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 02-04-2019, 07:58 PM #1 Poker Hat newbie   Join Date: Jan 2019 Posts: 42 Good or Bad HU strategy? HU is complicated. I've found a way around it that seems to work...at least for me. My strategy attempts to take advantage of face cards and aces being the minority cards in the deck. 16 face cards and aces 36 of all other cards Because of this, if you are dealt an ace or a face card (Or a pair), approximately 66% of the time you have the better hand. What I did was take two face up cards and try to guess if their better or worse than the face down cards. If they contain a face card or an ace (Or a pair), I guess they're better; if not, I guess they're worse. I take the correct guesses and put them in a pile. The wrong guesses go in another pile. I've done this with approximately 100 decks. The most hands I've guessed incorrect in a single deck is 6, but only one time. Twice I guessed incorrectly 5 times and there's been hand-fulls of times where I missed 1,2,3 or 4. It's usually 9 hands correct and 4 hands wrong, or 10 and 3. Rarely 11 and 2. Rarely 12 and 1. Never 13 and 0. If the hands are real close, I use a chart to see which hand actually has a better chance of winning. Sometimes it's only 1% difference; still, it's a better hand. Sometimes they tie. I don't count those as incorrect. Every time I do this, the number of correct guesses is greater than the incorrect. Reason being is that when a single card is dealt, the odds of it being an ace or a face card is 3.25:1. Those aren't very good odds. If three cards are dealt, one of them will not be a face card or an ace on the average. On the fourth card, it becomes more likely. If you happen to be the guy who gets one, you usually have the better hand. Not always, but usually. There's gonna be those infrequent times where multiple aces and face cards are dealt. So, if you could look at your cards and guess with approximately 70% accuracy as to who has the best hand, do you think that would be a valuable piece of information for playing HU? I would think so. Based on all that, here's the strategy. I assume I'm not the only person doing this. In the SB, if I have a face card or an ace I raise 3x or more. If I don't, I fold. In the BB, if I have a face card or an ace I raise 3x or more. If I don't, I check to a call and fold to a raise. The idea is to always be the aggressor when you have a face card or ace. The goal is not to take a hand like Q 6 all the way to the river for a showdown. All you're trying to do is bother your opponent and get him to fold his blind. He will be folding cards that are not only worse than yours but often better than yours. If you raise with J 5, will someone call with Q 6? Probably not. After awhile, he'll have enough of your crap and stop believing you actually have raise worth cards that often. He'll eventually raise at a time when you happen to have a premium hand like KK or AK. It's at those moments when you'll take those chips, double up or win the match. If you constantly poke the bear, the bear gets mad. Sometimes the bear wins: usually not. Since I started doing this, HU has become much more simple and far less intimidating. I'm no longer unsure of what to do. I'm not being pressured because I'm the bully and I know how to face a raise. I have a clear cut method for winning that works about 7 of 10 times. Occasionally I get pounded down to a short stack, only to come all the way back and win.
 02-05-2019, 06:28 AM #2 Iblis adept     Join Date: May 2016 Location: Rome Posts: 956 Re: Good or Bad HU strategy? I hope you used an equity calculator and did not manually run 100 actual decks.
02-05-2019, 01:25 PM   #3
Poker Hat
newbie

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 42
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Iblis I hope you used an equity calculator and did not manually run 100 actual decks.
Why?

02-05-2019, 03:45 PM   #4
ArtyMcFly
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Enchantment Under the Sea
Posts: 11,739
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat In the SB, if I have a face card or an ace I raise 3x or more. If I don't, I fold.
And what frequency do you end up playing the hand with this strategy?
Assuming you're also playing any pair, then the range [22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q2s+, J2s+, A2o+, K2o+, Q2o+, J2o+] is 56.56% of hands.

I think you're likely playing much too tight on the BTN. As a default, many players open 85% of hands on the BTN heads up. Vs players that fold too often, they go to 100%.
Your strategy would result in folding hands like T9s, wouldn't it? I would much rather open that than Q2o, but in HU NLH 100bb, both those hands are very standard button opens, as are 76o and 62s.

 02-05-2019, 04:36 PM #5 statmanhal Pooh-Bah   Join Date: Jan 2009 Posts: 4,345 Re: Good or Bad HU strategy? +1 ^ (I also assumed OP meant to include pairs as part of the strategy and I was going to use T9s vs J2o. Also I think OP has several wrong numbers but that is of little consequence.)
02-05-2019, 05:15 PM   #6
ohly
Pooh-Bah

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Berlin
Posts: 3,669
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat HU is complicated. I've found a way around it that seems to work...at least for me. My strategy attempts to take advantage of face cards and aces being the minority cards in the deck. 16 face cards and aces 36 of all other cards
from a theoretical standpoint, this is a very arbitrary cutoff. the game wouldn't play any differnetly if the face cards had numbers instead. i am sorry but i don't think your effort resulted in something valuable this time. due to the advancement in modern poker there are just far superior indicators to decide which hands to play.

02-06-2019, 08:22 AM   #7
Poker Hat
newbie

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 42
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly And what frequency do you end up playing the hand with this strategy?
About 30% of my hands see a flop. It's higher when I'm getting raised from the SB a lot.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly Assuming you're also playing any pair, then the range [22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q2s+, J2s+, A2o+, K2o+, Q2o+, J2o+] is 56.56% of hands.
That does not mean that over half of the cards dealt while playing HU will be face cards or aces.

If four cards are dealt, how common is it for two of them to be a face card or ace?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly I think you're likely playing much too tight on the BTN. As a default, many players open 85% of hands on the BTN heads up. Vs players that fold too often, they go to 100%.
I feel like I'm raising all the time. I admit, there is a lot of folding from the SB and I rarely just call and hope he checks. It's either raise or fold the SB most of the time.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly Your strategy would result in folding hands like T9s, wouldn't it? I would much rather open that than Q2o, but in HU NLH 100bb, both those hands are very standard button opens, as are 76o and 62s.
T9s is a good, but your opponents hand will be better the majority of the time. How often does it improve after the flop to beat a hand like J 5?

02-06-2019, 08:27 AM   #8
Poker Hat
newbie

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 42
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ohly from a theoretical standpoint, this is a very arbitrary cutoff. the game wouldn't play any differnetly if the face cards had numbers instead. i am sorry but i don't think your effort resulted in something valuable this time. due to the advancement in modern poker there are just far superior indicators to decide which hands to play.
What if i told you that you could look at your cards and guess with about 70% accuracy if your cards are stronger or weaker than your opponents? Do you think that would help you or hurt you?

02-06-2019, 12:55 PM   #9
Vanhaomena
old hand

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,819
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat T9s is a good, but your opponents hand will be better the majority of the time. How often does it improve after the flop to beat a hand like J 5?
Around 70% of the time the J5 flops nothing and c/folds

02-06-2019, 03:29 PM   #10
ArtyMcFly
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Enchantment Under the Sea
Posts: 11,739
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat If four cards are dealt, how common is it for two of them to be a face card or ace?
It's not necessary to know the answer to that question, but if you are playing with a fair deck, then the chance you get dealt a hand that is Ax, Kx, Qx, Jx or better (a pocket pair) is 56.56% as I said.
If you only open that range, you're leaving money on the table, because you're giving too many walks to villain (who has a 100% range, including 72o and 32o).
If you defend with that same range, you're calling with some hands that have a negative expectation (J2o does not play well OOP), and folding hands that actually play pretty well vs a typical opponent. T9s, for example, is commonly a 3-bet in BBvSB heads up.
Your strat is easy to remember, but it's very exploitable, and wouldn't beat the strat of a bad reg.

You'd do much better if you just searched google, or loaded an app on your mobile phone that gives you a standard BTN/SB range and a standard BB defending strat. I could post some basic HU charts here that could be used to destroy your current strat even if I didn't deviate from them.

02-07-2019, 07:19 PM   #11
Poker Hat
newbie

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 42
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly If you only open that range, you're leaving money on the table, because you're giving too many walks to villain (who has a 100% range, including 72o and 32o).
But how many walks are you actually giving if approximately 70% of the time your hand is better? Aren't you folding mostly losing cards?

I see you point about raising with suited connectors and suited one gappers though. I probably should include that in my range.

What I'm not going to include in my range is cards that are mostly losing against my opponents hand. Fold them in the SB and check in the BB. Fold to a raise in BB.

02-08-2019, 08:09 AM   #12
just_grindin
Pooh-Bah

Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,756
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat But how many walks are you actually giving if approximately 70% of the time your hand is better? Aren't you folding mostly losing cards? I see you point about raising with suited connectors and suited one gappers though. I probably should include that in my range. What I'm not going to include in my range is cards that are mostly losing against my opponents hand. Fold them in the SB and check in the BB. Fold to a raise in BB.
I don't think "losing" means what in think it means in poker.

Having less equity than your opponent but still playing your hand happens all the time in poker.

02-08-2019, 11:49 AM   #13
ArtyMcFly
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Enchantment Under the Sea
Posts: 11,739
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat But how many walks are you actually giving if approximately 70% of the time your hand is better? Aren't you folding mostly losing cards?
If you're only going to play when you probably have the best hand, you're going to be giving a LOT of walks. (Those small blinds you are forced to pay quickly add up).
It's actually profitable to play around 90% of hands on the button heads up. You can raise 65s or 94s and although you're not likely to have the best hand pre-flop, villain is still folding to the raise about 50% of the time (so you pick up the blinds with no variance), and you can still make the best hand post-flop. Or you can bluff successfully. Being in position means you do a lot better than your raw equity indicates.

Besides, why would you limit yourself to only playing when you have a big edge? There's money to be made even if you just play the hands that have 50%+ equity. Q5o, J6s, 98s and even T9o have more than 50% equity vs ATC.

[22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q2s+, J6s+, T7s+, 98s, A2o+, K2o+, Q5o+, J8o+, T9o] is 49.32% of hands, and every hand in that range is a favourite vs ATC.
When you factor in the EV of stealing, the playable range is MUCH wider.

02-08-2019, 12:09 PM   #14
BornToRun
veteran

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,884
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat HU is complicated. I've found a way around it that seems to work...at least for me. My strategy attempts to take advantage of face cards and aces being the minority cards in the deck. 16 face cards and aces 36 of all other cards Because of this, if you are dealt an ace or a face card (Or a pair), approximately 66% of the time you have the better hand. What I did was take two face up cards and try to guess if their better or worse than the face down cards. If they contain a face card or an ace (Or a pair), I guess they're better; if not, I guess they're worse. I take the correct guesses and put them in a pile. The wrong guesses go in another pile. I've done this with approximately 100 decks. The most hands I've guessed incorrect in a single deck is 6, but only one time. Twice I guessed incorrectly 5 times and there's been hand-fulls of times where I missed 1,2,3 or 4. It's usually 9 hands correct and 4 hands wrong, or 10 and 3. Rarely 11 and 2. Rarely 12 and 1. Never 13 and 0. If the hands are real close, I use a chart to see which hand actually has a better chance of winning. Sometimes it's only 1% difference; still, it's a better hand. Sometimes they tie. I don't count those as incorrect. Every time I do this, the number of correct guesses is greater than the incorrect. Reason being is that when a single card is dealt, the odds of it being an ace or a face card is 3.25:1. Those aren't very good odds. If three cards are dealt, one of them will not be a face card or an ace on the average. On the fourth card, it becomes more likely. If you happen to be the guy who gets one, you usually have the better hand. Not always, but usually. There's gonna be those infrequent times where multiple aces and face cards are dealt. So, if you could look at your cards and guess with approximately 70% accuracy as to who has the best hand, do you think that would be a valuable piece of information for playing HU? I would think so. Based on all that, here's the strategy. I assume I'm not the only person doing this. In the SB, if I have a face card or an ace I raise 3x or more. If I don't, I fold. In the BB, if I have a face card or an ace I raise 3x or more. If I don't, I check to a call and fold to a raise. The idea is to always be the aggressor when you have a face card or ace. The goal is not to take a hand like Q 6 all the way to the river for a showdown. All you're trying to do is bother your opponent and get him to fold his blind. He will be folding cards that are not only worse than yours but often better than yours. If you raise with J 5, will someone call with Q 6? Probably not. After awhile, he'll have enough of your crap and stop believing you actually have raise worth cards that often. He'll eventually raise at a time when you happen to have a premium hand like KK or AK. It's at those moments when you'll take those chips, double up or win the match. If you constantly poke the bear, the bear gets mad. Sometimes the bear wins: usually not. Since I started doing this, HU has become much more simple and far less intimidating. I'm no longer unsure of what to do. I'm not being pressured because I'm the bully and I know how to face a raise. I have a clear cut method for winning that works about 7 of 10 times. Occasionally I get pounded down to a short stack, only to come all the way back and win.
This could revolutionise the game.

02-08-2019, 03:53 PM   #15
Poker Hat
newbie

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 42
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly If you're only going to play when you probably have the best hand, you're going to be giving a LOT of walks. (Those small blinds you are forced to pay quickly add up). It's actually profitable to play around 90% of hands on the button heads up. You can raise 65s or 94s and although you're not likely to have the best hand pre-flop, villain is still folding to the raise about 50% of the time (so you pick up the blinds with no variance), and you can still make the best hand post-flop. Or you can bluff successfully. Being in position means you do a lot better than your raw equity indicates. Besides, why would you limit yourself to only playing when you have a big edge? There's money to be made even if you just play the hands that have 50%+ equity. Q5o, J6s, 98s and even T9o have more than 50% equity vs ATC. [22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q2s+, J6s+, T7s+, 98s, A2o+, K2o+, Q5o+, J8o+, T9o] is 49.32% of hands, and every hand in that range is a favourite vs ATC. When you factor in the EV of stealing, the playable range is MUCH wider.
Okay, I understand now. I was thinking that most people have no idea who has the better hand unless they have broadway cards or a strong ace. So I got kinda surprised when I found out that I could guess with approximately 70% accuracy who has the better hand. That seemed like something I should be able to take advantage of. I've always known that I could win pots with bad / worse hands, but bad hands don't always have -EV.....which technically doesn't make them bad hands anymore.

02-08-2019, 03:54 PM   #16
Poker Hat
newbie

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 42
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by BornToRun This could revolutionise the game.
I was asking if it's a good or bad strategy. Not claiming to be an expert or anything.

My results with this strategy have been remarkable, so I needed an opinion.

02-08-2019, 07:08 PM   #17
RustyBrooks
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 24,221
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat \I was thinking that most people have no idea who has the better hand unless they have broadway cards or a strong ace.
From your methodology and your comments, I think you're probably somewhat unaware of the state of the art when it comes to available poker tools. For example equity calculators have been around for at least 15 years, probably quite a bit more, and these make it very easy to find out how a given hand does against a random hand, or even a specified range.

But also as far as building a strategy goes, even heads up, raw equity does not really make for a good strategy on it's own. Hands have playability that varies from their real equity, and this matters a lot since it's rare to get a lot of money in preflop.

It is an important observation in most forms of poker that I've played, that the playability of hands changes a lot as you get short-handed and then down to heads up. In full ring games that usually play with multiway flops, it's more important to develop a strong hand, so some speculative hands have more value. In heads up play, high card type hands and single pairs have more value because you only have to beat a single opponent. I have definitely played with people who, when the game starts to get short, are still playing "full ring ranges" and don't understand why I'm running them over with hands they think are trash (like in holdem, Ax/Kx/Qx with crappy kickers)

Headsup also has a huge amount of adjustment to it. I never played much HU holdem, but I played a lot of HU plo and plo8 and I had a set range that was extremely aggressive. I would start by raising pretty much every button and a LOT of times in the BB. If the player didn't adjust, I'd keep doing it and chip away at them. If they did then I'd have to re-evaluate.

02-09-2019, 10:05 AM   #18
Iblis
adept

Join Date: May 2016
Location: Rome
Posts: 956
Re: Good or Bad HU strategy?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Poker Hat Why?
Less time consuming, I guess.

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