Showing posts with label heads up. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heads up. Show all posts

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Strategy to finish off an opponent in Heads-Up (1-on-1) Poker

You see, when you have a big chip lead in heads-up
action, the first secret is YOU MUST ATTACK.

To get a perspective on this, think about how you
play when you're the SHORT STACK...

You're prepared to go all-in as soon as possible,

Well, you must use this to your ADVANTAGE when
you're the big stack, and PUT YOUR OPPONENT ALL-IN
right away... rather than the other way around.

When you have a big chip lead, YOU must be the one
to create "coin-toss" situations... and fast.

A coin-toss situation is when both players have
virtually equal odds... and the winning hand is
determined by whatever the flop, turn, and river
cards are.

In heads-up poker, any starting hand with a FACE
CARD is playable. Or any pocket pair. It's that

If you've got a big chip lead on your opponent and
he CHECKS or LIMPS-IN (calls the blinds), then you
should IMMEDIATELY put him all-in.

He wouldn't be checking or limping-in if he had

If he folds, you've stolen the blinds from him,
which is crucial. If he calls, you've created a
"coin-toss" situation.

Odds are you'll win at least one out of every two
coin toss situations. Or at the very least, you'll
win one out of three.

Push or Fold:

Ax  Kx
Qx  Jx
T8  T7s

(103/169 = 60.95%)

Here's a basic summary of the "rules" you should
follow when playing heads-up poker with a huge
chip lead. When I say "huge", I'm talking about
10 to 1 or more...

And that's the exact moment when you MUST PULL THE

If you don't, the chip stacks can quickly even out
again and you may lose your chance forever.

Anyway... here are the RULES you should follow with a huge chip lead (10 to 1 or more):

1. Any starting hand with a face card or any pocket
pair is good.

2. You should either FOLD or go ALL-IN every time.
Nothing else.

3. Force COIN-TOSS situations... In other words,
leverage the 50/50 ODDS as much as possible. Do
this two or three times and you will almost always
win the match.

4. If you're playing against a tight player, it
will be even easier. Keep going all-in on just
about every hand and let the blinds eat him to

Read and re-read those four principles and you'll
be prepared the next time you make it to a
heads-up match.

Push or Fold:

Ax  Kx
Qx  Jx
T8  T7s

(103/169 = 60.95%)

50/50 ODDS means:

Ax  Kx
Q5  Qxs
J7  J5s
T8  T7s

(91/169 = 53.85%)

> 50% odds are:

Ax  Kx
Q6  Q3s
J8   J6s
T9  T7s

(86/169 = 51% of hands)

Loose Aggressive Unpredictable





The three cornerstones that must be part of your game. You must play:

Loose – Always pre-flop and usually post-flop against the majority of opponents.
Aggressively – You need to play with frequent (but not mindless) aggression.
Unpredictably – Against all but the very worst opponents.

Get these three things right and you have the core of a good heads-up game.


Monday, November 3, 2014

"The Brain"


"Texas Hold ‘Em Heads Up Poker" machine play the limit version of the most popular poker game around.  The casino owners obviously think that no human opponent could be able to defeat "The Brain" on a regular basis.   However, the manufacturer estimated that only 100 around the world will be able to beat it on a regular basis.  But that remain to be seen.  Some accomplished world class poker players and poker theorists think otherwise. 

I’ve seen about 10 different [heads-up] pros playing the bot, all with their own special strategy which they are convinced is the one that beats the bot. I feel less than 95 percent certain that they are all losing players against it, and at least one of their assumptions has always been wrong. I feel after 100 hours of play against it I can break even against it. I think I’d rather play craps, though.”  ---  Anthony Rivera, high-stakes limit pro and World Series of Poker bracelet winner

You vs "The Brain"

Non adapting strategy "artificial neural network" 

"Texas Hold ‘Em Heads Up Poker" machine was originally designed by Dahl to learn while playing and adjust his strategy to the opposition. If, for example, an opponent folded a lot, it played aggressively; if it faced aggressive play, it tried to trapHowever casino commissions mandate that a gaming machine cannot change its playing style in response to particular opponents. 

Playing a fixed strategy, "The Brain" isn't able to change its tactics to take advantage of the bad play of a novice player. A skilled human poker player or a computer algorithm with opponent modeling capability should expect to win at a higher rate than this game against especially weak opponents.  So the poker game must play a World Series of Poker champion the same way it does a neophyte.  Nonetheless an unskilled player will lose more against "The Brain" than a skilled player. 

Perfectly defensive game

What seem to be a disadvantage turned into a huge advantage. Due to the fact that in theory a non adapting strategy could be unbeatable.  If its play away from its approximation of game theoretic optimal strategy to take advantage of opponent mistakes, then it itself is playing less optimally and may be counter-exploited.
With that being said, since the machine bot needs to be stable and can't figure out weaknesses in the opponent and find ways to exploit those weaknesses.  So instead, the effort were put on defense. The basic idea behind its play technique is "to prevent itself from being exploited." "The theory behind it is almost paranoid."  So that it would teach itself to play a perfectly defensive game. Rather than steer it to study its opponent and try to capitalize on weaknesses, the net was directed to make itself as hard to beat as possible.

"If it "adapted" it would open itself up for explotation. In theory a non adapting strategy could be unbeatable. I played it for a few minutes and it was quite aggressive and tricky. It even check raised bluffed the river once. At first glance it appears to me that only very good players will beat it, they won't beat it for too much, and that the correct strategy to beat it is a bit different than against typical humans." -- David Sklansky, respected poker author and mathematician

Texas Hold ‘Em Heads Up Poker "The Brain" strategy

Hyper-LAG / maniac
+ Raise almost every time from the Button
+ Raise called button from over 75% of the time from the BB.
... Sometime 3-bet weak hands like T5off (negligible)
... Occasionally fold on the Button or when raised in the BB (negligible)
- Fold more hands from the SB on most streets than from the BB

Very LAG
+ Routinely raise with middle pair and a weak kicker
+ Call most of the time a check-raise+ Rarely 3-bet the flop with weak overcard, no straight, flush or backdoor possibilities
+ Often fold to a bet if a high card comes on the flop
+ But he will bet the high card on the flop
+ Most likely to fold on the flop

Tightens up
+ Check-call with middle pair and weak kicker
+ Check the turn most of the time 

+ Call with a piece of the board
+ Call down with Ace high unless the board is scary
+ Likely to call with King high
+ Sometimes call down with weaker hands (J high) on a bimodal (monster or miss) board.  Like a pair on the board.

+ Reasonable adjustment to what the opponent might hold based on the board.
+ Seem to play top pair / top kicker more slowly on board with flushes and straights possible
+ Seem to play high card / no pair more aggressively on paired flops.  Check-raise bluff
+ More likely to check-raise if opponent put the last bet on the previous street.
+ Doesn't fold too often.

Why is "The Brain" so good?

a) Defense. The basic idea behind its play technique is to do everything it can "to prevent itself from being exploited".  "The theory behind it is almost paranoid," 

b) Unpredictable. The pokerbot use knowledge gained from billions of staged rounds of poker fed through neural networks, and the result is an unpredictable poker player that can win almost every time.  Three different banks of knowledge are used depending on the gameplay scenario, but the basic idea behind its play technique is, as I said above,  "to prevent itself from being exploited." "The theory behind it is almost paranoid." So "The Brain" unpredictibility and three different game plays are part of his perfectly defensive game. 
Here are his 3 tag-team fighters alternating against an opponent.
    * The first is a neural net with optimal number of bluffs and can do anything in anyone hand.
    *The second play a slightly different style.
    *The third come into play when the opponent has a reduced stack.

Aggression level might change at random moment

c) Aggression.  "The Brain" is the aggressor. Almost never check-calls or simply matches an opponent's bet without a raise. But give credit to your hand when you raise and reraise.  Far too aggressive and steals far too many pots to get beat on a regular basis.

Originally published in:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Sit and Go

Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Sit and Go (HUSNG)


We also like the high win rates that are possible and how quickly your bankroll can grow playing heads up sngs. With a bankroll of 20 buy-ins, and a win rate of 60%, your bankroll doubles every one hundred tournaments. This means that you move up a level every hundred tournaments as long as you are strong enough to win 60% of your matches, and a strong player can move up very quickly. Starting with a $200 bankroll and doubling it every hundred tournaments, you will have enough money in your bankroll to play heads up sit and gos for a living at the $150 buy-in level after just 400 tournaments. A good player at this level makes well over $50 per hour!

You should not just be limping a lot more, because by raising with most of your hands, you will be putting extra pressure on your opponent and increasing the chances that you will win the blinds and antes. In a typical hu sng tournament, you should be:
  • Open raising or limping nearly all of your buttons;
  • Raising any face card;
  • Raising with any pair;
  • Calling with nearly everything else;
  • Re-raising with premium hands and medium pairs.

HUSNG grinder

Best HUSNG players