Mastering small stakes with Jonathan Little

By Raymond T. Akers

In his latest book, “Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em” (D&B Poker), Jonathan Little spells out what it takes to dominate the kind of games most of us play in: $1/2 to $2/5 no-limit Hold’em and small tournaments.

With 478 pages of detailed information, this volume is a lot to digest. In fact, it would probably take several reads with extensive notes, followed by (as Little often points out) practice, practice, practice. There is little doubt that the results would justify the effort.

“Range” seems to be the key word, not just from Little, but most of the experts these days. The question isn’t, “What does my opponent have?” Rather, it is, “What range of hands can I reasonably assume he might have, based on what has transpired?” Little also looks at the ranges you should play in various situations, and what your opponents might infer from that.

Very few of the many examples feature what you should do with any specific hand in a given situation. He not only looks at the ranges, but adjusts them based on many factors, such as stack sizes, position, and the perceived ability/style of those you’re up against.

The first five chapters are an in-depth exploration of pre-flop strategy, and the next four do the same for post-flop. The writing style is engaging, with Little’s personality coming through to help keep the information overload interesting. One of my favorite parts is the very last paragraph before the final chapter where he says, “While you can be a jerk at the poker table, you will probably find that you enjoy life much more if you are a good, kind person. If you enjoy being a horrible human, you have bigger problems that should be addressed…. Don’t be a jerk.”

If you want to get serious about your no-limit Hold’em game and are willing to put in the work, you can’t go wrong with this new offering from Little, whose resume includes huge cash wins both live and online as well as over $6 million in tournament wins and two World Poker Tour titles.

He’s written a dozen books on poker and operates the poker training sites Poker and FloatThe He can also be found at JonathanLittle

“Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em” is published by D&B Poker ( and is available through all good retailers.