This is a discussion on Playstyle Question, Smallball? within the online poker forums, in the Learning Poker section; I haven't played poker in a really long time, but I remember when smallball used to be a trending, profitable way of playing. Does anyone
Just kidding...lol... I am a bit of an "old schooler" myself... so probably not the feedback you are looking for... nonetheless, I will give my two cents...
Afforded a preference, I prefer to play tight, win smaller pots, pick-up a small bluff, here and there, biding my time waiting for bigger hands and bigger opportunities. If my chipstack starts to fall behind the average chipstack by let's say 50%, it is time to be a little more aggressive and take some chances. Chip-up or Chip-out!
There are a lot of aggressive players out there these days, just have to identify them and set them up when you have the goods. I know for sure, you cannot win the game early, but you sure can lose it! Also, as long as you can survive, you can make up a lot of positions late!
I do not know what the term "smallball" means. I think every player should start with freerolls. That is, you must first create a bankroll by playing in freerolls, and only then start playing in cash games or tournaments.
I myself like using small ball as my in game strategy, the problem is other players at the table are reckless and raise the pot all-in thus negating small ball forcing a coin flip at minimum best to call the allin.
I'll generally play small ball at the start of a tournament while I'm figuring out how the rest of the table is playing. I'll then start to ramp it up but by bit as I go along.
One time, that I'm noticing more and more lately, is that a small bet on the river for value will be increasingly raised by opponents as I assume they think they small bet is either a bluff or weakness. The opponents who raise my small river bets will generally at least have a piece of the board so I can happily call off in most situations if I have a good hand but not the nuts and can 3bet raise or shove with the nuts and get called quite a lot as they have hit the board and probably feel somewhat committed as they added chips on the river when they didn't need to. Very effective at the micros although I'm not sure how far up the buyin ladder that would continue to work