The fishtank part 9

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


I’m having a problem knowing what to do when I pick up a big hand (A-K, A-Q), and miss the flop. If I’m the initial aggressor I usually play by the textbook and make the standard continuation bet, but if I’m then raised should I lay it down? Or, if I’m flatcalled and the turn brings no further help, should I bet out again or just check? Obviously, this is all relative to stack levels and number of players left, but any general advice would be appreciated.

James Walker

SF: In general, I would say betting after the flop, even if you missed, is not a bad idea. However, if you are re-raised, you must be able to throw it away. Most people overplay A-K and A-Q, which are both great hands pre-flop, but if you don’t hit the flop, they lose a lot of their value. If you sense the other player is weak, you can also try to check-raise. The bottom line is that you must be able to lay down the hand in a tournament situation. At times, I will go all-in with those hands, but don’t like calling an all-in with them.


Where do you stand on accessories at the poker table? I like to wear shades when I’m playing but my mates give me a really hard time saying that I look like an idiot. I know Doyle Brunson has said that they shouldn’t be allowed at the table if poker wants to develop as a professional sport, but I watch poker on TV and it seems like half the pros wear them and half don’t. What do you think?

Saeed Ahmed

SF: I think it’s a matter of preference. I wear sunglasses occasionally, not necessarily to prevent others from seeing my eyes, but more to allow me to observe my opponents without them knowing. So much of poker is about having an edge and gathering information – anything that helps you to accomplish that is advantageous.


I’ve been playing a lot of multitable tournaments recently and seem to keep getting unlucky. However, seeing as I know luck evens out over time I started thinking it might be me doing something wrong. A good example was last night. It was a 400-man tournament and it was about one-third of the way through, with the blinds at 50/100 (starting stacks of 2000 and I was doing okay, with about 3000 chips). I was on a 10-man table, sitting four from the big blind. I was dealt pocket Kings, there were two calls and a raise to 250 before me. So I raised to 1250 to try and isolate the single raiser, and everyone folded round to him, at which point he moved all-in. I called (he had a bigger stack) and he flipped Queens and hit a third on the turn to knock me out. Now I know I got my money in with the best hand, but should I be risking all of my chips pre-flop with a bigger stack or waiting for less confrontational pots where I can chip away and keep increasing the level of my stack, as I’d been doing successfully for a good couple of hours? Basically then, am I moving in too much and thus opening myself to the possibility of losing to an outdraw?

Chris Morgan

SF: That just sounds like a bad beat to me! I don’t think most players would be able to lay down pocket Kings pre-flop and being called by Queens puts you in good shape. Especially in the type of tourney you described, where you want to accumulate chips and give yourself a chance to win. Over the long-term, you’ll win in that situation, and that’s what poker is about: making good decisions and ‘getting your money in good’. The rest is down to luck.

Your call

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The situation

Bellagio Cup: $10,000 buy-in
Day One, Level Four – Blinds 150/300
Your chips: 45,000

I raise to 800 with K -3 in late position after everyone folds round to me and the small blind calls. (Back in Level One I played a hand against him where he raised pre-flop with Q-Q. I called with J-10. The flop came Jack-high, I checked, he bet big and I called. A blank came on the turn – I checked, he bet big and I called. Another blank turned up on the river – I checked, he checked and showed Queens. After that he didn’t play a hand for four hours.) He now has approximately 20,000 in chips. The big blind folds so we’re heads-up. The flop comes K-4-5 rainbow. He checks, I bet 900 and he raises to 3000. I call and the turn pairs Kings. He bets 4500 and I call. The river comes 9 and he pushes for 12,000. What do you do and why?

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