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…
Aggressive poker is winning poker. But still, most players aren’t super comfortable going all-in preflop with less-than-premium hands. This is an effect of not understanding the EV of shoving preflop, especially since the EV (expected value) of going all-in can sometimes be a bit counterintuitive. So let’s go through a few examples together and see when getting it all-in preflop is totally profitable!
3-BET SHOVING WITH J9
This hand comes from Tim who wants to review this hand played in a tournament. In this hand we have J9s, there’s a $40 ante, the blinds are $150/$300, and in this exact situation there’s a raise from DIOGEN, it folds around and Tim decides to rip it.
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 want to 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 😃
The bubble stage of a tournament presents the greatest opportunity for chip accumulation. However, it also often leads to the most costly blunders in a tournament.
Walking the bubble tight-rope can be tricky so let’s go through important points that will help you navigate through your next tournament bubble as profitably as possible. Giving yourself the best chance of cashing, and getting set-up for victory.
The bubble effect arises because of the non-linearity of chips value in tournaments due to the varying payouts. If you’re in a tournament where 36 get paid, with 37 players remaining, and with a relatively short stack, calling a preflop all-in without a very high likelihood of winning against an opponent is a disaster. Continue reading
You have been playing well for hours and finally make the final table of a tournament. This is an opportunity you do NOT want to squander – but your results at this point are governed by luck, preparation, and mental game. The truth is, if you don’t prepare correctly, you are left relying on luck – and I don’t ever want luck to be the leg you stand on!
So today I want to share the best resource for preparing yourself for crushing final tables. And to make your life even easier, I’m going to lay out your study plan too. Continue reading
Over the last year I have released three poker workbooks. These are first-of their kind workbooks that guide you through the hand reading/range building process and layout the kind of intense study that most players know they truly need.
That being said, I get an endless amount of emails that go something like this:
“I just bought your workbook. There is no answer key and I have zero idea if I am doing these exercises correctly.
What am I supposed to be getting from this?”
That seemed like the perfect kind of thing to write an article about. So here are a bunch of the major takeaways you should be getting from every exercise you complete…
Ace-high is always tricky. Any Ace-high hand, even Ace King, is going to miss the flop completely and end up as nothing more than high card more often than not. But solid players understand when Ace-high actually has showdown value. They know when to ditch this hand and when to call it down facing postflop pressure. So today, I’d like to take you behind the play and show you the ranges and assumptions that make calling down with Ace-high a profitable play.
This is the final table of an $82 online tournament. Starting off, let’s plug the basic information into HRC. We see that our 75BB stack is worth 17% of the prize pool given that we are 3rd in chips. Also take notice that the chip leader in the big blind, even though they have an almost 50BB lead over us, only has 21% of the prize pool. And finally, we are playing for $1,800 up top and we are guaranteed $440 if we bust this hand.
My goal, when I started creating these workbooks, was to help players like you develop your hand reading skill set through guided exercises. To help you work through the same repetitions that I did when I was growing as a player. To help you explore the spots that impact your win rate in every session. And to layout your poker study so that you always know what to work on.