The fishtank part 8

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


I’ve been sitting down to play $1-$2 no-limit cash games with $150. I usually play fairly looseaggressive and average a 30 percent profit from a couple of hours play. It’s not big bucks but I’m still learning the ropes. Would you recommend multitabling at the same level to build up my bankroll or should I step up to play a higher (albeit still relatively low) limit game where I can still focus my attention on one game?

Ben Rogers

SF: I recommend experimenting. Try multi-tabling at the same limits and see how your profit varies. I would only advise adding one table at a time, becoming comfortable with that, and then adding another when you feel ready. If you want to try playing higher limits, just be aware that the players in those games may or may not be of a different calibre and you may need to adjust your game accordingly. I do not, however, advise stepping up to a higher limit and putting your entire bankroll on the line.

High speed

I got your Online Ace book and am applying your strategies to sit-and-gos, but wanted to know what you thought about turbo tables? A lot of sources – like this magazine – have told me to ignore them as they take away the skill factor and become more of a lottery, but what do you think? Would you use the same strategy you apply for standard sit-and-gos?

Lee Jones

SF: It might be a little harder in turbo tournaments, but upon further investigation, you may find that these strategies work even better in them.

I can tell you that in the rare free time that I get these days, when I hop into a session with the intent of sit-and-go play, I mostly play turbos. What I’ve found (and this may vary greatly depending on the size of the buy-in) is that other players feel they need to gamble more. Obviously, taking the opposite side of that strategy would be optimal. What happens is that you reach the different stages I talk about in my book at different times and with a different number of players around. For example, if in a normal single-table tournament, the middle period has four-to-six players left and the end is the last four players, the turbo might have the middle stage happening at sixto- eight players and the end being the last five players.

Of course, the more you play the more you’ll get a feel for this; it comes down more to the size of the stack in relation to the blinds, more than how many players are left. Also, don’t forget the obvious adjustment of being in all-in mode with eight players left will be a lot tougher then being in all-in mode with only four players left. You may not get a lot of good ‘spots’ to steal and push, since every player is forced into this survival mode and may be forced to call more often. Once you’re more comfortable with this strategy, I think you’ll find yourself winning a lot of turbos.

Your call

The situation
Mandalay Bay: $1,500 buy-in; 300 entrants; 3000 starting chips

Scott’s hand
9 – 8

Second level, blinds 50-100, and I have 11,000 chips. I limp in with 9-8 off-suit in middle position. The player on the button has 4500 and limps in. Small blind completes, and the big blind checks.

Both blinds have about 2500 each. The fl op comes 6 -10 -7, giving me the nuts. The blinds check. I bet 200 into a pot of 400. The player on the button calls. The small blind folds, while the big blind hesitates, looking confused, and finally decides to call. The turn card is 9 . At this point the big blind pushes all-in for 2300. The pot size was 1000. It’s my turn to act with 2300 to call and one player behind me with 4300. The question is, what do you do and why?

The answer

SF: I actually folded the hand. At this point I’m thinking I’m beaten by J-8, which is unlikely for either of my opponents to hold, but possible. Given the big blind’s reaction before his call on the fl op, I’m fairly certain he has some sort of weakish draw, which could defi nitely include J-8, because he could have had a gutshot. However, I’m ruling out J-8 because he pushed all-in, and I don’t think he’d do that with the nuts.

So what do I put him on? In my mind, the most common options are 6-8 or 7-8, giving him a pair on the fl op with a gutshot. Two-pair is also fairly likely, 7-9 or 9-10. His push on the turn fi ts this because it’s a scary board and there’s a fl ush draw out there. So my conclusion is that most of the time, he has the same hand as me, some of the time he has two-pair, and rarely he has me beat. It’s 2300 for me to call and there’s still one more person to act and I’m not sure what I put him on. It’s possible he has a fl ush draw, a set or possibly the J-8. I’m currently sitting on a stack of 11k and I’ve got huge control of the table. For that reason I don’t want to call an additional 2300 (with the possibility of the player behind me pushing all-in for another 2000) in a situation where, most of the time, the best case scenario is a chop of 1000.

I fold, the player behind me folds and the big blind doesn’t show. On the break I ask him what he had and he tells me he had an Eight, giving him the same hand as me. I was happy with my decision to fold and it shows that even though you might be almost certain you have the best hand, you don’t have to call. The size of your stack and your risk vs reward makes this a spot where folding is defi nitely the best thing to do.


A very tricky hand and out of the hundreds of entries we received no one actually chose to fold the hand. Mark McAndrew was the closest and his thought process mirrored Scott’s right down to the fi nal decision, when he deicded to push all-in, fearing the possibility of the J-8. For his extremely detailed answer and analysis we think he’s close enough to take the chips.

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