Playing against a maniac
There are times online when you'll run across a player who is playing reckless. Maybe he's drunk, maybe hes spounting 15 hand histories where he got outdrawn by royal flushes. It doesnt really matter. Alot of players, even good ones, lose money to these people and it amazes me. I sat at a table last nite of 10/20 and a maniac was to my right...he said he was drunk. He is pushing his money in with awful odds
, changing the table's dynamic drastically. What amazed me was not how bad he was playing, but how bad he was forcing otherwise probably good players to play down to him. With the exception of a few seated (plum and iceman come to mind), he was making others play awful.
When you come across a maniac, you should follow advice I once read from Mike Caro:
Check/Call more, Raise or bet less.
That is the secret to playing a maniac. Pick ur spots and go. One also needs to remember to only raise when you expect/want to be reraised. Don't bluff unless the pot is small and the maniac appears disinterested. Bluffing a maniac is probably the worst move you can make in poker. Why force him to give his chips away in an uncertain scenario when he is so willing to give them to you for free? Alot of people think hes playing aggressive, and thats the style of winning poker, so i gotta be more aggressive. This is flawed. If he is pushing all in, wait for your hand and go if he outdraws you so be it. That being said, I also changed my game alot at this table. My new strategy went as follows:
I was on the left of the maniac. He raised literally every pot, so I limited my call range to AK, suited Aces, and pocket pairs. Big pocket pairs id repot (raise him back the pot) and play the flop cautiously. Do not get married to ur big pairs while playing a maniac. I basically played hands that could either draw to the nuts or close to it, or be easily discarded. At one point, even tho im usually fairly loose, i folded 42 hands in a row. I dont think ive ever folded 10 in a row let alone 42! But i had a strategy and i was going with it.
A glaring contrast could be seen by how i was playing him and how another player who lost his stack to him played him. Ill call the player Player A and the maniac Player M.
Player A was to my left, sat for a while playing tight, seemed to be playing conservative to counteract the maniac. This is good. The maniac raised to the pot utg, and Player A picked up KK. He probably got very excited...this was his double up hand. Though he repoted, like i would, he made a fatal flaw and did not play the flop CAUTIOUSLY. Everyone folded and the maniac called.
A dangerous flop for KK. The maniac checked, and Player A bet the pot (400)
The maniac immediately reraised all in for 5000.
*An important note is that the maniac did this earlier with 10 10 to all undercards, i called him with QQ and took down a 10k pot, Player A may have seen this.
Player A instantly called proud to flip his KK.
Player M showed 6 7 off suit for the made straight
the turn was a blank and player A was drawing dead off what he thought was his double up hand.
If player A plays the hand cautiously, he still loses the pot, but maybe only 1000.
In contrast, Player M raises on the button to the pot. I pick up QQ in the SB, so I repot with my strategy. Everyone folds to him and he completes. Flop is J74 but all diamonds. I check he checks. Turn is a diamond, I check he bets 300 and i fold. I lost 240 dollars perhaps being ahead, but i wasnt sure. Against a maniac you have to be sure. Using my strategy I walked from the table with 14.5k.
When you see someone playing a maniac style, smile, grab a 6pack, play hands that draw to the nuts, and raise only when you want to be reraised. Chances are his stack won't last long. Patience is the real key to taking down a maniac's style. Hope this helped anyone who runs across one in the future.
any feedback on my (dont know if its revolutionary) new strategy with hand selections being very specific to suited Aces, pocket pairs, AK and big pairs would also be welcomed I haven't seen this written anywhere so i thought it'd be an interesting topic.