Aggressive Heads Up SNG Tournament

One of the reasons I have enjoyed heads up Razz and HORSE Sit-n-Gos so much is that they match my style. My ability to read the board, understand my odds (both pot and drawing), and consider what my opponent is playing allows me to bully passive players and give the lagtards enough rope to hang themselves.

Where I run into trouble is against very aggressive players who know what they’re doing.

If I am catching cards, it’s still routine: I call if I am likely to be ahead, but don’t want to commit too many chips if I am not, and I raise, check-raise, or reraise if I know I am ahead (i.e. if I think it highly likely that I am ahead).

An examples of the first would be calling down with bottom pair (no obvious draws on the board) against an aggressive player who is going to bet it down no matter what. In heads up, this is likely to be a winner against an aggressive player, but it’s by no means definite. If I am ahead, why scare the guy into folding? If I am not, I will pay off the minimum number of chips. This does run the risk of him catching me, but in a Limit event, I have consistently found it to be a profitable style of play.

An example of the latter would be popping back with top pair, two pair, or any sort of unexpected and strong holding, especially one vulnerable to a draw or redraw. I want my opponent to pay for his aggression.

But, if I am not catching any cards, I get steamrolled, with no ifs, ands, or buts. For instance, a guy raises every hand, and I am getting cards like T9s and worse (83o, 64s, 52o, etc.). I have no high card value to call down, and if I don’t hit the flop, I have to bail, after having paid two bets to see that flop.

In these situations, the hyper-aggressive, yet skilled player almost always crushes me. This is something I’d like to change.

Against these kinds of players, I tend to be very aggressive preflop, but again, if I don’t hit the flop, I am going to lose chips. This is especially a problem for me in No Limit Hold Em heads up SNGs, not that I meet that many skilled players at the $5 level, where I play that particular game.

That’s one reason why I have enjoyed the HORSE and Razz formats. Balls-out (i.e. blind) aggression is not rewarded in Limit Omaha Hi Lo or Limit Razz, at least not against an opponent who is skilled at those games, which I am. In Stud, however, and to a lesser extent Stud Hi Lo, aggression is rewarded more than Omaha Hi Lo and Razz, if not as much as in Hold Em.

In any event, this is one area of my game I am working on.

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