30] <daven> no further questions
    [00:30] <yaawn> ^^Lol

    Problem officer...?
  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by HoopyDude View Post
    how do you deal with tilt?
    I bounce around between two things. 1) quit when I feel tilted, which I don't really like doing because I'm a professional and want to put in the hours. 2) Use certain techniques I got from working with Jared Tendler which involve things like journaling, logicing out fallacies, and becoming more aware of what I'm feeling.

    I don't ever tilt badly though, the worst version of tilt for me results in making a couple of minor mistakes. I think sometimes people also confuse tilting with not being as capable as they feel they should be. If you make a big river call, and it's wrong, and immediately after you realize it was a bad play, that doesn't mean you were tilting, it just means you are not skilled enough at making clear decisions in game. A lot of people use tilt as an excuse though.
  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Donachello View Post
    From my somewhat limited experience with HU I've noticed that the regs mainly fall into two categories, those that try to control the 3betting game and those that don't. I see a lot of regs who 3bet early and often in a match and then it kind of dies out as the game goes on and I respond the their aggression a couple times.

    Gameflow is obviously super important so.... How important is it to establish a 3bet/4bet dynamic and to keep it going (both sngs and cash)?
    How early?

    I would think that in bloated pots the mistakes people can make are larger but is there a point where stack sizes are such that either the 4bet/5bet/6bet(**7bet/8bet/9bet) game is just getting too out of hand that you'd prefer to go back to small ball or is that even possible once stacks are deep?

    (**I watched some pretty absurd sauce vs aejones hands with miech haha)
    The idea of "creating a 3bet and 4bet dynamic" is totally retarded. You don't just 3bet bluff for the sake of creating a dynamic. You're anticipating making adjustments when you don't know how he's going to adjust if at all.

    However, I think most players don't 3bet enough at all in hu cash. The reason is that there are two basic things that cash players do that would encourage you to 3bet a shitload as a counter. 1) Raising 90%+ buttons and 2) folding to 3bets over 70% of the time. 3betting a player like this is insanely profitable, and if you can figure out how they like to play in position (i.e. do they like to raise flops with their nut hands, do they like to slowplay, do they fold to cbets, do they fold to double barrels, do they fold to triple barrels? etc) then you can basically steamroll the shit out of them.
  14. #14
    Thanks for doing this,

    1.) Do you think there is a "plateau" that some players reach in moving up in the stakes or do you think anyone can have the success you have had if they put in the appropriate amount of work (ie obsessive if necessary)

    2.) Did you take huge shots in moving up (mostly mean husngs) with most of your br at some points, or are you a br nit? I feel like some of the nosebleeds guys got where they are by making the huge jump to 1ks+ and had initial success and were able to get good fast? (spamz0r comes to mind..)

    3.) Might as well ask since you're talking about 3betting stuff :P Is my logic ok?

    {at $33 level, as a general strategy 50bbs deep} Vs somebody tightish oop, flatting 25% 3betting 33%, I open ~90% and pretty much never limp.

    As opposed to somebody loose OOP, calling 62% 3betting 33%, I will raise only things that are good enough to call a 3bet with (or 4bet obv) including some suited connectors?
  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by kingme620 View Post
    Thanks for doing this,

    1.) Do you think there is a "plateau" that some players reach in moving up in the stakes or do you think anyone can have the success you have had if they put in the appropriate amount of work (ie obsessive if necessary)

    2.) Did you take huge shots in moving up (mostly mean husngs) with most of your br at some points, or are you a br nit? I feel like some of the nosebleeds guys got where they are by making the huge jump to 1ks+ and had initial success and were able to get good fast? (spamz0r comes to mind..)

    3.) Might as well ask since you're talking about 3betting stuff :P Is my logic ok?

    {at $33 level, as a general strategy 50bbs deep} Vs somebody tightish oop, flatting 25% 3betting 33%, I open ~90% and pretty much never limp.

    As opposed to somebody loose OOP, calling 62% 3betting 33%, I will raise only things that are good enough to call a 3bet with (or 4bet obv) including some suited connectors?
    1) Danny (ISF) said to a friend like two or 3 years ago, when he was playing 5/10, that he felt like "I think that i've reached my peak, I don't think that I'll ever be good enough to beat high stakes levels of poker." Well, he was clearly terribly wrong. I think everyone has a plateau, it's just a lot higher than even they can imagine.

    2) I actually made most of my money in cash, and when I went into hu sngs I had the BR to play at the highest stakes. When I played cash I was a BR nit playing 5/10 with over 100 buyins, but I took my first shot at 25/50 playing this semi reg player that I heard was pretty bad. I ended up taking like 45k off of him and at that point I started to play almost exclusively 25/50, making tons of money. If you feel like you're crushing midstakes or low stakes games, than you can make big jumps because there's a good probability it'll jumpstart your career. If you're breaking even or winning marginally, or even a solid but unspectacular winner, I wouldn't reccomend taking huge shots because even if you win you won't be able to sustain your wins at that level.

    3) Obviously in the first scenario opening many buttons is good because the act of opening a button in that situation, regardless of what happens postflop, is almost +ev. If you can just turn some of your bad hands into slight winners by playing postflop, which you can do by literally just waiting for the nuts and not playing otherwise, than you can turn any hand into a plus ev hand.

    In the second scenario, you shouldn't only raise hands that you can call a 3bet with. This is actually a really simple example of game theory, if you only open hands you want to call a 3bet with, any nit wit will probably realize this somewhat and make some sort of adjustment, good players even more so. What you want to do is tighten up, but raise some hands that aren't +ev (I'd probably open about 60%-70% of buttons in this scenario, depending on the stacksizes) so he continues to make a predictable mistake and plays into your counter unknowingly.
  16. #16
    bigred's Avatar
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    At the lower stakes, the player pool is quite large. While I'm obviously trying to develop my game, one major aspect is player selection. Can you give some guidance/framework towards identifying mid game when a player may not be the best choice and it's time to move on to something new. I realize this is dependent on one's strengths and game but sometimes its harder to evaluate when you should cut your losses (or wins) due to the high variance associated with HU.
    LOL OPERATIONS
  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bigred View Post
    At the lower stakes, the player pool is quite large. While I'm obviously trying to develop my game, one major aspect is player selection. Can you give some guidance/framework towards identifying mid game when a player may not be the best choice and it's time to move on to something new. I realize this is dependent on one's strengths and game but sometimes its harder to evaluate when you should cut your losses (or wins) due to the high variance associated with HU.
    I'm probably not the best player to ask about this since I rarely game select, and when I'm thinking about how well someone is playing against me, I evaluate it based on the way I play. For example, I know that I'm totally bluffy in certain spots, and if someone calls me in that spot I know that they made a good play. The same goes for them, if they bluff me in a spot where I'm usually weak, than I know they made a good play.

    At low stakes however, you can probably just tell by the way someone plays preflop. If they raise large sizes or make min reraises or limp a bunch then it's pretty obvious. If you game select at low levels though, you're probably not going to get better as fast, so I wouldn't recommend it if getting better is your goal.
  18. #18
    If anyone wants a question answered by both Danny and Me, you can submit your question to suitedacesblog@gmail.com and we may answer it in a future blog post on suited-aces.com
  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Numbr2intheWorld View Post
    I usually tell people to just stick to 6-max and/or fullring until they get to at least a small stakes or midstakes level. I definitely wouldn't split time learning both, they're just so different that you may end up confusing yourself.

    That being said, there are good players who started playing hu at micros and worked their way up to high stakes.
    This is probably more of a 6-max question...

    But wouldn't learning to play heads-up, improve your 6max game, in the end?

    I've heard that said several times, and i can imagine that you gain an edge in certain situation, like when the table just starts or breaks up, or in blind battle situations...

    Or it might also helps you to adjust faster to aggressive 6max players in that you get more experience playing marginal hands for bigger pots.
  20. #20
    This is not exactly a HU question, but did you ever play microstakes? How long did it take you to move up? What do you think was different about your game than the many people who didn't?

    PS, my brother went to AU too. Go eagles.
  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom42 View Post
    This is probably more of a 6-max question...

    But wouldn't learning to play heads-up, improve your 6max game, in the end?

    I've heard that said several times, and i can imagine that you gain an edge in certain situation, like when the table just starts or breaks up, or in blind battle situations...

    Or it might also helps you to adjust faster to aggressive 6max players in that you get more experience playing marginal hands for bigger pots.
    Hmm, I think you can learn some stuff to improve your game at 6max when playing hu. Like you said, blind battle situations are basically like hu situations.

    But I just think if you're are microstakes or low stakes, you have tons to learn and it's not going to improve your game any faster dabbling in hu. You could also learn slightly wrong, because in some ways hu is totally different and if you don't understand fundamentals well you will think something applies to both hu and 6max when it actually doesnt.
  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by couriermike View Post
    This is not exactly a HU question, but did you ever play microstakes? How long did it take you to move up? What do you think was different about your game than the many people who didn't?

    PS, my brother went to AU too. Go eagles.
    I started at $5 sngs in 2006. I eventually moved to cash where I started at .05/.10 6max on stars. You can read my whole poker story on my blog, the link to it is in my signature.

    I think I have gotten to where i am today because I understand the game of poker very well, it's hard to explain what that really means though. It's kind of like what intel advertises for their i5 and i7 processors, the guy looks at the computer and says "It's boosting performance... on it's own!" Everytime I play poker, I can learn something new and get better because I get what's going on. I don't think a lot of players really get it, or maybe they get it but don't approach learning correctly, or they don't have someone to help them get it. So I think that's what separates me from most pros.
  23. #23
    Cool, thanks for answering these questions, number2.
  24. #24
    in terms of like HU variance and the psychology of that, how d'u find you deal with that vs other players you know?
  25. #25
    Out of interest, how did you do against durrrr and the other pros? Is he really as good as they get or just has a lot of money? Do you think you're a favorite over a long period of time?
    Thanks
  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by d0zer View Post
    in terms of like HU variance and the psychology of that, how d'u find you deal with that vs other players you know?
    I feel like as you become more aware of how you feel when things are going really bad or really good, the better you're going to be at dealing with it. I try to become more aware buy using techniques Jared Tendler taught to me.
  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by The Edlets View Post
    Out of interest, how did you do against durrrr and the other pros? Is he really as good as they get or just has a lot of money? Do you think you're a favorite over a long period of time?
    Thanks
    Unlike most of the guys I listed, I played durrr in a live setting. At the 10k hu WSOP event at the WSOP in 2010. The way he played strategically didn't impress me, I felt like I was exploiting him for the first half hour or so and he just didn't adjust. What really impressed me was his table presence. He sat up very straight and was watching me on every hand. It slightly intimidated me. He also made an absurdly good value overbet against me. I ended up losing but I think I was about even with him for that match, he probably would have an edge if we played more.

    Any others you're curious about?
  28. #28
    kmind's Avatar
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    How do you come up with your 3bet bluff range? What factors makes you choose one hand over another? Such as Axs or 33 will flop greater overall equity vs. say T9s, but T9s will give us more flops that we can draw to the nuts.

    If we're drawing we need FE, but if we have FE then we can use hands that flop higher equity it seems so it confuses me. We obviously need some tendencies in our opponents to choose one over the other.
  29. #29
    Micro2Macro's Avatar
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    Not sure if you're still answering questions for this, but if you are...

    What do you think the most outstanding difference between successful high stake heads up cash players and 6max players is? (This is basically assuming that each player is either a heads up cash specialist or a 6max specialist, but not both.
  30. #30
    Silly String's Avatar
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    What have you found is the most effective practice tool for improving your range forming skills?
    As an aside, how do you figure ranges? Visually, graphically, matrices, percentages or even intuitively by feel. In other words, could you describe how you keep your range forming thoughts organized as the range pares down over streets.
    Playing live . . . thanks alot Bin Laden.

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