|Posté le: Sam 17 Oct - 11:27 (2009) Sujet du message: Heads Up (part 3)
|The first 20 hands you play in a heads-up tournament are far more crucial than most players realize. This is your period of time to gain information on how your opponent plays, without having to risk too many chips. If you wait until later stages to put him to the test, it’ll cost you in the form of higher blinds and higher risks. You must start testing him now. Later, when the blinds get bigger, you’ll already know what it’s going to take to beat him.
The information you need to gather:
* Figure out his preflop play. What types of starting hands does he play? Does he play everything? Fold on the small blind often? Raise often? What does he do, and what position does he do it in?
* How much does it take to get him to fold weak starting hands pre-flop? 2, 3, 4 times the big blind?
* What types of starting hands does he raise with pre-flop? Big hands only? Weak hands only? Does he mix it up or is there a pattern?
* What does he do when he hits top pair or better on the flop? Does he tend to bet or raise with this hand? Does he slow play? Does he mix it up?
* What does he do when he hits middle or bottom pair on the flop? Does he check, bet, or raise with these hands? Does he flat call your bets? Does he bet when he’s in first position, but flat call when you are?
* Does he call down your bets with gutshot straight draws or ace high? If so, how much does he call in these situations?
* How does he play his monsters? Does he slow play them? Does he bet big with them? Does he mix it up?
* Does he bluff a lot? If so, when does he do it most often?
In the early stage of a tournament, your starting hands mean nothing, stop paying attention to them. The early stage of the tournament is your chance to gain the information it will take to defeat your opponent later. While it’s always nice to have the chip lead early, this is not nearly as important as it is to know how to play when the pots get bigger. Once you’ve gained enough information, getting any lost chips back and winning the tournament will be much easier. Also, by not ‘playing your cards’ early on, your opponent will be confused about how you’re playing, giving you another distinct advantage.
How do you gain all of this information?
For the first few hands, I suggest raising preflop 2 x’s the big blind. If your opponent is willing to fold weak starting hands for only twice the big blind, why risk 3 x’s the chips to accomplish the same thing? If he wakes up with a real hand, you’re likely to lose more chips than necessary. If he calls every time you raise twice the big blind, start trying 3 x’s the big blind. If he consistently calls your raises when you make it three times the big blind, your opponent is either a calling station, or he feels that he’s a good enough player to steal the pot from you later in the hand. You can tell the difference between the two by your opponents post-flop play. If he continues to check & call, he’s a calling station. If he consistently leads out or raises you, you’re playing a more skilled opponent.
You should continue to make smallish sized bets to see what it takes to get your opponent to fold after the flop, turn and river. If he flat calls you after the flop, look at the flop and start thinking about what hands he might be calling you with. Continue to make smallish bets after the turn and river, and see how your opponent reacts. While the blinds are very small, try to see his cards by checking and calling small river bets. If you’re truly committed to learning how your opponent plays, you’ll be making what are typically bad plays, plays that you will not make later in the match. It’s ok, the information you’ll gain now will pay off in the long run. Plus, if your opponent has any skills at all, he’ll think you’re making these stupid plays because you’re a bad player, setting him up to make big mistakes later. Purposely making bad plays may be difficult for you to get used to, but instead of thinking about the fact that you just gave away 80 chips, laugh at the damage the misinformation will cause your opponent later in the tournament. Instead of realizing that your entire focus is on figuring out his game, he will take your skills for granted, putting his guard down and widening the leaks in his game.
Make a mental record of the plays he makes and the hands he played them with. By making a lot of small sized bets, then testing your opponent with slightly larger bets, you can gain the information you need to gain. Now it’s time to use this information against him.