The fishtank part 23

Live, online, tournaments, cash games – Scott Fischman has proved he’s a master of all trades

No show

When a hand has gone to the river and all remaining players check (or have bet an equal amount) who should show their hand first and should all players be made to show their hands? When playing at a tournament recently, I turned over my hand and the other two players folded their cards. Having gone to the end of the hand surely I should be able to see their hands. This also happens online, when players’ cards are sometimes shown but not at other times. If you’re not required to show your cards, who has to show first?

Kevin Haselden

SF: There are different rules for this in every casino. The most common variation of the rule is that on the river, if Player A bets and is called, then Player A must show his hand first. If there’s no bet on the river, then the first to act is first to show. To answer the part about seeing a losing hand, if Player A bets and gets called, and then Player B folds without showing, any player involved in the pot may ask to see the hand; however, this rule was put in place to prevent collusion not to ‘get a read’. Many cardrooms have a multitude of different rules in place to help prevent the abuse of this rule.

When playing online, the reason why you sometimes see losing hands and sometimes don’t is that if a player bets the river and gets called by a better hand, his hand will automatically open because he is first to show. If the player who makes the river bet has the best hand, it will open and the loser then has the option to show or not. If the losing player doesn’t show, on some sites you can still see their cards in the hand history.

Big push

What package of hands would you push all-in with when short-stacked in mid-position in an STT against fairly aggressive players. Recently I’ve moved in with small pairs or low suited connectors and wound up being beaten. Should I hang on for better starting hands at the expense of having a smaller stack to move all-in with?

Chris Marsh

SF: There are no set rules on what hands to play in spots like that. When I play sit-and-gos, my decision on when to push is based on pretty much everything but the cards. It depends on the other players at the table, my stack size in relation to everyone else’s, as well as the blinds and a variety of other things. My book, Online Ace, would be useful to you, as I talk about these factors in great detail.

Your call

The situation
Aussie Millions: AU$10,000 buy-in
Day 2, level 3: blinds 800/1600
Your chips: 40,000

I’m short-stacked compared to the table and in the big blind for 1600 of my 40,000 stack. The fairly solid player in first position raises to 5500, Gus Hansen calls from early position, a player in late position also calls, and so does the SB. It’s on me and I look down at A-Jos. There’s 23,600 already in the pot and I have 38,400 left. In this situation do you call, fold, or raise and why? Does it affect your decision knowing this is the televised feature table? Why or why not?

The answer

At this point, I felt that my best move was to push all-in, in order to pick up the dead money in the pot and to possibly double-up even if I was called. In retrospect, I should have considered my options a little more closely. These are:

• Fold. This is certainly an option here. A player has raised from under the gun, and has not shown to be a very loose or unruly player. Gus [Hansen] has called from a rather early position and, despite his big chip stack and loose image, still indicates he could have a strong hand. I have A-J offsuit, which is a good hand, but will most likely be behind if I’m called and will often be dominated. Perhaps I should have folded this trouble hand and kept my cool long enough to slowly build back some chips.

• Call. Because A-J is a trouble hand, but still strong, calling is a viable option. I may choose to continue in the hand if I flop an Ace or a Jack depending on my opponents, and obviously I will commit all my chips if I flop something very big like two-pair, trips, or a straight. Again, A-J is a trouble hand and should be played cautiously, especially out of position.

• Raise. I decided to raise to take a tough decision off my shoulders and put it in the hands of the other players. If everyone folded I would pick up a healthy pot uncontested, and this was my hope. What I hadn’t thought about was that I would almost certainly be called, if not by the original raiser, then by Gus because of his sizable stack and the odds that the pot was giving him because of the other callers in the hand.

Looking at the hand again, it’s difficult to determine which of these plays is ultimately the best. I think the fact that this was the televised feature table probably leaned me towards the more aggressive play, when maybe I should have taken more time to think about my options.

So… I pushed, the action folded to Gus who called quickly with A-Q offsuit, and that was the end of my tournament. A hand like this is a good example of how there is never one correct way to play a certain hand – it all depends on the situation.

The Winner

Lots of you said you’d fold, which as Madsen admits, may have been the correct decision with hindsight. But that’s not what he did and and it’s not what Tom Alner would have done, who advocates moving in. ‘I would definitely be shoving my chips in pre-flop. This looks like a prime time to make a squeeze play re-raising all-in for an extra 34,500… you can practically double up if everyone folds. The fact that I was on the feature table would probably make me more apt to make the play as people won’t want to be seen on TV calling off chips without premium hands. It’s a gamble but the sort of hand that defines your tournament.’

Next time

Spiro Mitorkostas is a high stakes online player, who also made WPT and WSOP fi nal tables in 2006. Think you can play like him? If so, send in your answer and win a chipset.

The situation
Borgata, Atlantic City – $5,000 no-limit Hold’em 15,000 starting chips
Day 1, Level 1: 25/50 blinds, fourth hand

A player under the gun raises to 150 and everyone folds to me in the cut-off. I call with A-7, the button calls, the blinds fold and the pot is 525. Flop comes 10-6-3. UTG player bets 450, I call with my nut flush draw and the button calls. The pot is now 1875. The turn brings 2, giving me the nuts. UTG player bets 1500, I flat-call with the nuts, but the button raises to 5000. After about three minutes the UTG player calls the 5000… What do I do now?

Send your answers to – the best one wins a chipset. Find out what Spiro did next month.

Pin It

Comments are closed.