22August2017

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Playing heads up as a big stack in a tournament

If you are heads up, and you have a much larger stack, you have a good chance of winning if you play correctly. However, too many players alter their style of play incorrectly because they think that they can either bully their way to the win or play passively until they get the right hand. In reality, both are wrong.

In heads up play (in a tournament) stack size dictates how you play. Your opponent (if they know what they are doing) should start to shove to force the play, and you should be in the right position to counter it. All you need to do is obviously make the call or re-raise if you have a hand you think is good enough to take the short stack out or wait until you can force the play.

If you are playing against a small stack, and you start to force the play, they are limited to two choices; all in or fold. Every time they lose their big blind it is doing real damage to their total. The larger stack should be dictating the way the hands are being played and not the small stack.

If you are playing against a small stack, it is important that you do not try to find that monster hand to win it with. The reason for this is simple. During this time, your stack will be decreasing as your opponents increases. This means that in a very short space of time your opponent could be in a position to do real damage to your stack. Remember, if you are playing heads up, marginal hands become relative monsters.

It is a fact that if you have just one picture card (even if it is J-2) you will have a better pre-flop hand (based on percentages) than your opponent more than 50% of the time.

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