20 years of poker experience (tips) Pt. 2 Maniacs at the table


Marc Padula

Rising Star
Hello! If you have missed my first post it contains some helpful tips on the following subjects: Game size & card strength / bluffing / Randomization / Aggression. (Title: "3 tips from a 20 year veteran. NL Hold'em)

Today I'll be discussing how to counter maniacs at the table. Meaning, people who are HYPER aggressive. (Thanks Quick, for the topic.)

First, and perhaps the most important thing, positioning. If at ALL possible, you want to sit IMMEDIATELY to their left. I realize this is both obvious and seldom possible. But, if it IS possible, make sure you take any seat to their left. This gives you a rather large advantage, primarily because when you DO hit a decent hand, the maniac acting before you is inflating your pots. Yum!

Second, pre-flop play is very important. Personally, I like to play MOST of my hands extremely slow pre-flop. This is for a couple of reasons: if you re-raise them HUGE with your KK/AA you are cutting the rope the maniac MIGHT hang himself with. Secondly, maniacs DEPEND on luck. If you re-raise them with a hand like AQ, and they have K9, you are inflating this pot with only a slight edge; and, against a maniac, you can find a better spot with a little patience. (Note: MOST of my raises pre-flop, when a maniac is at the table, are designed to thin out the field and isolate me and the maniac. They are NOT designed to make the maniac fold, as if he would anyways.)

Also, against a maniac I drastically INCREASE my pre-flop calling range. I think MOST people tighten up pre-flop, but I'm JUST the opposite. I call the maniacs bet's pre-flop, and if I hit top-pair or better, I'm riding out the storm.

Here's a good "general" rule: maniacs have a wide range of cards, and because they raise with any two cards it's hard to "read" them or put them on a hand. So, typically I'll approach a hand with them as if it were a heads-up match. For example, sometimes middle pair is worth calling all the way down to the river, and, on MOST boards, top-pair DEFINITELY is.

Last thing for today, maniacs have a DISTINCT advantage over certain types of players:
1.) Scared money: If you are scared to go all-in and lose, the maniac has you RIGHT where he wants you. His bet's will put pressure on you, and pressure can dilute your judgement.
2.) Short bankrolls: If you don't have enough money to engage him, don't play. (Unless you are specifically "taking a shot" against the maniac, then I say good luck to you.) Short-bankrolled players are JUST who the maniac is looking to play! He wants to flip and flip and flip, for eventually he will win a few in a row, and then YOU'RE busted and HE'S laughing. So, again, short-bankrolled players, don't engage.

Anyways, that's enough for me today. If anyone has a topic they'd like to learn about, or at least hear my perspective, leave it in the comments and I'd gladly oblige. Also, thank's again to Quick for he suggested this topic in my previous post.

Now, go and win some pots already! :angel:


Nice post. Yh when i do happen to come across maniac(s) at my table and it so happens that he runs everyone preflop and its two handed i tend to widen my range also, knowing that hes raising with any two cards. Its true its hard to put them on hands but when that middle pair or better comes for me i tend to put the pressure on.
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