One on One Poker

One on One Poker

The term one on one poker essentially means that you are playing a game of poker against just one opponent, instead of a table full of poker players. This game is also referred to as heads up poker and has become enormously popular in the world of online poker.

The objective of this poker variant is to finish with the best possible poker hand, which is naturally stronger than your opponent’s hand, and win the pot.

Click for details on history, hand rankings/nicknames and poker terminology/glossary.

Rules of One on One Poker

Because one on one poker is a term used to describe playing against a single opponent only, the rules could differ, depending on what variant of poker is being played. For example, the rules will change if you are playing Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi or 7 Card Stud – all of which could be used to play one on one poker.

In general, however, there are a couple of main rules that are adopted across all games of one on one poker, no matter what variant is being played out.

  • Only two players can play a game of one on one poker, hence its name.
  • The blinds are reversed so that the dealer in the game gets to play first.
  • There is no limit to the betting rounds that can be played.
  • The online poker room sets the buy in limit in the game.

Playing One on One Poker Online

While one on one poker has always been available at land based poker rooms in one variety or another, it wasn’t until poker hit the world of the internet that this type of play really took off. Today, it is quite possible to play heads up, or one on one poker, against thousands of players from around the world from the comfort of your own home. Most online poker rooms run one on one poker games 24 hours a day and seven days a week, meaning that there is never a shortage of games going. Check out the tournaments at your favorite online poker site to see the types of one on one games being played, and their limits.

Heads Up Poker Tournaments

Poker tournaments on a one on one format have become highly popular in recent times, both online and off. For example, the annual NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship attracts top pros in the field, pitching them one on one in an elimination type competition until the last player is left standing. These types of tournaments are fun to participate in, but also fun to watch due to the fast paced action and interesting strategies adopted by players.

One on One Poker Tips and Strategies

  • Forget all you’ve learned about strategy that is used specifically for single table or multi table tournaments: They don’t apply in one on one poker!
  • Your best strategy is to play aggressively against your opponent, otherwise you will be run over in no time at all.
  • Knowing when to fold is also a strategy. If you feel like you are losing or have little chance of winning, it’s better to lose when your bankroll is still intact. Remember, the point is to put money in the pot when you feel you have the best hand, and not to put money in when you don’t have the best hand.
  • Because one on one poker games are so fast, you can win a lot of money in a very short space of time, but – on the flipside – you can also lose a lot of money. If you are a beginner to this sort of game variant, stick to low limit games until you have mastered the game pace and developed strategies of your own.
  • If you land a big pocket pair, allow the other player be overly aggressive and do all the betting.
  • Developing one and one poker skills benefits tournament poker players significantly in the long run, as well as limit players who find themselves many times in short handed games.

One on One Poker Hand Ranking Chart

The hand rankings in one on one poker are usually as follows, with the highest ranking cards first. You should, however, check to see what game of poker is being played in the one on one poker session to ensure that the hand rankings below apply to that variant as well:

Poker Hand Rankings

One on One Poker Hand Rankings Descriptions

Hand Description
Royal Flush A straight flush involving Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace
Straight Flush Five sequential cards of the same suit with the high card being less than an ace
Four of a Kind Four cards with the same value
Full House Three cards of the same value and a separate pair of cards of the same value
Flush Five cards of the same suit
Straight Five cards with sequential values (cards of any suits)
Three of a Kind Three cards with the same value
Two Pair Two separate pairs of cards with the same value
Pair Two cards of the same value
High Card No other combination, the value of the highest card wins


One on one poker has become the favorite form of gaming among many players, especially in tournament format. Playing is fast, results are instant and a lot of money can be won in a short space of time. On the other hand, one on one is a specialized way of playing, and requires practice and diligence until players can confidently up their limits. For that reason, it is highly recommended to check out the different one on one, or heads up poker, options at the hundreds of online poker sites out there, to try out the games, test drive the software and improve your strategy. If this advice is followed, one on one poker can be very rewarding and highly enjoyable.

Posted by CCJ Team