Monday, March 16, 2009

Negreanu and Small Ball Strategy

Small Ball Strategy

I read the small ball strategy chapter in his Power Hold'em Strategy book and decided to use it in my Sunday NL tournaments for the past two months.

My overall conclusion: Small Ball Strategy Needs Lots of Chips To Work

His strategy simply does not work for my Sunday events since the chips are not deep enough and the rounds are not long enough. I've probably lost over $2,000 the past two months testing small ball.

The positives to the strategy is that it does allow you to play more hands, and hope to hit good to bust an opponent. It also helps you to understand the importance of implied odds, managing pot size and playing your opponent's hand from the flop.

However, it doesn't allow for eliminating opponents when you are raising 2 1/2 times the big blinds in these events. And, it also ends up being costly to be raising with suited connectors and players coming over the top, forcing you to fold.


Yesterday, first hand. I have J-9 suited. Each player starts with $2,500 and blinds at $25-$50. A player under the gun raises to $150. I call in a back position. The button calls. The small blind moves all in for $2,500. I have to fold, of course.
I'm not too happy to see the flop comes with J-9-9.

The player who moved all-in had A-K.

My Next Step

Learn from Daniel, but revert back to the Gus Hansen aggressive style of play. It is not only more fun and challenging for me, but it also enables me to be more feared at the table.

Daniel's style at the higher buy-in events work of course. However, I do believe that with fewer chips and fast blind increases it is simply a difficult way to add chips.

I have written a summary of Gus Hansen's playing style on this blog.

1 comment:

Truth said...


I agree. Small ball is better suited for deep stack play. In the tournaments I've played in...(mostly "free" bar tournaments) usually end up building a nice pot for somebody else to win...when you get 4 or 5 callers. I think I will get the same result when I use it in my home poker tournament league ($15-$30 buy-in w/10 players)

I found myself checking and folding alot on the flop when I missed. If I flopped a big draw...I usally shoved on the flop.

Like alot of "instruction" on poker...small ball has to be tinkered least for fast tournaments.

Maybe as a late steal position play

Joe Sims

What's Your Poker IQ?