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There is a style of poker called small ball. Negreanu has a book on it.

What is small ball and when is it effective?

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I will not accept my own answer.

Small ball is a strategy to protect the down side (losses). It is most effective in a tournament where getting stacked means you are out. In the Independent Chip Model (ICM) a chip you lose is worth more than a chip you win. It takes some of the variance out.

You also hear the term pot control. Keep the pot size down unless you have the nuts or are very sure you are ahead.

Negreanu will still play aggressive but with smaller bets. Since he plays a wider range you have to give him credit for hitting a lot of flops.

I heard Daniel Negreanu on a final table say this is the first time I have been all in the entire tournament.

Poker in general has moved towards smaller raise size pre flop - e.g. 2.5 BB raise and more limping.

Just call a raise pre where you might have raised.

The down side is need to play pot control on a monster - up to a point. If you just call with AA pre from mid and it gets raised behind you then OK to get it in pre.

Ironically small ball has a wider range. The idea is to play more speculative type hands like suited connectors that when they hit they are likely good. Put your money in with low risk. See a lot of flops cheap.

The plan is to stack a player that thinks a set is good when you have a 1 gap straight. Many amateurs will overplay top pair.

Need to have relatively big stacks to play these speculative type hands. Like 30 BB. When you get down to 20-30 BB need to play small stack strategy.

You need to have good post flop play. This is one reason it works so well for Negreanu. When you see him live he is not on small ball as much as by the time you get to televised the blinds have gone up. And he is against better players that don't want to let him see a flop cheap.

By betting like 2/3 pot on made hands and bluffs the price of bluffs goes down.

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