Best Poker Sites for Heads Up Poker

Which online poker sites have the best HU action?

Heads up poker, often abbreviated online simply as "HU," is in the opinion of many the most pure form of poker there is.  With just two opponents facing off directly, there's maximum conflict and maximum action.

While exciting, heads up play isn't for everyone.  In the next few paragraphs, we'll talk more about the format and - for those who decide HU is right for them - provide some tools to help you identify the best poker rooms online for heads up play.

Heads Up Poker Is A Unique Challenge

Some people simply are not cut out for heads up matches.  That's not a good thing or a bad thing - it's simply a fact.  If you prefer your poker to be a bit more on the relaxing side, with a few tough decisions every couple of orbits, then playing heads up is likely a poor decision.  If you tilt easily and need some time after a beat to regain your composure, heads up play would probably decimate your bankroll.

However, if you're the sort of player who thrives under pressure and needs a constant flow of difficult decision points in order to stay interested in the game, then heads up might be just what the doctor ordered.  As most players fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, the decision whether to play heads up - and how much to play it - will be one you'll have to make after experimenting a bit with the format.

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Best Heads Up Poker Sites - Cash Games & Tournaments
Rank Poker Room USA Mac/Linux Description Bonus Visit Site
1 BetOnline Accepts USA Players
  • Receive a 25% Bonus on All Deposits
  • Over $150K in Guaranteed Tournaments

Finding a Good Site for Heads Up Poker Online

Below is a quick cheat sheet of the characteristics you'll want to evaluate when choosing a room for your heads up action:

Consider Both Tournament and Cash Options:   Heads up cash play and heads up tournaments are very different animals.  Some rooms that have a good deal of one have very little variety of the other.  Use the filters in the lobby of the poker room to quickly get a sense of how much action there is for both formats, and prefer a room that has a good balance of the two.

Don't Be Tricked By Number of Active Heads Up Tables:  Many online poker rooms have a ton of active heads up tables, but when you look closer at the tables you'll see that  many are populated by just one or two individual players who are sitting out.  Players like this are called "bum hunters" because they wait for bad players to sit before they'll actually play.  This type of players can easily make a room look far busier than they are, so explore the active heads up tables a bit more closely before concluding that a room has lots of action.

Double-Check the Heads Up Rake Structure:  Every online poker room we're aware of charges a different rake structure for heads up play.  It is absolutely worth your time to create a little spreadsheet and compare the rake structures for HU play at the rooms you're considering.  While rake matters to all players, it's especially critical for heads up cash game players.  With so many hands contested between just two players, the impact of rake on the players in a heads up match is far more significant than the impact at, say, a full ring table.

Best Heads Up Poker Action for Players From the EU & UK

Here PokerStars once again gets the tip of our hat, as the room simply provides more options for heads up players than any other room online.  The heads up cash game lobby is bustling, with a wide range of stakes and games to choose from.  PokerStars also easily exceeds the heads up tournament offerings of any of their competitors, and - as a bonus - offers marquee heads up tournaments during the WCOOP and SCOOP that just have no equivalent at other rooms.

If PokerStars is off your list for whatever reason, our runner-up for top heads up room would have to be 888 Poker.  Yes, the cash traffic is lower and the tournament offerings are thinner, but many believe that the heads up games at 888 are ultimately softer than their counterparts at PokerStars.  Game softness is a tough thing to quantify, but in this case it's enough to make 888 a reasonable alternative to PokerStars as a home for your heads up poker play.

Top Heads Up Poker Room for US Online Poker Players

Frankly, almost all US-facing rooms are going to offer a similar experience to players looking for heads up action.  At that point, choosing a room becomes more of a matter of personal preference and of the peripheral value a room can offer players. 

If we had to single out one room for heads up play that accepts US players, it would be Bovada Poker.  That choice is based on Bovada's anonymous tables, which make it harder for tough regulars to clog up the heads up tables profitably.  While a thin advantage, it's enough in the very tight field of rooms that accept US players to allow Bovada to claim the top spot on our list of best USA-friendly online poker rooms for heads up action.

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