I’m going to step out of my article writer costume and talk about my personal experiences playing poker. I’ve been playing online poker for about 11 or 12 years now. I really don’t remember the exact date that I began playing. I’d say that it was around the time Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event. Like a lot of other people, I was introduced to online poker at that time. Before then, I played poker with friends while hanging out and having a few beers. It wasn’t competitive and we only played for pennies. Back then the games were just an excuse to get together with a bunch of friends and have a few drinks.
What does this have to do with advanced poker strategy? Basically, I’m laying the groundwork to say that I know what I’m talking about. I’ve played against many players online and have watched the best of the best. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned from them in this article. I’ve been playing online poker for over a decade and I’ve seen one consistent strategy win over that time. It’s a type of strategy that you’ve come up against and probably lost quite a bit of money to.
The strategy that I’m talking about is small ball. Small ball is where you try to see as many flops as possible. The thing is, you don’t play with any two cards. You play with suited hands and connectors. The real goal is to hit flushes and straights. Plus, you may also pair your hole cards as well. The more flops you see, the higher the chance of hitting something. It also gives you to be ability to keep your opponents guessing as to what hand you have. If you sit around waiting for big pocket pairs, everyone at the table will know you’ve got a big hand. Playing small ball means the other players won’t be able to put you on a hand.
Let the action come to you when playing small ball. Keep in mind that you want to see as many flops as possible. You’re also going to want to disguise the strength of your hand. Did you just hit your flush? Don’t be afraid to check in hopes of someone else betting, especially against aggressive players. You can come over top of them and they may even think you’re bluffing.
You’re trying to get your opponent to put as many chips in the pot as possible
Keeping them on their toes means they’re not going to know what you have. They may even think you’re trying to steal the pot. If that’s the case they’ll certainly reraise you and maybe even go all-in.
Daniel Negreanu is by far the best small ball poker player out there. Study his game and you’ll learn how to play small ball. He is exactly the most difficult type of player that you’ll ever come across. The reason is, no one can ever put him on a hand. He sees a lot of flops and plays suited hands and connectors. If you emulate his game, you’ll win big both online and offline. Playing small ball will raise your poker IQ in every way possible. This is because you’ll see many more flops, which will translate into experience. The one thing that’s invaluable in poker is experience. You need to play hands and study how others react with each other. Playing poker is the only way you’re ever going to be good at the game. That’s not going to happen if you wait around for pocket aces all day long.
Learn how to play small ball by lessening the stakes somewhat. Play in cheaper tournaments or cash games with a lower buy-in. By doing so you’ll give yourself the opportunity to get used to playing this style of poker. You’ll want to see a lot of flops and don’t be afraid to fold. Chasing can be deadly when playing small ball. You’ve got to learn how to fold your hands and not get into trouble. Small ball can be rewarding and the top poker players like Daniel Negreanu are living proof of that.