Playing Against a Maniac

PTN’s Poker Tip of the Week
Playing Against a Maniac

A “maniac” is poker lingo for the very loose aggressive player. This is the player who not only plays almost every hand, but also raises and re-raises continuously, even though his hole cards usually do not warrant it.

Although maniacs will often lose over the long run, in the short term they can put you at great risk if not approached correctly.

So, how should you go about playing against that loose, wild, and extremely aggressive player?

If they act after you do, you should be very selective in your hole cards. Drawing hands like suited connectors are tempting, but they require high implied odds and pot value to be played profitably, and decrease rapidly in value with maniacs involved in the hand. The maniac will often raise to an amount that will reduce the number of players who are willing to see the flop. For example, you might consider folding 8-7 suited, unless many players have called in front of you, thereby increasing your implied odds.

If you are in position against the maniac, meaning they act before you, the situation changes slightly. This is because when they raise, their hole cards are likely much weaker than the average raising hand of a tight aggressive player. However, if you choose to play against the maniac you might consider re-raising to punish them for their extra aggressive playing style. Another advantage of re-raising is that you increase your chance of going heads-up against them.

If you connect with the board, feel confident that you will get lots of value for your hand. Maniacs usually find it difficult to let their hands go when they have lots of money invested in a pot.

So, this might be a good time to make your move.

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About Billy Brown

High School teacher and coach in Austin, TX.
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