Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:07 PM
I agree that small ball vs. old-school has lots of advantages, so if the situation is that clear cut, then yes you should play small ball. I don’t want to go too far off topic but I have been thinking about a few recent trends in this area. All comments are welcome (even you trueace and donk if you can get yourselves out of the gutter for a few moments).It seems to me that in recent years (the last two or so to be precise), small ball has lost some of its luster. This does not mean that small ball is not best in most situations, it just means that certain factors have made it less effective. The key to its success, IMO, is getting to the flop against no more than one or two players. In those cases, you can use all of your small ball weapons to your advantage to win relatively small pots, or pick off big hands with small ball type holdings. You can use c-bets, and squeeze plays, and semi-bluffs, etc, and it is all effective because you only have to worry about one or two other hands. The problem seems to be that getting to the flop with fewer than three opponents is getting rarer and rarer. I suppose there are many reasons for this. First of all, small ball as a concept, if not completely understood, is much more prevalent which means people have really loosened up their starting hand requirements. Secondly, tournaments are starting with more and more chips. Even if blind level omissions make these moderate to fast structures, I think people get a feeling that they have tons of chips to play with, particularly early in tournaments. When they feel they have tons of chips to play with, they loosen up. And lastly, I just think there are more gamblers playing poker now who just love the feeling of winning a huge pot with some random hand. Grinding is not in the vocabulary of these folks.All of this means that, when you make a typical small-ball raise, regardless of which position you make it in, you are likely to be facing 3+ opponents, which does two things that makes playing small ball really difficult. First off, it makes for a pretty big pot before the flop has even hit. And second, it makes it much harder to try to figure out what everyone in the pot is up to. Flopping a monster or a monster draw in these situations is great, but that doesn’t happen that often. I’m starting to wonder whether reverting to a long-ball, or perhaps a really tight strategy during the early stages of these deepstack tournaments would not be best. Later, you can switching into small ball when folks are a little more discerning with their starting hand requirements.