Small ball poker is a playstyle where your aim is to get involved in many cheap pots and keep those pots small – unless you hit a monster hand and then you build the pot as big and as quickly as possible. This was largely popularized by Daniel Negreanu, and to a lesser-extent Harrington’s books, and is a style adopted heavily by players evolving from fishy play.
As you watch this video or read this entire guide, note that the goal is not to insult players that use this style. Heck, I used to implement a small ball strategy, and my training videos before 2014 reflect that. Instead, the goal here is to explore the pros and cons of small ball poker and get you thinking more deeply about both playing this strategy and exploiting other players that use it.
Why Poker Players Like Small Ball
The overall concept of small ball is a mixture of three
things: getting involved in lots of cheap pots preflop, avoiding getting
involved in big pots postflop without monster hands, and trying to get monster
hands paid off for maximum value.
Paired boards are an interesting board texture that all poker players need to understand. First, these textures are more common than you might think. Secondly, players tend to craft their strategies in very predictable ways on these boards. And third, knowing how to choose the best lines when the board pairs will help you become a well-rounded player.
Every board texture brings something unique to the table (do you see what I did there?), so let’s break down this particular texture…
The concept of blockers in poker has been around for a while but, until recently, it’s one that has been far more stressed in Omaha games. Lately, however, we’re seeing the concept applied more in Texas Hold’em as well. While the value of blockers may not be as high in Hold’em as it is in Omaha, they’re still well worth considering as a part of a greater overall gameplan.
Poker contains a lot of repetitive math, especially when studying poker hands away from the table. While you can use software to do a lot of this math, sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned spreadsheet is the best way to visualize and play with the numbers. So to save you a tremendous amount of time, I put together this pack of my spreadsheets that you are free to use while exploring spots!
This is a name your own product, so if money is super-tight, you can even pay $0. But if you throw a few chips my way, not only would I massively appreciate it, but I’ll also give you a free PRO video AND over $200 in discounts. No pressure either way – I just wanted you to know your options 😃
You are playing in a live $1/$2 poker game. You are first to act UTG and look down at your hand. Do you know which hands you’ll play from UTG? Which hands will you fold? Are you going to open-limp at all?
Let’s discuss crafting an UTG range that makes you profit, while figuring out when to play tighter AND looser – including the key variables that most players overlook. Continue reading
Many players get confused when facing “odd” actions, such as donk bets. So I wanted to analyze a spot where I faced a river donk bet and had to make a decision. A donk bet is a bet made into the previous street aggressor. Since I had bet the turn and he bets into me on the river, his river bet is called a “donk bet”.
In this hand the BB was an unknown player, so I have no info on him and subsequently he had no info on me. Here is the hand history: Continue reading
You raise preflop and unexpectedly get multiple callers. Now you see a flop and totally miss. Should you c-bet the flop multi-way, even though you have a weak hand? Should you bluff on flops with multiple players? It certainly feels weak to keep check-folding Ace-high and weak pairs, but what goes into making a +EV decision here? Continue reading
It really seems that Ace King creates more nightmares for players than any other hand. Today, we’ll explore a hand where AK flops top pair/top kicker that needs to decide whether or not to put it all-in. This spot was played in a live $1/$2 cash game and exemplifies how a results-oriented thought process can really lead players to second-guess SUPER +EV plays. Let’s check out the hand…
In today’s video, we’re going to review a hand sent in by Dan. This is a hand from $1/$3 live and Dan goes pretty aggressive with 86os. So let’s check out the hand and see if it was any good.
In this hand, we have a limp, a limp, a limp, and Dan decides to attack to $20. And Dan says this in the write-up:
Seat 7 through 9 in this game are very loose, somewhat aggressive players. They don’t seem to care about position or odds. They’re having fun, they like to gamble. They’re not passive players either. They like to and are comfortable making big bets with draws. Continue reading
Second pair is always tough. It’s pretty strong, it’s ahead quite often, but is it worth a bet? Should second pair always go into your check-behind and try to get to showdown range?
In this hand we’ll explore these questions through the lens of a single hand: King Queen on AQ3. Our hero, Alexander, ends up calling a 3bet and villain checks to him on this board. Much of the discussion is about the flop decision, since that sets the entire hand in motion. So let’s get into it and see what goes into making a strong decision with second pair…