Mike Madasow coined the phrase (in my mind) recently at the WSOP. Small ball is a VERY important and overlooked strategy. It is a great way to deal with donkey drawers and people that call 20xBB bets with Ax and crack QQ. The idea is to aggressively attack pots post flop, while trying to keep pre-flop betting. In other words, QQ is no longer a great starting hand, but a pocket pair that needs to hit a set or be an overpair. AFTER the flop, you attack, especially if there is no Ace. But NOW, if your the donkey and you hit the Ace on Ax and are worried about your kicker, you either get pushed out of the pot or "give away" the fact that you have the Ace by calling.
Never get all your money in pre-flop, instead avoid the MIS (move in specialsts) and let them have their hands.
AFTER the flop, evaluate the texture and the number of players in, and attack. If the pot starts to get big, then you must be ahead to continue to play. If you can keep the pot small, you can read you opponent(s) and decide what is in your best interest.
Small Ball works when a couple of situations exist. The first is that there is no LAG at your table. If there is one, you'll need to pick him off once or twice and slow him down. The second is that you have to be a good post flop player. You have to be willing to see a flop with TT, knowing full well that it might mean mucking the hand if the flop is nasty. And three, you need to make high value river bets when the board shows broken draws. (You can also bluff someone who is chasing you down with AX when the flush card comes on the river. Ax players know the flush draw very well as its their favorite hand. They WILL notice and often muck TP to a big river bet that makes a 3 flush.)
It is a scary existance, but there is a funny effect of doing it. You will start to control the table. Not because you are TAKING control, but rather the other players will subconciously start to relinquish control. They will view you as a superior player to themselves as they can't seem to win a big pot against you, only small ones. Small Ball wages a "winter campaign in Russia" against them, wearing them down and destroying their resolve. Frustration sets in and they make major blunders on marginal hands.
Small ball only really works when the stacks are deep and the level generous, like at the WSOP. But it is definetly worth putting into your bag of tricks. You can practice this by playing PL instead of NL once in a while and practicing the adjustments that need to be made.