• August 21, 2020

Small Ball Vs Home Run: Contrasting Styles of Poker

There are roughly two poles in the way people approach poker – small ball and home run. The differences between the two are about what you’d think – small ball is looking to build a stack through picking up minor pots, and a lot of them, while home run hitters look to crush the huge pots and let the small ones pass. Below are some more differences to help you understand what approach you might prefer.

Approach to the game preflop.
Small ball players are looking to play many hands as cheaply as possible; either limping or making small bets (2-3x BB) in attempt to play as many small-medium sized pots as possible; they look to superior postflop play and position as their weapons of choice in playing a profitable game. Home run hitters don’t play quite as many hands as the small ball players, but make the pots bigger, in comparison, by raising larger amounts (4-10x BB) and making aggressive three bets in hopes of building monster pots preflop in excess of 50+ BB’s. They want to put players to difficult decisions for their stacks as early in the hand as possible in hopes of winning big pots; they understand, however, that the frequency of pots that they win will be much lower than the small ball player; they just want to win the two-three huge pots in a session to make their profit from Malaysia esports betting and odds.

Approach to the game postflop.
Once small ball players reach the flop, they look to make many continuation and probe bets, playing aggressive poker and taking many pots down without opposition on the flop. They will frequently play hands past the flop, based on the small size of the bets and number of players involved in the pots, so most small ball players are experts in the understanding of multi-way pots and turn/river play. Home run hitters are less lax in their postflop play; if they hit, expect a stiff, pot sized (or bigger) bet into the flop, or a quick check if they brick the flop. Home run hitters are usually straight forward players, although a few of the more wild Home Run Hitters may make the stiff bet postflop with much more marginal hands, firing pot on the flop with AK on a 449 board, using the inflated pot as leverage in making people fold hands like 88 and 109 in the face of looming larger bets on the turn and river. Home Run Hitters usually end decisions in the hand on the flop, either by winning the pot right there or getting their stack in the middle.

Advantages of both styles.
The small ball style will allow you to practice pot control and keep you losses to a minimum when you do run into monster hands, but it’s hard to build large pots when playing the small ball style, meaning when you do make monster hands of your own, it’ll be harder to build the type of pot that’ll win you someone’s stack. The Home Run style let’s you simplify your decisions from start to finish; always making bruising big bets, punishing players who like to draw against you with imposing, pot sized bets that force players to decisions for their stacks much more often than the small ball style. The problem comes when you do run into monster hands; you’ve already invested such a large chunk of chips with your preflop/flop play, that sometimes, you’re forced to run headfirst into unbeatable hands without an escape hatch. This can cause huge problems if you pick a bad night to run into sets and big pairs, but if you’re running good, you’ll be winning stacks left and right. Simply put; your variance as a small ball player will be much lower than your variance as a Home Run Hitter, but you won’t have the massive wins that he will.


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