Your second question is unanswerable. Estimating what the mix of styles in a tournament will be on average is too inflexible an assumption for any strategic use. Your first question is more interesting and problematic. Can we play small-ball poker in a cash-game? Yes, but it takes far greater personal involvement from the player, and frankly doesn't lead to vastly improved results. It's more useful against smarter opponents, but the poker community represents a bell curve of skill. Unless you're playing the top few percent, it's rarely going to matter. Seriously.
Read on if you're interested in my reasoning.
The short version
Considering most game dynamics in cash games, I advocate playing slightly larger than small-ball, and don't overdo the aggression. That may sound arbitrary, but you'll soon know what I mean when your opponents won't let you play a small pot with any high frequency, and are constantly testing your weak bets and small raises with re-raises and all-ins when you inevitably have weak hands. Big pots impact your win rate differently in cash, and small-ball will make it an incredibly difficult path to tread, where one mistake will be close to unrecoverable.
If your opponent is too aggressive, it's not so bad to small-ball. Try to play a wider range, but stick to being aggressive when you have a value-hand.
The long version
Almost all things in poker come down to frequencies. Either you're doing something too much, or not enough. e.g. you fold too much, you call too little, etc. It's easy to call it balance.
Small-ball, and conversely, big-ball strategies are about these frequencies. Small ball advocates you play a wider range, and play it more, perhaps very aggressively. Big-Ball poker advocates the opposite, tighter although not overly passive.
In the linked article we see this...
"Small-ball poker benefits from players who call you down with
mediocre hands because they do not give you credit for holding a
We can flip that statement to this...
"Big-ball poker benefits from players who fold to you with mediocre
hands because they do give you credit for holding a strong hand."
Both of these statements concern your image, and using it deceptively. That's not a narrow subject. Without maths, that's about all of poker! Finding the balance between them is good poker.
Small-ball in my mind has its place, correctly, in tournament poker. The majority of anyones time in a tournament is short-stacked (less than 50bb). That's about all . How often do you have 100bb or more at a tournament table? How often does more than one player have that? At your table? The answer is rarely.
There is a perpetual mindset of survival in tournament poker, which isn't there with cash games. Although it's useful to know who's scared of losing and who isn't at any table type, the result is definitive in a tournament. When you bust, that's it, game over. Extracting bluffs in this environment is more difficult than average.
This pot-to-stack ratio issue, and this survival mindset, lead to inevitably poor implied odds in a tournament for each hand. Which is why playing a high frequency, high aggressive style will reap greater dividends in this case. The idea that you steal small pots very often, balances the negative effects of increasing blinds and dwindling stack sizes. If you get in a pot for stacks, it's unusual without two big hands showing up. Small-ball wins the day.
If a tournament is about survival, then a cash game is about opulence. In cash, big pots are king. Implied odds are far more important.The small pots are just for positioning your image. Small pots are crucial, but they are not the desired outcome like in tournaments.
Try this out. If you track your stats, filter for your own hands where you won/lost <5BB; 5-15BB; 15-40BB; 40-65BB; >65BB. Look at where you're earning your profit from. Invariably, big pots are where most profit comes from. What you're likely to see is that big pot profitability bears a striking resemblance to your overall profitability. Gear your game to focus on deceiving your opponents into big-pot mistakes and you'll improve your win-rate. You might say that "By winning small pots, I'm setting them up for a big one later, right?". True, but the frequencies you represent by playing small-ball will mean you have to adjust your understanding of what is a big hand for you now. Your value hands later will have thinner equity than what is usually considered value for a TAG, e.g sets, straights, flushes, etc. You'll have to be ready take down medium and large pots with top pair-mid kicker type hands, regularly, to cover your losses and avoid being exploited by the inevitable increase in bluffs you are faced with.
From my experience, there are better ways to crush poker than using a small ball strategy in a cash game.