The fishtank part 1

Two-time WSOP winner Scott Fischman has joined the team and is here every month to
answer your questions


I’m keen to play in more live tournaments but the only ones near me are held at a local casino and I don’t like the structure. They all allow for unlimited rebuys for the first two hours, which means everybody plays like a maniac. You get someone going all-in almost every hand, quite often playing blind, and you hardly ever get to see a flop for the price of a big blind.

People don’t care about buying back in either – the record buy-in was 30 times in the first two hours. Is there a way to beat these tables without spending hundreds of pounds? Even if you play tight and wait for premium hands you usually get so many callers you’re not nearly as big a favourite as you should be. It seems the game of poker is rendered almost meaningless against these crazed players who are happy to call or raise any bet with any two cards.

Paul Lester

SF: There are two ways to beat the rebuy tournament. One option you have is to commit yourself to only one buy-in and give yourself a monster overlay. You’re not going to win very often with this choice, but when you do get lucky your payoff will be pretty big compared to your buy-in. However, it’s not much fun to play this way and you’re not going to learn much because you won’t have many choices when you’re playing – you’ll be playing ultra-tight and you’ll find yourself either all-in or folding for most of the tourney.

On the other side of the coin, you can invest a good amount of money – or at least be prepared to. A lot of players – myself included – like to gamble during the rebuy period to ensure they’ve got a really healthy stack when the rebuy period is over. And yes, playing all-in blind can be correct in certain circumstances during a rebuy period!

Remember that even though the buy-in might be small, it doesn’t mean it’s a small tournament. You should definitely consider the size of your bankroll before playing a rebuy tourney. If you’re ready to play, I assure you there’s plenty of value in playing either one of these styles – try each of them and choose whichever one makes you more comfortable.

In it to win it

I’ve been playing multi-table tournaments at The Gutshot in London and online with fields of about 100 or more, and find that I’m consistently going out in, say, 16th or 18th place and failing to make the money. Although I play a tightaggressive style most of the time, I find that I’ve rarely got enough chips to afford to play and lose a hand or two in the latter stages when the blinds are high. It’s usually a case of going all-in with the first decent hand I get. Any suggestions?

Craig Jakeman

SF: You need to work on some gear changes. Playing tight all the time will only get you so far. I think what works best for me in the type of tourneys you’re playing is kind of a ‘loose-tightloose’ strategy. At the beginning of the tourney, play somewhat loose with about 25 percent of your starting stack and try to build up some chips.

If this works continue to fire away and play lots of hands. If you get caught and lose some chips slow down a bit and play pretty tight in the middle of the tourney and wait to double up. Towards the end of the tourney you need to loosen up again and steal a lot. Don’t be afraid to go broke and don’t try to make the money. Try to win! At Dolly Parton the end of the tournament, remember not to let yourself get too short-stacked.

Any time you have less then eight big blinds or so you should be pushing in without looking at your cards in certain spots. Do not give yourself a chance to blind out of the tourney with no chance to win.

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