Simple Heads-up Poker - Part 1

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Raskolnikov introduces us to a concept whereby the heads-up game is kept simple. This effective strategy is guaranteed to offer you more insight into your heads-up decisions. Watch this video to gain an insight into the different tactics used in HU, hit the tables and try it for yourself!


heads headsup series Session Review Simple up

Comments (127)

newest first
  • EuanM


    Enjoy the video and please keep the comments in English!
  • brunooooo19


    Starts like "years ago i weighted 300 pounds and was unemploayed - learn my secrets how to lose 50 pounds in 20 days and earn 200 bucks/day working from your home!!!"
  • brunooooo19


    but nice vid anyway
  • acceleration123


    2 - haha indeed, but I think the guy is very right in what he is saying. Personally I was feeling like he was talking about me when he mentioned those fancy plays etc.
  • EmilDahlman


    Can the strategy from these series be applied to 1$ husng or is it more for cashgame and higher stakes?
  • Sneijder1091


    hey! Nice video!
    Min 46:00 the J9s Full House Hand:
    Like you said i think a big mistake to check, you mentioned that your reasons for checking in the game where the possibility for Villain to valuebet very thin(7x,88,TT) and of course to get more value from a 9! But didn´t you remember in game the K6 Hand where he checked back twice the K on KT8A7... After this hand I would never assume that Villain is capable of valuebetting thin in any spot!
    And theres only one 9 left in the deck... Anyways nice video! Continue in this direction! =)
  • txsio


    Great video!
  • Falco35


    I Like!!!
  • Sinnology


    My first HU video, andgood one.
    Will follow , thx
  • Saruniks


    22:00, dunno why he said that something weird happened. I was so, check/call, check/call. And then he raised, and ofcourse we have to fold. Like I expected a lot of hands to be made by this river allready. But dunno, probably I am wrong.
  • Falco35


    min 26:00, You CBet 34 Flop 838 and get c/r. I think , even if you say dont be spewy, i think ReRaise/Fold is an Option. Because the chance that hes bluffing here is big imo because you always CBet this Flop.
    The Call makes it very hard later streets because he will barrel 100% imo.
    Whats your opinion?
  • Safin88


    this is

  • dobermann123


    Actualy u were ahead in equity in the last hand so he didnt owned you, just got lucky.
  • datsmahname


    fixed limit player here very interested by your video. excellent content. nh sir.
  • JurassicDaniel


    I like your thoughts. We can we watch Part 2?
  • tryhardnoob


    29:35 I love u bwahahah
  • Tim64


    excellent video - thank you, sir.
  • tMHs


    you played against the worst HU player ever:
    i wonder if your simple, not fancy strategy works against thinking players, highly doubt it.

    maybe do a live video against a reg next time ;)
  • vmarqui


    just wondering, would you have pushed on the river with 94s if you hadn't hit the second pair?
  • DeMarcohsp


    Upload the HUD and post a link, if you may. Thanks, sir !
  • Waldi54


    one of the best videos here....very very good! ty
  • SpiderZorro


    nice video, i like the consequent solid way you play.

    Very interesting comments of mindsets, i agree 100% that many players (and even man generelly) complain a lot of having badluck and the "unfairness" of life.
    I´m a physician and often heard these complaining.
    Sorry for my bad english!
    I would like to see you playing NL shorthanded!!
  • Raskolnikov


    Thanks a lot for the nice and encouraging comments.

    Currently in USA, so i´m dictating my brother who is typing this for me.

    #6: You are right. And remembering such hands that you´ve played in the past is crucial. As you see, i´ve cost myself a lot of EV there

    #11: Good thought. I *could* do this, however its much better to 3bet here with a hand that has no value at all (or will call a shove)

    Because if Villain continues it doesn´t matter if we have bottom pair or Q high. We´re beat anyways.

    Q high is better though, since if he did it with a hand like 77,99 and doesn´t give our 3bet credit, then we still have 3 outs to hit the Q and make him go on life tilt and wish us cancer and such ;)
  • Raskolnikov


    #11 continue:

    You assume he continues to barrel. Who says so? Evidence can be looked for in his play.
    IF he checkraises so much air AND barrels a lot, then a turn call on any card is actually pretty "easy" and straightforward.

    I did plan on folding the turn though. But be careful in making assumptions. You may or may not be right.
  • Raskolnikov


    #18 :

    Its not a "strategy". Its simply the best way to play. Simple doesn´t mean good or bad.

    Not sure if i´ve said it in the video, but i later found out that i´ve played 200-400 (blinds) with the guy in the past. He got lots of tilt issues, so don´t judge him from one account.

    Having that said, it really doesn´t matter, since this works against anybody, but especially against "good players".
  • Raskolnikov


    #2 and #3

    haha, and thanks.

    well, next video i´ll advertise viagra, be prepared ;)))
  • Tenebrus


    last hand A8o against your K9s, would see an alternative to shoving if you would know that he has A8 there.(asume you know it at the poit where he 3bets the flop raise)

    And what you do against the check raise on the flop if you where in his position, it is a bit brutal to stack of here. Ok. But you have maybe only 99,86s,sets, fd, and fd + pair there. And if he calles your c/r later streets would be realy ugly to play
  • tMHs


    i do discribe a playing style or a "way to play poker" as a strategy. But nvm.

    you said that you played him on 2/4 in the past.

    "Dont judge him for one account?!"

    I dont know when in the "past" you played this guy, but that does absolutely not mean that this guy is a good player.
    This guy is a HUGE losing player, and as youself mentioned that he´s got tilt issues. So why exactly dont judge him?! I mean I´m referring to 26316 Hands in which he made a deficit of $-17,684!!(

    Also you actually your somehow advising players to not think about hands deeply, even if you dont mean it, this can be understood.

    I´d really like you to proof me wrong in some following live video against a regular, "since this works against anybody, but especially against "good players"."

    (This was not meant as an offense ;-))

  • Angelface21


    People in general are afraid to be left out, they prefer to live together in misery than realizing that happiness and enlightened is completely give to you in solitude being alone or not isn't the case. It is about feeling yourself. Than you will excel in everything else in life not being suffocated by the terror of the ego. It is not what you are, It is what you are able to understand what we have all in common. Poker? part of it! Good video
  • Angelface21


    "given to you"
  • skinny99


    hey, where did you get "fold-to-check-raise-flop" stat??? MY HEM ver. 1.11.06g doesn't have that... ???
  • icanhazit


    hi. can you please upload your hud. i really like it :)
  • 3iks


  • StaticMoth


    Very nice, totally relate to the overthinking/outleveling urself as it's something I've had a huge problem with as well ...

    Thinking about spots too deeply and "outplaying myself" in that way and have only recently discovered that it's just not necessary at these limits ...
  • oylioika


    Legendary video series. Ty very much for your effort.
  • z0z


    mmmmmmmmmmkaaaaaaaaaaaay xD
  • Raskolnikov


    #28 tMHs:

    No worries, i love criticism of any kind. Motivates me even more ;)

    When i said 2/4 , its 200-400 Blinds, aka NL 40.000 ;). this was roughly a year ago.

    I don´t comment on graphs, nor do i wanna defend anybody. Use your fantasy ;)

    Well, i´ll keep in mind to make a video, where you can see this "simple" method destroying nl2k and higher regs ;)
  • Raskolnikov


    Thanks everybody for the warm welcome, keep on posting questions, and don´t hold anything back
  • phil1312


    lol der Typ gegen den er spielt, ist 11k losingplayer, ich mein warum soll man da auf seine eigenen Stats achten. :facepalm: mal wieder, leider.
  • phil1312


    Wenn alle so HU spielen, wechsel ich wieder
  • JurassicDaniel


    How many parts will follow?
  • brunomi


    mi 09.50 49s, if you didnt hit 2nd pair, still go all in on river?!
  • Raskolnikov



    You are actually right. Against big losing players, you don´t "need" stats in order to win.

    But you can double your winnings if used appropriately. Although the way you wrote the comment is not cool (bad day?), i often felt the same way.

    Its interesting, because other students (private) complained to me that i teach to much how to play against strong players ;)
  • Raskolnikov



    No way. I´m check folding EVERY river besides 4 and 9.

    NEVER try to bluff people off a big hand. I paid over 100k to learn that lesson. You need to read two lines ;)
  • VTomukas


    A couple of things I didn't get (of course, I'm not a HU player, so it might be just too fishy).

    1) At hand with J9 you've decided to check the FH on river "because you've seen him vbetting light". Actually, from what I've seen, he was 3betint flop light, but from hand when he had K6 and checked back two streets on KJxAx board - IMHO shows the opposite - he's not vbeting enough and of course - not light.

    2) The last hand. You complaining about yourself making the bad push, that your opp made the best of it, since he got in with the better hand, so it was your mistake, not his.... BUT. You were 54/46 FAVORITE on flop. How it is possible to be a bad play, getting it in with a better hand? So even if you made a mistake about his calling range - it is still profitable? Was it all about "flipping when actually have bigger advantage in play"?
  • Peetfeef


    I like the way you play. I think what u represent here with this video is not telling the right strategy rather the right way to think and to explain the importance of the state of feeling. I think this is much more important than strategy! Great vid
  • Iljaronaldo


    lol bei der ansprache habe ich das bedürfnis das video grad zu closen.hört sich wie ein billiger teleshop an ....
    mal sehen werde es mir dennoch reinziehen !
  • homysimpson


    Could the author upload the HUD?
  • Nivlem


    Is his all-in in the last hand that bad? You have been CR-ing flushdraw flops about 4 times before.. The board is also so low that you don't have 2pair combo's so you're repping sets/flushdraws.

    At some point he will have to look you up on one of these boards..
  • Dodozz


    A reAlly excellent video, I learned a lot and for sure Im willing to use it in near future, I like the style how you play with no risking a lot, respecting three bet was nice to watch it!
  • globalcash


    thx 4 vid.
  • majinv


    nice video, such a player is good to explain a strategy, but a whole video?
    Hope there is a better opponent next time...
  • Wolf87


    nice vid, do you use skype and share your cantact ID here or in the community tool?
  • Defailer


    Your description says "Raskinolov" i bet thats miss spelled :D
  • HitThe1Out


    Nice vid! U said in the video that there's a possibility to download that HUD model of yours, where can I do that? :)
  • Zemnieks11


    really liked the mindset stuff about blaming your self and etc....would like you to add such stuff too in upcomming videos. :)
  • biij


    07:43, if you hit a set, you also сbet 1/2 pot?
  • phil1312


    @43: i dont had a bad day, sorry for bad English (I understand it but dont think in English, so I write and speak very bad English, I hope you understand it), but :thumbs up: if there play a lot of players that way of Poker, the HU regs become smiling if new HU Players come at the table, and play that "easy poker", and think "yeah with simple HU Poker I crush every Player on the Low and Smallstakes".

    A friend of me, HU-Reg, has watched this video, too and he have the same opinion like me.

    If you want it, I write a long comment, critize this Vid, in German, or let it translate for you.


  • Raskolnikov



    1) Yes. Somebody else pointed that out also. I missed this and it was a bad check by me.

    2) You are right about the numbers. The reason why i got "owned" was that i didn´t think he´d do it this light.

    I think its not good by him, but the main lesson i wanted to get across is that whenever your opponent makes a move that you think is "bad", you shouldn´t have the mindset " fuck this idiot is soooo bad".
    Instead you should look to blame ONLY yourself.

    Ok, in this hand, we were in good shape, but in the bigger picture, if he´s never 3bet bluffing here (which i assumed), then our move is bad.
  • Raskolnikov



    You´re right. Not the worst of all moves. Well, against me, i got the worst hand i´d ever get it in with against him. Only because i play fairly aggro, people assume you´re crazy all the time.
    But objectively, you probably can´t even play him.


    Thx for compliment although this is only one video and vs this opponent i think we have to play this way.
    I´m never telling students to "have a strategy" , but always look for the optimal move.
    Most think in terms of "lag", "tag" and that sorta "crap" ;).

    After the other videos, i´ll probably be better able to show where the red-line comes from.


    You´ll get what you wish. But, be aware to not do the same mistake like another commenter before.
    Yes, you can beat a weaker player, but if you beat him for 10BB instead of 5BB, its as much worth as beating a reg for a few BB more.
    Just pointing out.
  • Raskolnikov



    I don´t share Skype publicly, mainly because i rarely use it.

    Mostly for private lessons. Still have to figure out. Also got some friend requests, don´t even know how to use it ;).
  • Raskolnikov



    Almost no way i cbet half pot with a set. I know, a army of people gonna come in and tell me how EXPLOITABLE i am. Hell yes, i am, because nobody is exploiting you.

    Ok, the better my opponent observes, the more likely i´m also cbetting half pot.

    People are obsessed with "Balance" because they see Phil Gelfand smart talk (phil is smart and nice guy). Problem is balancing is getting you nowhere.

    I have given personal students a homework where they have to do something absolutely ridiculous. Something that is soooo easy to exploit. And guess what, nobody cared.

    We´re talking about NL 600 here.

    - Can talk about this in future vids.
  • Raskolnikov



    Its fine.

    I can only repeat that i´ve coached hundreds of players and played against 10.000 of players. What made me most money is what you describe.

    I guarantee that the biggest leak of people is to not play normal, logical and solid. And solid doesn´t mean tight.

    I have played mostly vs regs (vs fish this redline is impossible).

    So again, you can do what you have been doing in the past and expect the same results.

    I urge people to not believe me, but just give it a try. Thats all.

    Anyways, its good that you say what you think.

    (Ich antworte nicht in Deutsch, weil es ein english vid ist. Du kannst gerne Deutsch kommentieren, verstehe es noch ;) und antworte in English.

    Würde gerne wissen was du denkst, einfach aus Neugierde. Wenn sich jemand viel mühe macht, kriegt er immer eine ebenso gute Antwort.)
  • Dublimax


    Against that highish 3B % of villain you didn't mention to lower your opening range as a possible adjustment.

    I'm sure that he saw that you were opening 100% so his normal adjustment is to 3B you more and I have the feeling you didn't readjust to this. You only mentioned that you didn't have the cards to call or 4B. What about opening less?
  • GambleGrill


    good vid overall. Bu i've got a question on that AT Hand min 22:00. I dont think this is an easy fold. First qusetion i would ask myself is what can he jam here for vallue witch has us beat? The only hand can be QT but i would expect most of the nl200 Regs to bet this on the Flop because it looks like you would give up here after checking the flop. And we have a blocker. Maybe he can jam AJ but i also think that he would bet it on the flop and definatly not jam on the river. A9 he would also just call on the River and AA, KK and AK are not in his Range because he would 4bet them pre or if he slowrolled them he would also bet the flop.
    I think that his line looks extremly bluffy.
    Ok, you said that you play easy Poker and you have just a one pair Hand and you fold. But i think on limits like 200nl and 400nl we have to think about spots like this a litle bit harder. 200 and 400NL Headsup is not a Limit we can beat with ABC Poker especially when we play Regs and do not only bumhunt.

    But as i said before I liked the Vid a lot and i am looking froward to see the next one
  • Raskolnikov



    yes, you can lower your opening range, but unless Villain hits 20% in 3bet, i ignore this pretty much.

    He also checkraises, so i should probably fold stuff like 29o,38o, but not much else


    You probably heard me on the vid say "wtf does he have".

    Here´s the deal: Most people don´t bluff in these spots. Even if it looks completely weird, they just don´t do it. Even if it "makes no sense".
    I mean, his line did certainly not "make sense" to me. But i like my decision until i get more evidence that he can make outrageous bluffs.

    You will be doing well, even if you fold 1 pair here 100% of the time. Because most students - if they start calling - get neurotical about getting bluffed and end up spewing more.

    So what i teach is "get the basics right before you advance".

    Today, people advance first ;)

    Results: Of course he told me he turned Kx into a bluff. ******************* ;)
  • worldethos


    Good video, hope we´ll get the 2nd one soon
  • gnawhalak


    great vid.. very effective strategy
  • lmrelvas


    nice video
  • JurassicDaniel


    when will the 2nd part published?
  • zaboo


    I like the mindset issues mentioned here. Really good vid
  • EmilDahlman


    I would like you to release the other parts soon :)


    conclusion: you lost
  • yinpin


    Excellent video in my opinion. The only thing which is a little bit annoying is, that you keep on promoting "your simple method" like it is some unknown magic trick ;-)
  • wazawanga


    i wish you talk more about how to make huge chunks of money with not spewing off with retarded plays
  • ZackBigPack


    lol is this vid a level?
  • MagnumLemon

    #78 write the dude's name properly. It's not Raskinolov.
  • noisecore


    I will certainly try this approach. I also loose money in spots where I shouldn't because I make fancy plays.

    FPS is a winrate killer... (Fancy play syndrome)

    2nd part plzz ! :)
  • Wolf87


    ernsthaft, wann kommt teil2 ich sterbe... und bitte irgendwann auch mal ein NL1k/ Nl2k HU vid, aber erstmal weiter Nl200-600 pls :=)
  • TimPS


    +1 @80: Next part please! :-)
  • Doty


    @80 ... me 2 ... whant to see next part ... would be nice to get this kind a video for 6max ;)
  • EmilDahlman


    Pleeease give out the next part nooow!!! :)
  • j0nes1989


    Could you send me you hud settings? Sent you a request @ community
  • Schranatic


    Haha. You sound like the "Bob Ross" of Poker. Nice video though. Enjoyed it!
  • Raskolnikov


    Thx for compliments. Currently working on a diamond video.

    There were some issues that had to get sorted out with .

    For the HUD: I have posted a link in this comment thread (megaupload).

    You can always email me (find the address in my profile), and i´ll send the HUD to you.
  • vidrata


    Excellent video sir!!! Thanks!
    Looking forward for more from you!

    Do you play NL BSS exclusively, or you play SNG/MTTs as well?
  • Stedyeddy


    really nice video, ;)
  • Pansenmann


    professional and well explained video. Where is the next one?
  • autheking


    waiting for the next one.
  • Raskolnikov


    Its gonna be released soon... Already sent it in
  • Kuroari


    wow.... one of the best video
    Learned a lot from this 66min
  • drummerSHIN


    Kuroari sent me this video link and I watched.
    I was just looking for some good HU video and this is it.
    Me and Kuroari are from Japanese community, unfortunatly our community doesn't have much videos.
    So please make next part of this video.
    we are always waiting for that :)
  • yoshiwa


    is there a reason why you don't include random blufs he could make @ 46:00 with the J9? Your hand looks alot like something weak trying to take the pot on the turn and giving up on the river , while we knew he doesn't always bet draws IP zo he very well might have some draw he blufs when checked to on the river ?
  • JurassicDaniel


    Der Content ist ausgezeichnet. 3 Monate sind seitdem vergangen. Warum dauert es so lange mit dem 2ten Teil?
  • Raskolnikov


    #96: thx, lag teilweise an mir, teilweise an ps.

    #95: Its all a question of likely hoods and the board texture where he checked behind the FD was totally different than this here.

    So he almost always "has a hand" when he calls on the turn. Also one that doesn´t need to bluff. So i was praying for a thing vbet, which i explained was bad, since i make the same amount of money by betting + giving him the chance to raise 9x.
  • bigdwong


    the best single video i've seen. part 2?!
  • stajv


    Part 2!!!
  • babbas90


    great video!
  • Markkkkkkk


    great video. :)
  • Maniac81


    Is it standard for you to merge your cbet Range? You bet all your made Hands + weak draws etc.Is it not better against a player who c/r alot on the flop to polarize your cbet Range and check back some weak draws? You called his c/r and hit all the time with your draws, but i guess it is not bad to check behind some Hands where you want to see a cheap turn card against this kind of opponent.
  • Raskolnikov



    Yes, if that were the case, i do advise to check behind on flops.

    If your opponent is to aggro, its BAD to check behind 2nd pair type of hands, because you´re losing out on value from his spew moments.

    Thats a general answer, but if you show me a specific hand, i´ll answer in detail.
  • nyklndyme


    Please do more HU cash vids. I'd like to see the rest of this session and also vids of how to adjust against differnt styles of players. I seem to lose against ultra agressive loose players and also supper tight players. I'd really like to know how to adjust this style to be profitable accross all playing styles.

  • nyklndyme


    and also what is you SB defend range, SB 3 bet range and how does it change with each style of opponent?
  • superranger07


    about the hand where u 3betted AJ preflop and got 4betted to about 50 $, u shoved then allin with ur comment that usually the right play is to call or fold though and not raize. i would say the right play is to raize or fold.
    i dont get why u think just calling out of position is an option. either u are way ahead or way behind often. when u call out of position, what u wanna do, if u dont connect to the board? check-fold? i guess u would, and if u do hit ur ace, can u be sure, u have the better aces? i think u would if u think preflop u have the better ace; and u wouldn't if u think his ace is better than urs often.
    so, if u think u are ahead preflop, why not shove all-in. if u are sure, u are often behind though( because u saw him calling allin with AQ only , assuming he wouldnt go allin with worse ace often) u have to fold though. my guess is u probably recommend calling as an option there , because u think he would often 4bet with TT- and calling a 5bet-allin often. but, as u said by urself, u actually wanted to play easy hu poker. by just calling and hoping for as A or J on flop is weak poker, in my opinion, especially if u have an opponent with a pretty high bip, u bring urself into a tough spot when not connecting (and as u know u wont connect on the flop about 66% of the time).and when hitting an ace, u get only action, if he also have an ace. and then u even cannot be sure u have the better aces. often he will have TT- there though too, and wont give u any action unless he hits a set (or assumes u would bluffing having aces often).
  • Xendor1


    Great conclusional speech about mindset.
  • johnny1888


    Very good video!
  • cowboykoen


    I think the AJo got 4-bet bluffed because you 3betted 18 in stead of 20 :-P
    Nice way to make people spew, use it sometimes with good hands
  • Shevtshenko


    @42:00 w/ 86s

    i think you're a bit too harsh on his river check. I do also think he could value bet that on R, yet if he views you as a competent player he prly shouldn't.

    both QJ and J9 got there by river, you could be c/ring those and also turning weaker made hands into bluffs or c/cing with better Kx. I think the riverspot with K6s is extremely close between chking and betting and i'd prly lean towards checking if i'd respect my opponent.
  • Terror85


    i like it. where can i get the program you have when you play?
  • FishermansFriend


    Hey all, here's a new link to Gordon's HM Hud for those who like it:
  • BustoTinker


    How I can get this working with Hem2?
    Hud options - Displayed stats - import
    "No config found"
  • BustoTinker


    NVM, I have it now :) Hud options - Displayed stats - import 1.0 :)
  • WoodyRiver


    thanks for your vid, it helped me really much in improving my game!
  • x5kristaps


    Educational video for me. Thanks :)
  • RobN


    pretty much NIT play (but not bad). better regs destroy this style, so you gonna fold fold fold. :) But telling "Its not a "strategy". Its simply the best way to play. Simple doesn´t mean good or bad." is wrong. There's no best.
  • SealP


    Simplicity is very underrated in poker.Nice video.
  • Raskolnikov



    Bullshit. That's the myth, but those regs you are talking about were my biggest customers ;)
  • thomas8888


    shall I know if you built your bankroll playing heads up. I like heads up.
  • bloty02


  • flamtom


    I find that nr. 27 was quite an interesting comment :)
  • jigglybutt


    I'm confused is this real poker being played or just a pokerstrategy lesson on how to just bet every single junk hand lol. When I play poker if I played like this my br would be gone in about 10 minutes.


    99.99 % bet is correct on turn with a flush draw

    i cant stand this person and his infatuation

    if everything is so simple why people wrote books about this game

    this game is not simple

    when i heard him talking it's so simple with that voice makes me puke

    sorry but that's my honest simple opinion, simple, remember
  • tinkerer


    i must be making all the wrong betting desisions, cause no matter what i get donked at some point or a nother, thanks for the insights
  • Skojj


    Great video! Most players overthinks many hands, keep it simple and you win in the long run!
  • misspookie


    Do you like your reraise on the flop at end of the video? We have a flush draw and over card and we are very deep. Isn't calling better for our spr? Hes going to stack off anyway hes not folding once he puts that much in the pot. 100 bbs I dont mind stacking off here. But this deep I am not so sure. I don't think we have any fold equity once he raises that big.
  • armandalic


    Some nice insights, some controversial stuff, and some obvious hints useful only for beginners, overall It made me realize some new stuff
  • keekkini


    Gordon rocks!