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World Series Of Poker Europe: Scott Fischman

Scott Fischman Talks About His Journey to the London EPT Final Table


Scott FischmanThough still a young man, Scott Fischman is now a seasoned veteran compared to the scores of online tournament players crashing through the ranks. Already the proud holder of two World Series of Poker bracelets, Fischman was in the hunt for one more as Card Player talked to him with 13 players remaining in the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe main event, presented by Betfair. Never afraid to speak his mind, Fischman let us know his frank views on the quality of the opposition, and offered an interesting defence of two controversial concepts — limping in a tournament's latter stages and five-bet bluffing with 10-2 offsuit.

Shane Gittes
: Now that we are down to the final 13 players, talk us through how your day 4 has gone and how you managed to get this far.

Scott Fischman: Well, it's been a rollercoaster, really. I knocked out two players, but they were short-stacked. Both of those were simply a good hand versus good hand, so there wasn't a lot anybody could do. I've played a few big pots in other situations and a couple of bluffs that didn't go well. But the thing is, the table I am on is relatively easy compared to the feature table. So, I bluff away a load of my chips and then I end up getting them right back. Although I can't really seem to go anywhere beyond the 400,000 range — but I'm working on it!

SG: Compared to a lot of the players on your table, you have some significant experience of final tables in big tournaments. Do you plan to try and take advantage of this now we are on the final-table bubble?

SF: The structure in this tournament is really good, so I plan to play the situations more. I don't really have a gameplan set. For me, I don't really care about just making the final table, but I know some guys do, so hopefully that will be a good spot for me to make money. But then, when we get to the final table with the other guys, the field will be really tough. Right now, I feel like I've got a pretty good read on all of the guys at my table, and it's a lot weaker than the other.

SG: When you say the feature table is a lot stronger, which players, in particular, are you talking about?

SF: Daniel [Negreanu], John Juanda, [Soren] Kongsgaard, the other Russian kid with the glasses [Stanislav Alekhin] — everyone really!

SG: During this tournament, we have seen you limp a lot with a very wide range of hands, both good and bad. Why do you employ this somewhat unique strategy instead of open-raising like most players tend to do?

SF: I do limp a lot, especially in tournaments like this where the average stack is fifty big blinds. Really, I'm not trying to steal blinds. Stealing blinds is not the correct strategy in this tournament until perhaps the final table, and definitely not so at any point so far. I want to play pots and I want to stack people. There are so many inexperienced players, and if you take them to the flop, you can stack them. But if you raise and they reraise you, you're going to have to fold because you know what they have. So, if you limp and they raise with their aces, then you can call and take a flop from there.

SG: So it's a small-ball style?

SF: Yes, but it's big small-ball! I'm not trying to keep the pot small, I'm just trying to keep the pots small preflop. On the flop, I don't care how big the pots get.

SG: You were involved in a hand last night that has sparked a lot of debate when you ended up in a huge all-in confrontation with 10-2 against Brian Townsend's pocket kings. Can you explain the reasoning behind that fascinating hand?

SF: The first thing was that the guy in the big blind was the tightest player in the entire world. The first hand on his big blind went raise, reraise, and then a squeeze, which just made me think “wow.” The next round on his blind, it went exactly the same. Everybody knew that this guy's blind was the one to go after, and it was creating a lot of action between Kongsgaard and [Johnny] Lodden, especially.

Anyway, so the next time it was on his blind, I raised with 10-2 to 11,000, and Townsend raised it up to 28,000. And then, on Brian's immediate left, Ivan Demidov made it 56,000. Now, I don't have any previous history with him or anything, but I had him well covered while Brian had just 200,000. When he made it it 56,000, I knew what Ivan was doing. He was willing to call Brian's all-in but not mine. I just knew. Period.

SG: So, your main concern in the hand was Demidov and definitely not Townsend?

SF: With Townsend, if he has a hand, he has a hand. But, you know what, if he has a hand it simply has to be aces or kings. If he doesn't have those, and from what I've heard about him, he may even fold kings there when I make the fourth raise. I just felt it was a really good spot to bluff, as I knew that Ivan was folding. It was unfortunate I ran into Brian with kings, but he thought for fifteen minutes before he called. So, obviously it was the right play by me. That's it. Period.