Strategy with Sushi: Part VI – How to Play Heads Up Like a Pro

Poker-Strategy-Aditya-SushantOnlinePokerNews (OPN) presents an exclusive column of poker strategies with Adda52 Team Spades pro Aditya Sushant in which he’ll share his views on several strategy questions. With over 5 years of experience at live as well as online poker games, Aditya is one of the most successful professional poker players in India. In this weekly strategy column, he will share his thoughts on a number of poker strategy topics and give a detailed insight of this game of skill.

Play cash games, Sit n Go or tournaments, you’ll be up against a single opponent if you overcome the whole table/field and that’s when you collect all your poker learning to beat that person and come out with flying colors. Heads up poker is the raw form of the game in which we have a single opponent to play against. When we reach the heads up stage, many strategies change, we get hyper-aggressive and put all efforts to take the villain down. In the 6th chapter of “Strategy With Sushi”, Aditya Sushant talks about how to play heads up like a pro.

Q1. How the heads up game is different than regular ring game/tournament?

Sushi – Heads up game is purest form of poker. It’s mano-e-mano. You’re forced to play a more aggressive strategy and tilt control is critical because there could be big swings.

Q2. How should one play marginal hands in heads-up out of position?

Sushi – Nature of the game dictates you play a lot of marginal hands you never would in a ring game. Just have to play bit tighter out of position and more aggressively in position.

Q3. Heads-up brings out the aggressive you. How should play one play aggressively yet in a calculated manner?

Sushi – One should be aware of player tendencies. If you play with same person long enough, you build up history and pick up information on him. This can be crucial in some spots where you’re able to fold good hands knowing you’re beat.

Q4. How check-raise becomes a crucial strategy in heads-up play?

Sushi – Check raise can be a crucial tool in heads up play. But like anything else, it should not be overdone as opponent will catch onto it and use a counter strategy.

Q5. How even the weakest hole cards like 7-2 off don’t remain the same in heads-up?

Sushi – In heads up, 7-2 is not the worst hand. 3-2 is. High card value is very important in heads up. I still don’t recommend getting fancy with 7-2, however.

Q6. When you’re in the heads-up of a big tournament, say main event, how one should control his emotions and shoot for the title?

Sushi – One should not think about the money in play. Chips should be viewed as just betting tools and the focus should be on beating the opponent and nothing else. With practice, this becomes secondary to many players.

Strategy with Sushi’ is an attempt to help the amateur poker players to understand his poker path. We start with elementary poker questions and gradually tread the unchartered territory. If you have a question to ask or a topic to discuss then email us at and we will surely take it up with the Pro.

For other articles in the Strategy with Sushi click below: 

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V