Saturday, August 30, 2008

Heads-up Journal

I'm going to try doing something a little different in this space by jotting down thoughts about my heads-up game without necessarily making a point.

The reason for this is simple: I need to do everything I can to improve my heads-up game, and one of the best ways I learn is through writing. I hope these posts are interesting to some readers, but they'll mostly deal with the minutia of my heads-up development.

I've been playing mostly 5/10 heads-up cash games since mid-July (about six weeks now). I dropped about 11 buy-ins when I started, but since then I've rebounded somewhat to win back 15 buy-ins. So I'm about +4 buy-ins overall since I started playing heads-up, which is disappointing to me.

I'm being a bit results-oriented on one hand, but on the other hand, there are many many spots where I've made mistakes, and I get frustrated knowing that I need to learn so much more if I'm going to continue advancing my game.

1. Coaching: I'm looking to hire a coach to help me improve my game. So far I haven't had any luck at all.

I have to call out DeucesCracked for failing to help me find a coach. They supposedly offer coaching, but I haven't gotten anywhere with them. In the two weeks since I first wrote them, they've told me they only have one coach available, ColmsUM, and he isn't answering my e-mails. They should feel ashamed for running their business so poorly. They should at least respond to my e-mails.

I also haven't found a coach through a request on the 2+2 Coaching forum.

So if anyone out there plays 5/10 HU games or higher and has coaching experience, please contact me through e-mail at smizmiatch AT

2. Videos watched:

WiltOnTilt (#1)
FoxwoodsFiend (#2) -$25k Heads Up Championship

The WiltOnTilt vid was especially good. His analysis was centered on hand ranges and reading situations, which are two of the most important skills in any form of poker.

Wilt talks about playing with a "fluid" 3-betting range rather than a "polarized" range, although I didn't understand all the nuances of his discussion. I asked for clarification in this post on the DeucesCracked forums.

I understand that a fluid 3-betting range reraises more for value with broadway cards, compared to a polarized 3-betting range, which reraises more with great hands and crappy hands, and less with medium-strength hands.

The video made me realize I've been playing heads-up games with a polarized 3-betting range that generally looks like this: Axs+, AQo+, KTs+, 88+, suited connectors. I tend to cold call more with hands like AJ, AT, KQ, KJ, KT, Axo and 22-77.

Is my cold-calling range too transparent to my opponents?

It seems like offsuit Jacks and Tens may be overrepresented in my cold-caling range, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially since I like to check-raise Jack-high and Ten-high flops frequently.

Another point I got out of the video is FoxwoodsFiend's contention that you can increase your continuation bet size on dry flops. I don't fully understand the reasoning for this because it runs opposite of the way I normally play. I usually tend to continuation bet a larger amount on coordinated flops to protect my hand, or at least to represent that I'm protecting my hand and charging draws.

I suppose that bigger c-bets on dry flops may be effective because they get value when you're ahead from hands that have a less likely chance of improving on later streets.

He also talks about betting his small single-pair hands on the turn to protect them from rivered overcards. I like that idea.

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