Knowing how to heads up bet is extremely important to your success as a poker player. The ability to do so differs greatly for cash games and tournaments, but you still need to be taking a look at what your opponent has to offer and what it means for you as a player. In the event you are left with no option, you will need to take the time to think things through carefully before making your move.
As a general rule of thumb, the later your position, the better off you are. If you are in the first few spots at the table, you are in an advantage over your opponents as there are fewer players behind you. Being in the last few spots is pretty much the worst place to be in poker. Behind many of the players at the table you are risking being raised by them, or worse, re-raised, which puts you back into a pot that you didn’t even begin with. Being in early position at the table is always a bad place to be.
Not only because you have no information on any of the others, but you also have to worry about being re-raised by someone. This is the number one reason why you want to keep your opponent in the fold, or out of the pot. They don’t want to give away any information with a raise so they will only raise with the best hands. The last thing you want to do with a raise is to encourage players to call with a wide range of hands.
So when is it a good time to make a raise? It’s best to do this with suited cards close to your hand, like ace Queen, ace Jack suited, and King Queen suited. These cards give you what is known as monster hipsters. If someone calls you here, you are probably not going to get a call on the flop. Champion poker players know that these types of hands win hands down in the end, so don’t be afraid to raise with these hands.
Another advantage of getting dealt ace queens and king queens is that they are queens and also cards that have a lot of flush potential. If you happen to hit a queen on the flop you can get a queen on the turn and maybe even a queen on the river if your opponents check to you. Similar to ace king, if you are not suited, these cards are best played in a wide range of situations, and suited cards are best used to make a big hand.
Suited connector cards are more powerful than most people think. The fact is, ace connectors can win hands down in the end when you draw out on somebody, and people are reluctant to raise with connectors because of the worry that they are drawing too much of their stack to a worse hand. The fact is, ace connectors are one of the best hands you can draw. The only problem is, other players know that too and will call you pre-flop raises even with weak hands, as long as you don’t make too much of a risky play and essentially become predictable.
For example, you are in the small blind and have pocket 7’s. It is folded around, so you make a three times the big blind raise. The player in the big blind makes the call. To your surprise, the small blind calls! He could have a pocket pair of queens or aces. What a weird play! Since he called your raise, you can assume that he has a hand that can beat yours. Since he called the big blind’s pre-flop raise, you can assume that he doesn’t have a high pocket pair, but rather a middle to middle pocket pair. In addition, the fact that the small blind called your raise gives you some idea that he didn’t have a big pocket pair, but was rather making a small sized bet on the flop.
The fact that other players are opponents to your style of play can sometimes keep you from getting all your chips in with the best hand, King Queen suited is an example of this. This is a hand that I still can’t get over how I played it.
I was sitting there half the half way through the DewaGG, having a good hand (which turned into a monster) and the rest of the table folding. Not a single player indicated that they had any strength behind their hands, not even close. When it got to me on the button, I kind of whimpered at myself, since it was apparent that I was out of position. I tried so desperately to hide the fact that I was struggling to process what I had in my hand. When it comes to retention, I don’t want a multi-way pot, I want a one on one pot, or even a heads up pot. Looking back at it, the poor play cost me more than it should have, since that particular players likely to be holding AK or AQ anyway.