One-on-One Poker – A Fun Way to Learn Poker

Posted on May 11, 2015 by Denise Marie

One-on-One Poker is also known as Heads-up Poker. The essence of the game is that two players play head-to-head.

The basic rules of poker apply with a few relatively minor variations. Many land-based and online casinos offer One-on-one Poker. All variations of poker can be played as one-on-one Poker but a few predominate. They are Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 5 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud.

In many ways one-on-one Poker is a regular poker game that has been reduced to two players. The general strategies of betting apply. This is an excellent way for a novice with aspirations to become professional, to play many hands and get much needed experience recognizing and playing hands.

It’s also just a lot of fun.

Whether you play for fun or for professional growth, One-on-one Poker can help you learn the intricacies of Pot Odds, the mathematical indication of whether or not it is financially reasonable to bet, call, raise, or fold.


Click to learn more on how to play One-on-One Poker

Aspects of Play

In games without blinds, the game is essentially the same as a multi-player game.

There is usually no limit to the number of bets allowed in any round.

The house sets buy-in limits.

In games with blinds, the dealer is the small blind and the opponent is the big blind. That means that the dealer begins the betting.


First and foremost, it is essential to know your opponent. Many aspects of strategy depend on your opponent’s normal behavior. Does s/he bluff often? Does s/he fold if their hand appears worse than yours? How does s/he respond to a bet, a raise, a re-raise, an apparent bluff? How does s/he act when betting first?

When playing face-to-face you can try to read your opponent. This is, of course, easier said than done. That’s one aspect of one-on-one Poker that benefits newer players: there are many hands so you can learn a lot relatively quickly.

When playing online you must also try to read your opponent but it is much harder.

Here is some general strategy advice for One-on-one Poker. It is not completely applicable to a game that began as a multi-player game and has become a two-player game. Yet, the latter can be seen as having turned into a one-on-one game.

When You Bet First

If you have a good hand, decide if it is a probable winner. If your opponent usually folds after an opening bet, then you should check, hope s/he bets, and then raise.

If s/he usually calls or raises s/he may have a better hand or may be a poor player. Pot odds can help you decide whether the pot is worth further betting or warrants folding.

If your hand is intermediate: check. If the opponent bets you can fold or call. Here again it is important to know your opponent. S/he may habitually value hands higher than you do.

If your hand is poor you are likely to fold. Check and fold if your opponent bets.

When You Bet Second

Your opponent played first. S/he either bet or checked.

If s/he bet you must decide if your hand is worth another bet. If it isn’t fold.

If you have an intermediate hand, call.

If you have a good hand, raise.

You must know your opponents tendencies. Does s/he often bluff in first position? Does s/he check-raise?

If your opponent checks, you can bet with a good hand, bluff if you feel it will work more often than not, or check also.

An opponent who begins by checking may be reading you. Do you often walk into a check-raise ploy?

Pot Odds

This is a valuable concept for all poker players. It reflects the relationship between the amount of money already in the pot, the cost of calling, and the chances that you will complete a winning hand.

To simplify, if the cost of calling is too high you fold.

If you think your opponent is bluffing you can call or raise but if the cost of doing so is still too high you may decide to call rather than raise or fold rather than call.

A Great Way to Learn Poker

One-on-One Poker is a great way to learn poker generally and the ever-popular Omaha, Stud and Hold’em specifically.