In poker, Heads-Up is a game of two players. The moment when only two players remain at the final table of an event is filled with a special atmosphere and requires players to have special skills and a keen sense of humour.

Each poker tournament ends with the final game, it is called Heads-Up. This stage is considered a real duel for the best, only a small part of all the participants of the event reach the final. In Heads-Up, the main pot of the tournament is at stake and the fate of the prize money is decided. There are now separate tournaments dedicated to this format.

All poker players who prefer tournament competitions dream of reaching the final and winning at the decisive table. And every time they intensively prepare for Heads-Up, imagine the intensity of passions when a whole event is held one on one.

Heads-up poker tournaments


To date, tournaments are held in the Heads-up mode, and it is no longer perceived by the players as something unusual. Now such poker is a separate direction of the game with classic rules, but with its original specifics. It can be played both live and in numerous online poker rooms.

The game in this format may have differences in several main criteria: it may or may not have an ante – a certain contribution for all participants, which is made before the issuance of starting hands, forming the bank of the game; it differ in limits and periods of increasing blind bets – blinds; Also, in heads-pas poker, the sizes of the stacks of participants can be defined differently.

Professionals are sure that the main thing in this format of poker is the knowledge and accounting of statistics that are specific to playing heads-up. Let’s take a look at the data – almost every third starting hand is folded by participants at the flop stage, from ten to thirteen percent of all played combinations are draw hands, promising (by the standards of classic poker) hands, which have a high probability of winning the pot of the game, heads-uppers are half as much, which means that each of them becomes much more valuable.

How Heads-Up Poker is played

Generally, if you’ve already mastered classic poker, there shouldn’t be any problem with the rules for Heads-Up. There are just a few things to keep in mind, as we’ll discuss below.
Heads-up tournaments are based on no-limit poker, as the limit version would introduce unnecessary complexity into the event.
The Heads-Up game starts according to the usual scheme – participants pay an ante (if it is provided by the event), receive an equal number of chips – their initial stack and the game is played until the entire bank of the game is won by one participant.
In cash versions of heads-up poker, players have the opportunity to enter the game (join the table) with a larger or smaller stack in their hands relative to other participants. Players can subsequently buy the required number of chips.

Heads-Up – the subtleties of the strategy

The ability to win hands-up tournaments is considered a high-level skill in the poker world. Since the rather fast pace of the tournaments and the specific, almost “dueling” environment, make the players accumulate all their knowledge, skills and intuition.
In addition, the most important role here is played not by the most accurate mathematical calculation, but rather by talent or skill – to clearly “see” your opponent and quickly respond to the current situation at the table. When playing Hands-up, you need to be able not only to restrain your emotions, as professionals say – to fight tilt, but also try to unbalance your opponent.
Such tournaments are held individually and based on the basic rules of the classic game, opponents choose their own strategy of game behavior. But we repeat once again – the duel format obliges poker players to be aggressive, as attentive as possible to their own and other people’s emotions.
Playing poker head-to-head greatly devalues ​​the importance of outs, participants practically do not consider such an indicator as pot odds. The main, or even the only task of a poker player in heads-up is to understand his opponent, find his weak side and use it to your advantage.
In Heads-Up there is no division into near and far positions – there is only the button (dealer) and the blind. Participants in such tournaments play the most daring and aggressive game, introducing almost every starting hand into the draw, and this is very different from the format of poker with long tables, so to speak, or multi-table events.

Heads-Up poker – tips from professionals

Let’s find out what the professionals advise for those who want to master Heads-Up poker and start practising this special format.
The participant must be psychologically stronger than his opponent – showing game aggression, provoking the opponent to tilt and suppressing him with his confidence and bold decisions.
Look for the weaknesses of the opponent, you need to make him make mistakes during the game, remember that heads-up tournaments take place in a very dynamic rhythm. Don’t give the enemy time to think.
You must be as focused as possible on what is happening. Absolute attention to all circumstances is one of the main rules of the one-on-one game.
Forget about using bluff – in Heads-Up poker, the chances are too high that the flop and its three community cards will not give players any hints, and sometimes there is no time and sense to wait in this format for a potential gain.
Develop that Poker Face – stamina and nerves of steel is a must for Heads-Up Poker tournaments. No one and nothing should get you emotional – neither negative or positive. Emotionally unstable players simply can’t conquer this format.
Heads-up in poker is a format for aggressive and active players who are able to turn 100% of their attention to their opponent.

Where to play online?


Heads-up online is presented in several formats:

  • cash: the most commonly available game for money is Hold’em and Omaha;
  • SnG: short tournaments for two people, in the winner take all format (winner takes all). Initially, both players have 50-75 blinds in their stacks, but every 1-3 minutes the blinds increase;
  • spins: in some poker rooms, such as Pokerdom, you can play heads-up in the Spin & Go format. The minimum possible multiplier is 1.5 buy-ins.

Recently, the discipline of heads up has become less and less popular. In this regard, HU MTTs and expensive tables for 1vs1 fans are disappearing from poker room lobbies. But in one of the oldest poker rooms in Europe, PartyPoker, you can still find heads-up action.

In this room you can find head-to-head NLH, PLO cash games from $0.01/$0.02 to $50/$100 and even fixed-limit! There is also a Heads-Up SNG with buy-ins from $1 to $1,000 in Turbo and Hyper Turbo formats.

In this poker room, it is most profitable to register from GipsyTeam! All our players receive several gifts at once:

  • doubling the first deposit;
  • $30 tickets to Spins and MTT;
  • increased rakeback;
  • free PartyCaption;
  • exclusive rakeback ;
  • GTP points (GipsyTeam Points), which are awarded for playing at PartyPoker. They can be spent in the GT store for poker software, books and GipsyTeam merchandise!

In addition, only GipsyTeam registered players can participate in the Fishing Promotion at PartyPoker. This is a festival of freerolls, draws and rake races that takes place several times a year. The promotion runs for a month, and at the end of each week there is a freeroll with a prize pool of $1,000, and at the end of the whole month – the main tournament for $5,000! And there are several tens of thousands of dollars in total in the various leaderboards and rake races in Fishing!


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Kristaps is an expert in the field of online casinos. Since the age of 20, he has been interested in casino games; poker and blackjack are his favorites. Thanks to his studies and work experience, he has found himself a gambling critic and analyst. He likes to share his own authentic experience with the audience, so his articles are very informative. Kristaps' lifelong dream is to participate in a poker tournament in Las Vegas.



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