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Home Run Hitters Vs. Small Ball Players


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#21 SFAWFD

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:36 AM

I usually know it's time to go for broke when I get a good hand and I'm at 10X the BB or lower. That's just me though knowing that I'm only going to be able to stay floating a little longer something needs to be done.
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#22 SelfMade

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 01:38 AM

Is small ball primarily (or entirely) a tournament strategy? It seems to stress survival, which is irrelevant in cash games.

#23 Omaha Hi/Lo

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:06 PM

View PostSelfMade, on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007, 4:38 AM, said:

Is small ball primarily (or entirely) a tournament strategy? It seems to stress survival, which is irrelevant in cash games.
No. It can be used and is more useful in cash games than most tournaments because of the deeper stacks. It's not a survival tactic, it's a way to minimize the varience (luck if you will) of poker, which at some points will bite you. By seeing flops and playing poker (putting some one on a hand, representing a hand, etc.) you increase the skill aspect of poker to a high level and make it almost like a game of chess instead of bingo, where one would shove in and wait to see if the 5 cards (the board) help/hurt you, which is gambling and will lead a lot of unnecessary risks that will obviously result negatively a certain percentage of the time. Small ball is not easy to play if you, for lack of a better word, "suck" post flop. If you have a lot of post flop experience then small ball is the perfect way for you to play poker.

#24 slix777

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 08:05 AM

View PostOmaha Hi/Lo, on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007, 11:06 PM, said:

No. It can be used and is more useful in cash games than most tournaments because of the deeper stacks. It's not a survival tactic, it's a way to minimize the varience (luck if you will) of poker, which at some points will bite you. By seeing flops and playing poker (putting some one on a hand, representing a hand, etc.) you increase the skill aspect of poker to a high level and make it almost like a game of chess instead of bingo, where one would shove in and wait to see if the 5 cards (the board) help/hurt you, which is gambling and will lead a lot of unnecessary risks that will obviously result negatively a certain percentage of the time. Small ball is not easy to play if you, for lack of a better word, "suck" post flop. If you have a lot of post flop experience then small ball is the perfect way for you to play poker.
The best characteristic of small ball imho is you give your opponents informatino on what hands you will raise/play with so you automatically cull the players in the pot that don't have strong hands. It keeps people honest and generally makes it a 2 way fight for the pot, given the different levels of understanding what that person might have the flop is a great indicator and it's a perfect strat for slowplay 'n check/raise b/c it's a 2 way pot.

#25 dubiousdrift

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 09:02 AM

View PostDanielNegreanu, on Sunday, August 27th, 2006, 1:15 AM, said:

Small ball, as it relates to poker, is a grind it out style of play that, while still aggressive, doesn't rely on big home run heroics. The small ball tournament approach looks to steadily increase your chip count, while trying to avoid big risks in marginal situations.
How does Small ball play in cash games? I generally prefer regular ring games over tournaments - especially in our small stakes home games. I'm trying to evolve my game from a style that contains more tight/pre-flop big bets to thin the field and big continuation bets on the flop. I had a pretty good run with this style until a couple of the better players at the table started picking me off on a regular basis. Suddenly, I was winning small pots and loosing big pots because I either got out played (pushed off the hand when the big turn & river bets came) or was giving my opponents great implied odds to call pot-sized bets on the flop (pay off wizard to sneaky straights). I'm still up over time (yes, I keep track of all my results) but am making adjustments and trying to mix up my play a bit and I'm forcing myself to play after the flop much more often (thats the only way I'll get better right?). I'm really curious about Small Ball strategy, but nearly every reference to it is in the context of large, deep stack, tournament play. I'm just wondering about the translation to regular ring games. I can't imagine that it's a 1-to-1, but I really don't know. Any comments are really appreciated.Just another student of the game. - dubiousdrift

#26 Omaha Hi/Lo

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:16 AM

View Postdubiousdrift, on Tuesday, February 6th, 2007, 12:02 PM, said:

I'm really curious about Small Ball strategy, but nearly every reference to it is in the context of large, deep stack, tournament play. I'm just wondering about the translation to regular ring games. I can't imagine that it's a 1-to-1, but I really don't know. Any comments are really appreciated.
The strategy one should be using in a large, deep stack tournament should be exactly like that used in a cash game - deep stacks and lots of post flop play. The translation is nearly 1-to-1 if played correctly. As DN has said before, you should not start using the small ball style consistenly unless you have a lot of post flop experience. From what you described as your play style, it is very clear that you are very uncomfortable playing after the flop. If you wish to improve your post flop play, I would reccomend playing a lot of short handed to start out due to the frequency of post flop play with deep stacks.When playing small ball you have to have a lot more acceptance in draw outs. You cannot be constanly afraid that someone is going to draw out on you. It is often more profitable to slow play/weak play a hand, rather than over betting the pot to "protect" your top pair. For example, if you have AQd and the flop is As 8h 9s there are a lot of draws present, but if you check-call while letting someone semi-bluff, or flat call someone who's betting a flush draw you will often get more bets from somebody. BUT, in the event the Ts hits the turn and your opponent starts leading out strong you have to have the ability to drop the hand and wait for another spot. This is the number 1 reason why it should only be used in deep stack situations by good post flop players because you will often have to muck when beat and wait for a better spot. It is a lot of work to play correctly at first, but after a while it becomes habitual.

#27 RiscaRod

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 07:24 AM

If you want to improve post flop play I highly reccomend you start playing pot limit holdem. I firmly believe that pot limit requires more skill, and requires alot of good post flop play.I used to play NL exclusively, but after playing PL I found my post flop play improved dramatically.
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#28 mcamire

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:25 AM

You have to mix your styles up based on a lot of factors in my opinion. When I am short stacked I play more of a long ball style trying to get my chips in with good hands or pick up the blinds. When I have a bigger stack I will tend to play more of a small ball style trying to pick up pots and bust people without having to risk a lot of chips without a hand.

#29 SelfMade

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:35 AM

I asked earlier if small ball applied to cash games, or just tournaments. The part of small ball that values survival definitely doesn't apply to cash games. If a cash player places a value on not busting, he will be beaten by a player that is risk-neutral (just values EV) in the long run. The latter player would have an advantage. I wish Daniel would weigh in with an answer here though. I wonder how his cash game play differs from tournament play in this regard.

#30 maniacinaction4

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:21 PM

View PostSelfMade, on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007, 10:35 AM, said:

I asked earlier if small ball applied to cash games, or just tournaments. The part of small ball that values survival definitely doesn't apply to cash games. If a cash player places a value on not busting, he will be beaten by a player that is risk-neutral (just values EV) in the long run. The latter player would have an advantage. I wish Daniel would weigh in with an answer here though. I wonder how his cash game play differs from tournament play in this regard.
small ball can value survival, but in cash games it can also make you seem like a maniac. So when you flop huge, you'll get paid off in a major way.

#31 James_Katz

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 11:01 PM

View Postgilbertology, on Saturday, August 26th, 2006, 11:38 PM, said:

What if you don't really want action? For example, you have a hand like A8 at a sh table with blinds at 200-400. You have a smallish stack of 3600, so if you raise 3x the bb to 900 and someone reraises all-in you'll be getting almost two to one and will probably have to call. By going all-in, you may get hands like 55-77 and A9 to fold, whereas they may push over the top if you make a standard raise, especially if you've been doing it often as in the small ball approach. Would you recommend raising to 1k in this situation, giving you better odds to fold to an all-in bet?
If you only have 9BB you should be in the all in or fold mode. You might be able to limp and fold to a raise, but usually its just all in with that type of hand.

#32 James_Katz

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 11:14 PM

View Postcheetaking, on Monday, January 1st, 2007, 11:42 AM, said:

I had always been one of those hugely aggressive players who threw away lots of chips by trying to force the pot and getting re-raised a lot just because people knew I was bluffing. I was getting sick of it, so I'm glad that I read this topic. I knew that something was missing from my game, had seen DN check & call a lot before, but never why he did it. Simply by reading the basis behind the strategy, it finally all came together and I had seen a better way to do things. I had to try out the small-ball strategy for myself, and so I did at the .25/.50 tables on PokerStars last night.Well, this is definitely a great strategy. I would have won almost $200 off of my $25 buy-in if I hadn't have made 3 stupid donk bluffs which cost me about half of it, and one or two mis-reads. But the winnings just kept coming... none of the others were good enough to figure out how to beat the strategy, and I finished up $75 after the 2-hour session ended.By the end, the table was eating out of the palm of my hands. They were sick of seeing me in pots, making vast overplays whenever I started betting at them, and I won huge pots all six times that I had monsters by mixing up the slow-roll and fake bluffs and forcing them to overplay.Great stuff you've got here, DN. I'm definitely going to keep trying this out, and see if I can keep the success coming with the small-balling.
Thanks for the post son. I was considering playing small ball at the cash tables and now I will.

#33 bigstack1980

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:44 PM

View Postalmostharmless, on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 3:27 PM, said:

I tend to agree. FWIW, I never liked the "home run" style and never played it much. For a couple of weeks I forced myself to play it just to get the feel of it and stop being intimidated by the all-in, but it's not a style I'm comfortable with.It's one of many reasons I love to watch Dan play. Given that most of the hands you get in hold-em are crap, what Daniel does has shown me a path to getting the most out of the crap. I prefer his play to that of someone like Hansen, because I think Dan is more calculated in what he does. Last night at Doyle's Room I was in a tourney with 288 entered, and made it to 55th (not in the money) while never getting a hand higher than 44 (got it twice). It's kind of tiring having to work that hard, but I survived a lot longer than I would have had I been just waiting for an opportunity for the home-run. You get the edge when you show a winning hand (set of 4s, wrapped a straight) because people see you are playing and winning with less than optimal cards. Occasionally I'll use the "show hand" option if I win a stone bluff just to let folks know I'm capable of that, too.The other thing I've learned to be watchful for is that you can blind yourself down as the blinds go higher going in to see flops that don't hit, or where someone reraises and you don't really feel you can meet the bet. At that point I have to be more conscious of position and limit the range of hands that I'll play (e.g., early on I may play suited gappers, but later on I may look for middle suited connectors only). Of course, all that can change if I have hit some pots and am playing with a meaningful stack.One problem I run into is that after some time thinking "small ball" it's hard to shift gears on a single hand, while I still have a reasonable stack, and say "time to go all-in". So I've gotten into trouble by not going all-in but continuing to play small ball post-flop. Example: last night I limped with A 10 and flopped an A 10 with 2 to a flush. I bet the hand as I would (1/2 the pot) and the flush draw stayed in, hitting on the river. Not a real smart call since his flush was only 10-high, but you get that online. In retrospect that's one I should have gone all-in on at the flop, playing the possibility that the other would fold the draw. At least it's forcing me to learn to think more situationally about the big play.I'm more than happy with the "small ball" style, but understand that at this point in my evolution I need to get a better feel as to when to get aggressive and swing for the fences other than when my back is against the wall. The "small ball" mentality has you thinking about gradual accumulation and conservation (maximize gain, minimize loss), so that situational switch to the home run is (for me at least) easy to miss. The other advantage to having this table image (I play 2- and 4-table tourneys against a lot of the same people regularly) is that when I do go to the home run pre-flop it gets respect because folks know that I only do it with a power hand. This lets me run bluffs, though I can't take advantage of that all too often.On the raising, early I tend to go with 4x BB (blinds 20/40, raise to 200) because it will force out the marginal calling hands and let me isolate. Later I'll drop to 3 and then 2xBB, but I almost always raise if I'm opening the pot unless the blinds are so high as to make that prohibitive or I am coming in after others have limped though there I take the risk that someone is going to bump the pot behind me, so at the higher blinds I always have to ask if I'm able to stand the heat of a pre-flop raise. If so, I'll either limp or make the raise myself. If not, better to sit it out.BTW, none of this will help you if you look for me at Doyle's to use it against me because I don't play there under this name.
Enjoyed the info tyvm...


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#34 DrZoidberg

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 06:45 AM

I recently made the transition from Home run to small ball, and I did notice a huge difference in my ability to go deep in tournaments. Where before I was relying on hitting big cards and winning all in confrontations, now I'll get involved in a lot of smaller pots and look to out play opponents after the flop. While playing Hit to win either works really well, you get lucky and can sometimes just steamroll to a high finish or win, it's unlikely that you're going to get lucky more often then your opponents. Not to mention there's a lot more satisfaction in outplaying hundreds of people, as opposed to just catching good cards.

Damn! Those are some big chips!

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shpongled said, "have you never played omaha before?"

#35 maniacinaction4

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:39 PM

View PostDrZoidberg, on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007, 6:45 AM, said:

I recently made the transition from Home run to small ball, and I did notice a huge difference in my ability to go deep in tournaments. Where before I was relying on hitting big cards and winning all in confrontations, now I'll get involved in a lot of smaller pots and look to out play opponents after the flop. While playing Hit to win either works really well, you get lucky and can sometimes just steamroll to a high finish or win, it's unlikely that you're going to get lucky more often then your opponents. Not to mention there's a lot more satisfaction in outplaying hundreds of people, as opposed to just catching good cards.
The reason I like this style is because when opponents finally get fed up of you playing so aggressively, they'll play back at the wrong time. The other thing is that you don't lose much when you lose a hand. People are going to chase their draws quite often, when they hit, you lose such a small pot. I don't believe in pushing when I know my opponent is, say on a flush draw, because if he hits it, I'm out of the tournament or severly crippled. Tournaments are not cash games where you can take those chances.

#36 Kid DynOmite

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 06:36 AM

View Postgilbertology, on Saturday, August 26th, 2006, 11:38 PM, said:

What if you don't really want action? For example, you have a hand like A8 at a sh table with blinds at 200-400. You have a smallish stack of 3600, so if you raise 3x the bb to 900 and someone reraises all-in you'll be getting almost two to one and will probably have to call. By going all-in, you may get hands like 55-77 and A9 to fold, whereas they may push over the top if you make a standard raise, especially if you've been doing it often as in the small ball approach. Would you recommend raising to 1k in this situation, giving you better odds to fold to an all-in bet?
Daniel's strategy can only be applied to deepstack tournys. If you have no chips, then you can't play small ball obv.
Robbob

#37 maniacinaction4

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:22 AM

View PostKid DynOmite, on Saturday, July 28th, 2007, 6:36 AM, said:

Daniel's strategy can only be applied to deepstack tournys. If you have no chips, then you can't play small ball obv.
This strategy really only works in big buy-in events with slow structures that allow you to play a lot of hands. WPT and WSOPME if those pros played in some smaller tourneys like my local casino, that style is to be thrown into the trash. Blinds go up too quickly to play that style plus you don't start off with a lot of chips. In a beginner's tourney, simply use the beginner's style, long ball poker and play fewer hands simply because the implied odds aren't that great.

#38 mrpossum

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:11 AM

This may appear stupid but small ball cannot be applied in cash games right ?

#39 Ship_itt

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 09:00 PM

View Postgilbertology, on Sunday, August 27th, 2006, 3:38 AM, said:

What if you don't really want action? For example, you have a hand like A8 at a sh table with blinds at 200-400. You have a smallish stack of 3600, so if you raise 3x the bb to 900 and someone reraises all-in you'll be getting almost two to one and will probably have to call. By going all-in, you may get hands like 55-77 and A9 to fold, whereas they may push over the top if you make a standard raise, especially if you've been doing it often as in the small ball approach. Would you recommend raising to 1k in this situation, giving you better odds to fold to an all-in bet?
if you make a raise to 1k with 3600 chips at 200/400 i believe that is an absolute attrocious play. Especially, if you intend on folding in any situation.. You have less than 10 BBs i believe there is no raise for you to make besides all in. Less than 10bbs i am in all in or fold situation..a8 can be shoved in an unopened pot in late position, but i personally would never make it 1k.
QUOTE (Wandigo @ Sunday, March 1st, 2009, 4:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was kinda wondering how I got my 7k stack.. I shoved all-in and went to put pizza rolls in the oven.


QUOTE (Tehtoe @ Sunday, December 13th, 2009, 12:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
if you ever move up from $6 sngs and wanna crossbook vs me lmk, i'd be more than happy to accept.


#40 Jimako03

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:08 AM

It's hard to use the small ball strategy at a live 1-2NL or 2-5NL cash games just because theres a standard raise preflop to 5x - 7x the blind. If you go in there tryin to raise 2x -4x the blind like smallball says, then you are goin to get called by at least 3-5 people every time. What do you do then?




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