It is funny but I think I have to mention this. I really hate writing about poker because it is stupid and everything depends on perspective and conditions. However I have been enjoying my foray into small stakes poker. Especially like playing HU matches. The reason for this is obviously not the money but because THESE ARE REAL POKER GAMES.
What do I mean by this? How many times have you played the Mookie or the MATH and just cruised through the game. Looking down at your jacks and not really having a read on the guys push but calling because hell Jacks R Ok.
In smaller stakes full table games I find myself vegging out. I just do not find the game interesting enough or something. However playing HU you really are playing against one player. This allows you to focus all of your energy on picking up tells from that player. Detecting his style of play, what his bets mean, all of the things that are REAL POKER.
I have to admit I am enjoying the hell out of it. The last time I really had a good time was when I used to play with Fuel, ScottyMc, MiamiDon and the guys at the 1/2 tables. I think my motivation there was to prove I was as good as these guys. I have a lot of respect for certain players and I focused like I probably always should. It is harder to focus on a large group of player but I felt motivated to do so. It turned out to make the game very very interesting and fun. The money was high enough that while it was still pretty worthless it meant a little something. The competition was great. I was able to pickup tells and signs and really play to my full potential. It was an amazing time.
So if you have not played a lot of HU poker I really suggest you give it a try. Instead of pushing in with your slight edges pre-flop or jamming every flush draw I challenge you to see every single flop you can. If the guy raises pre-flop decide on your own if you should play the hand but try and see a bunch of flops. Just do not get in a hole by calling every raise. Let the guy do some betting.. make a few SMALL calls when you are pretty sure he has you beat.. So you can lookup the guy. Get a bead on him. Figure out what it all means. Then dominate the fuck out of him. You still will lose to the suckout and bad play. However you should be able to focus on changing your game based on your opponent and take advantage of the information you have collected.
You should find yourself making more marginal calls and being right. You should be able to figure out when you can raise the guy on a bluff and have him fold. Because you have probed his defenses when the blinds were lower and now you KNOW what he will do. How much pressure to apply. When to bluff. Totally owning a person in poker is the best feeling in the world. Well... ok.. there may be better feelings but it is pretty good.