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Best Heads Up Poker Sites

There’s no better way to sharpen your skills at a particular game than to play it in heads up form. Playing heads up forces you to make many decisions quickly, so you can get really good really fast, if you try.

There are plenty of heads up poker sites online. Let’s analyze why so many players frequent those sites, who these players are, and how we can find the best sites available online.

Reviewing the Top Spots for Playing Heads Up Poker in 2017

Rank help Poker Room help USA help Mac help Bonus help Match help Code help Player Trafic help Room Review help
1Cake Poker Ignition Poker   This Site Accepts USA Players   mac-icon $1000 100% N/A 4,000+ Ignition Poker
2Cake Poker Bovada Poker   This Site Accepts USA Players   mac-icon $500 100% N/A 5,000+ Bovada Poker
3Intertops Poker BetOnline Poker   This Site Accepts USA Players   mac-icon Instant 25% N/A 6,000+ BetOnline Poker
4Intertops Poker Intertops Poker   This Site Accepts USA Players    $1100 200% N/A 8,000+ Intertops Poker

Finding the Safest Poker Sites Online: Tips and Tricks

Why Play Heads Up Poker?

There are three main reasons to play heads up poker: it’s fast, it’s strategically intense, and it’s attractive to weak opponents.

Since there are only two players per table at heads up poker sites, the cards come out quickly. Rather than having to wait for five or eight opponents to make a decision, you need only wait for one. The time between streets is shortened, as is the time between hands. This makes concentrating on the game easier for those with concentration problems.

Since you’ve got less time to make decisions heads up, you’ll need to internalize the fundamentals of poker strategy. Basic concepts should be second nature to you, so that you can focus on more advanced analysis at the table. This makes for a bit of work, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Many poker pros choose heads up as a main game because of its strategic complexity.

Though heads up strategy is infinitely complicated, the game is paradoxically attractive to weaker players. That’s because heads up poker satisfies the gambler’s craving for action. Heads up poker sites are chock full of action junkies.

The speed of the game makes it easy to get sucked into auto-spew mode, which poor players find to be fun.

Fun? How can losing money be fun? That’s a good question; one that comes down to the psychological profiles of players attracted to heads up poker.

Who Plays Heads Up Poker?

All heads up poker players tend to display a few common personality traits. Donks and pros alike exhibit the following tendencies:

  • Love of competition
  • Tendency towards impatience
  • Honor-orientation over money-orientation

In a 6-max or full ring cash game, there is generally no clear winner. Sure, some players build bigger stacks than others; but the sense of “winning” is much more abstract than at a heads-up table. For players who thrive on competition, heads up is a boon because it provides a clear goal: destroy your opponent by taking all his chips.

On heads up poker sites, the winners win and the losers lose. It’s that simple.

People who thrive on competition tend to be naturally action-oriented. Depending on how self-aware a person is, this orientation manifests itself in either supremely developed analytic skills or a near-crippling sense of impatience.

Note that players who win at heads up are those who transform their impatience into analysis. It’s not that winners aren’t aching to fire bet after bet after bet, it’s just that they know better than losers how to control this urge. We’ll examine this process later on.

The final trait common to most heads up players is an honor-orientation. A person conscious of honor cares about such things as respect, standing among peers, and reputation. Many online heads up players are driven more by these things than by the promise of winning cash at the tables.

This is largely because poker is marketed as a game of heads up action. Even on shows like High Stakes Poker, where there are anywhere from 6 to 9 players at a table, the hands that get shown on TV are almost always heads-up. When news reports speak of WSOP winners, they don’t mention a player’s having beat out hundreds of opponents to win; it’s generally only the final heads up action that gets reported.

The message is clear: world champions win at heads up poker.

So many players go into the game seeking to become a world champion. Even those who know they don’t stand a chance wish to be a world champion in their own minds. So they sit in at the heads up poker sites with hopes of winning a little bit of glory. Often, the money is secondary.

Top 3 Heads Up Strategy Tips

We’ve just spent nine paragraphs detailing the personality of a heads up poker player. That’s because heads up poker strategy revolves around knowing your opponent.

More than in any other form of poker, in heads up you must pay close attention to the nuances of your enemy’s game. Then, you must attack his weaknesses relentlessly.

Pay close attention to the following three aspects of strategy at the heads up poker sites. If you do, you’ll have no trouble holding your own at the tables.                       

  • Know your opponent’s betting patterns. Then, respond appropriately. Poor heads up players are predictable. They will bet the same amount from the button every time – usually two or three times the big blind. They will continuation bet regardless of flop texture. And they will ignore your bet sizing consistently.

Exploit this by punishing your enemy’s lack of creativity. If villain bets too little from the button, see more flops. If villain bets too much, raise more to steal pots. The key to beating heads up poker sites is responding to your opponent’s mistakes in such a way that makes him lose money. Your cards matter very little in this context.

  • Keep track of the table dynamic as you play a match. You can glean valuable insight into your enemy’s state of mind by doing so.

Often you’ll notice an opponent betting more often or making bad calls after a bad beat. This is called ‘steaming’, and means your enemy’s thought process is clouded by anger. Use opportunities like these to whip your opponent’s annoyance into fury, and you’ll find the chips practically slide themselves into your stack.

  • Don’t fight impatience – channel it productively. You will inevitably find yourself yearning to make big bluffs, big calls, and big floats at the heads up poker sites. This yearning is a function of impatience, but you don’t have to fight it – just redefine your scope of action.

Rather than making big bets impulsively, focus your attention on analysis. Your brain wants to do something – anything. So give it a non-destructive task to carry out while you wait to play.

Rather than thinking “I’m bored, let’s bet”, think about how a bet would affect the future action in the hand. Rather than thinking “it’s obvious he doesn’t have anything here, I raise”, think explicitly about the data that makes you think your opponent has nothing. Then, if the analysis makes sense given some thoughts, you can raise.

Finding a Heads Up Poker Site

Most poker sites spread heads up games. But some sites are better than others. The following sites are well known to be the best heads up poker sites online. (They do not accept USA players. Please see above if your a USA player)

  • 888 Poker. A long-standing player in the online poker space, 888 Poker has earned its reputation for excellence. It’s one of the biggest networks around, and boasts some of the fastest and most bug-free software available. Software is key when you’re playing a fast game like heads up.
  • Party Poker. While Party Poker used to be one of the softest sites around, it’s gotten tougher in recent times. Still, it’s a great option if you don’t like 888 Poker.
  • Bwin Poker. A rival to 888 Poker in the European market, Bet365 is an all-around solid place to play. The software isn’t quite as good as 888 Poker’s, but you’ll find lots of heads up games running at all hours.