Heads-Up Sit n Go Strategy Articles


Interpreting Small Sample Sizes--Bayesian Estimators 

Interpreting Small Sample Sizes--Bayesian Estimators

It often happens in heads up sit and go that we have to make the most of the limited reads we have. One common situation is that the villain has opened his button some X out of N times. Our HUD says his opening frequency is X/N, but with low N this is of limited to no value. This article describes a method of using population tendencies to get an accurate estimate of a villain’s opening frequency, O, given X and N. With such a frequency we can put the villain on a range of hands. This will lead to better decision making.

The Learning Process and Its Impact On Your Poker Development 

This is an article I originally penned for Pokersavvy Plus in my time working there. I have altered it in some small ways to reflect my current thoughts, though the core themes have been carried through.

Article: The learning Process and its Impact on your Poker Development. (by mjw006)

Given My Results, What Should My Confidence Level Be About My True Winrate? 

A long time ago, this chart started floating around on 2+2:

Heads Up SNG Confidence Chart - Flawed

HokieGreg Answers Your Questions 

As a result of this forum thread, HokieGreg recently sat down and answered your questions.

HokieGreg Answers Your Questions

gar1_od: I'm a micro stakes player and my question is how do you stay motivated to grind after say winning 3 or 4 games in a row? Normally when this happens I kind of get that fear of losing what I've won and feel like I've done enough for the day, when in reality I know volume is the key but can't get past that stumbling block in my head. I really feel this is one of my biggest leaks at the micros and is stopping me from progressing as a player.

22 Flawed Reasonings In HUSNG Poker (Part 2) 

The first half of this article introduced how there are dozens of common flawed ways of thinking about HUSNG poker that are pervasive amongst average midstakes players. In general, they tend to make use of heuristics that end up distracting from an accurate equity calculation at the core of the decision.  We'll now broaden this understanding towards your poker career and out-of-game poker choices, with a few more examples of specific common in-game situations interspersed along the way.

22 Flawed Reasonings in HUSNG Poker 

When I give poker advice, either on the 2+2 strategy forums or privately, I ask players to include the reasoning behind their decisions. After all, the point of asking about a situation is not to learn how to play it if ever occurred exactly the same way, but to figure out the concepts that really matter so that they can be applied to a wide variety of difficult spots. Perhaps most informative is when people give me explanations that are largely irrelevant to the situation, or demonstrate serious flaws in their broader understanding of the game. These are opportunities to produce the "aha!" type moments that can lead to significant improvements.

Interview With German Professional Heads Up SNG Player PlauZee 

RyPac13 recently exchanged emails with PlauZee for the interview below.  PlauZee is a heads up sng poker professional from Germany.  He regularly plays on PokerStars at the $230+ levels under the handle "PlauZee."

For those that don't know much about you: You started playing poker in 2005, but didn't take it seriously until 2007 when you started playing heads up sngs.  Today you've achieved a lot of success, hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits, super nova elite status on PokerStars and a blog with thousands of visitors per month (plauzee.com).   What were some of the most important things that you had to learn to get from where you were back in 2005 to where you are today?

Thanks for the introduction, Ryan.

When I started playing poker in 2005 at the 6 max cash tables, it was pretty easy to make a decent profit at  600NL and 1kNL.  But that was another time, and it became hard to accept that I wasn't able to beat those games anymore after taking a long break and returning.

Interview With Heads Up SNG Pro ShortSharpShock 

ShortSharpShock is a high stakes heads up sng professional.  He recently won the FTOPS Tournament 33: $300 6-max Rebuy event for over $180,000.  He stopped by to answer a few questions for us.

First off, congratulations on the win.  How's the new avatar treating you?

Haha, thanks.  Avatar is great, I think it fits well for me image wise in tournaments.  I think I play a little different than the standard jersey-wearer so I've noticed getting played back at in a few spots where I normally wouldn't.

There was a little drama with one of the other opponents, can you tell us a bit about that?

Heads Up Poker Video Planning Guide 

Heads Up SNG Poker Video Planning Guide (NEW)

Our heads up poker video library has grown and will continue to grow.  This will be an evolving guide to help you sort through our videos and decide what to watch, especially if you're looking for specific types of videos (example: videos against regulars or videos against loose players).

Other Ways To Find Heads Up Poker Videos

Before we get to the actual video list, there are two ways that you can search the site to help find what you are looking for.

1. Master Video List (Click to be taken to that page)


In this heads up sng strategy article, Cog Dissonance outlines a logical thought process for assessing which type of villain we are playing against.  Note: This article is mainly geared towards new and lower stakes heads up poker players.  The content of this article does not always apply to more difficult high stakes thinking opponents that can more easily adjust and manipulate their image and tendencies.


Pre Flop

  • Don’t start the match too aggressively, you want to hear what the villain has to say, not batter him into submission with your aggression.
  • Test your opponent to see how he deals with limps, raises and 3-bets
  • Analyse your opponent’s frequencies: 
  • How often is he raising?
  • How often is he calling your raises?
  • What hand quality does he turn up with for these actions?

Interview with Mientjeuh 

The Name; The name Mientjeuh originates from a friend's cat, which has since been given away.  She lives on a small farm now.  The name carries over to the tables.

Me: How old are you and how did you get started in poker?

Getting the Most Out of Heads Up SNG Coaching 

 I receive a lot of emails and read a lot of forum posts asking how to get the most out of heads up sng coaching.  Personal situations and solutions tend to vary a lot, but being fully aware of your options and new ideas should drastically improve the value you receive from coaching.

Work Ethic

The most important thing you can do to make sure you get the most out of heads up sng coaching, or any other heads up sng training tool, is to have a good work ethic.  Even the best coaches will not provide good value to a player that does not take the time to utilize the information provided to them.  Conversely, a great student that studies hard and asks good questions can often make what is usually a marginally valued coach a great value for them.  

Skates Points: Critical Points of Villain's 3-Betting Behavior 

These are the critical effective stack depths at which your villain makes dramatic adjustments to their preflop ranges when facing a minraise.  A good, balanced player should not have these, but most do.  Before explaining why, I should define them.  There are two:   1) Skates Calling Point (SCP) - This is the effective stack depth at which your villain switches from an all-in or fold strategy to one that incorporates calling.  When facing a minraise at 2BB, your villain can only go all-in or fold.  At 5BB, nearly all villains will either go all-in or fold.  At 10BB, some will mix in calling with some hands.  The effective stack depth where the calling frequency becomes significant is the SCP.  

skilled_sox Hand Breakdown 

Adam recently finished 2nd in the $1,000 WCOOP event for $187,000.  He analyzes some of the hands from the final table below:

PokerStars Game #32632272614: Tournament #200909016, $1000+$50 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XXXIV (17500/35000) - 2009/09/09 5:54:22 PT [2009/09/09 8:54:22 ET]
Table '200909016 130' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: cabbie182 (1030186 in chips)
Seat 2: O0Brian0O (1940228 in chips)
Seat 3: amrasaralond (409130 in chips)
Seat 4: hoodini10 (934209 in chips)
Seat 5: DuckU (1688089 in chips)
Seat 6: Holla10 (1280776 in chips)
Seat 7: skilled_sox (3834827 in chips)
Seat 8: XTheDecanoX (3137342 in chips)
Seat 9: pedmend (1325213 in chips)
cabbie182: posts the ante 4375
O0Brian0O: posts the ante 4375
amrasaralond: posts the ante 4375
hoodini10: posts the ante 4375
DuckU: posts the ante 4375
Holla10: posts the ante 4375
skilled_sox: posts the ante 4375
XTheDecanoX: posts the ante 4375
pedmend: posts the ante 4375
cabbie182: posts small blind 17500

An Interview With Skilled_sox 

Adam is a 23 year old from Boston where he rents a place with a few friends. He started playing poker when he was 14, but didn't take it seriously until the summer of 2007, when he started short stacking 2NL full ring. By the fall he took a $275 roll and started playing the $23 husng turbos on Stars. A year later he had made well over $300,000 in profit, almost exclusively from heads up sngs. He's now earned almost a million dollars from poker lifetime.

Adam is a big sports fan, following basketball, football, baseball and boxing.  He also used to run competitively. He's taken two different years off from school, and is now finishing up his junior year at Boston University. He plans on playing in both the triple draw and heads up events at the WSOP, where he'll be staying with some poker friends in a mansion.  He recently became the first player on PokerStars to reach SupernovaElite status in 2009.  You can find him playing in the PokerStars high stakes heads up sngs under the handle skilled_sox.


Optimizing Growth: Not A Bankroll Article 

The following is a notion that you can find all over the 2+2 Heads Up NL forum.  It is never really questioned by anyone except low stakes players who say "I want to lower my variance" or "I'm gonna wait for a better spot." The forum regulars just shoot them down and say "cEV = $EV", leaving the newbie poster scrambling to find out what that means and to adapt the 2+2 style of thinking.  I am planning to dethrone it.  The concept...

Calling min-3bets preflop 

Often during hand discussions, people’s opinions on whether to call or fold to a min-3bet pre-flop divert depending on who you’re talking to. This short article will answer the question once and for all.

First of all, we have to base our decision on a few basic assumptions:

1) We’re deep stacked: You can’t call a min-3bet pre-flop if you’re 7BB deep for obvious reasons. So I generally only recommend calling when 40BB or deeper, but it’s obviously villain dependant. If he’s been 3betting you 8 out of his 10 last hands when he was OOP, then you should be more willing to call.

2) Our villain has a standard 3betting range: AJ+, TT+, KQ, and some suited connectors

3) For this example, we assume a “min-3bet” is a 2x raise over our button raise, instead of the “standard” 3x raise people usually apply when 3-betting. Eg: I open for 90 chips, and he raises me to 180 chips. We’re now getting 2:1 (33%) pot odds.

Video Conversion: Basic Guide 

A number of people have asked if it’s possible to convert husng.com videos to other file formats, such as .mp4 (Ipod), or other mobile video formats.

In short, yes it is possible, and there are many different converter programs available. Some are free, and others are not. This guide is based on Xilisoft’s Video Converter, because it is one of the easiest to use, and also features a gigantic library of presets saving you time from having to work out individual video/sound settings. The program is quite costly, but any web-savvy people should be able to figure out a “work-around”, just PM me on 2+2 if you need further pointers in the right direction.  Obviously if you use the program to make money out of it (eg: husng.com hosting Ipod videos, you should pay for it).

Anyway, once you have the program downloaded and installed, you’ll be greeted by the following screen:

A Guide to the Networks That Offer Heads Up SNGs 

Update August 2011 - The guide is now out of date.  While many of the descriptions are accurate or close to accurate, significant changes have happened in the industry.  For example, at the time of this update, Full Tilt (previously 2nd largest online poker room) is down and not operating poker games.  PokerStars, is still the largest poker room, but has lowered rake for heads up sngs and has also inserted hyper turbo heads up sngs, a new, faster, shorter stacked structure.

If you are looking for the best rakeback/signup deals for poker rooms that offer heads up sngs, check out our Deals Page.  If you have any questions about which poker room is right for you, or any questions in general about where to sign up, contact us and we will be happy to give you advice.




Bankroll Management 

This article was requested in our forums. I'll do my best to answer any questions anyone has regarding it.

There are a few different factors that need to be considered when managing your bankroll:

What kind of winrate do you expect to have? Do you know you are crushing the games, or are you just trying them out? This is important because a lower winrate will increase the amount of variance you experience, and will also increase your risk of ruin (your risk of busting your roll). Keep in mind that bankroll management guides are usually designed for the highest level you should be playing with your bankroll. Having a huge bankroll doesn't necessarily mean that you should be playing the highest stakes. Bill Gates is rolled for any level of HUSNG, but it still isn't in his best interest to start out playing the $5500s.