How to Play a Maniac
A poker maniac is a player who is playing any two cards in an unpredictable and often aggressive type fashion. Sometimes players are maniacs because of their personality. Other times drunk poker players will play like maniacs. Playing a maniac can be frustrating. At the very least, playing maniacs is high variance. These guys are hard to read and impossible to push off a hand. Sometimes you just have to go with it when you’re ahead of your psycho’s range.
To play maniacs successfully, you have to figure out their tendencies. How loose is your maniac? How aggressive is he? Once you know just how crazy your opponent is, you’re ready to attack. Here’s how to do it:
How Loose is He?
Some maniacs will play any two cards pre-flop but lock down when their cards don’t hit. Other maniacs will play flops hard if they have any piece of it and you’ll occasionally find maniacs that play the flop hard no matter what.
Your first task is to determine how loose your maniac is. What’s his range pre-flop? How does he play when the flop is wet? How does he play when the flop is dry? Does he wait for top pair or better to continue or will he call with third pair/weak kicker? In short, what’s the guy’s range?
How Aggressive is He?
Does your maniac flat call? Does he raise a lot? Maniacs who flat call are the easiest to play. These passive maniacs call with a wide range but usually raise tight. All you have to do is bet them for value on all streets and toss your hand if you get raised and can’t beat top pair.
Aggressive maniacs can be a real pain. These guys will raise big with air and with the nuts. You just have to shut down all your bluffs and hold on tight when you have a strong hand.
Wait For Position
In poker, as in war, it’s best to attack from superior position and it’s critical when you’re attacking a maniac. These guys are hard enough to read as it is so you want all the information you can get when you’re playing them. Don’t play a maniac out of position unless you have a strong hand.
You won’t be the only player gunning for the maniac. Other good players will want a crack at the maniac’s stack too. Fortunately maniacs tend to create textbook squeeze opportunities. Your maniac will raise and will get one or two callers from players with marginal hands that they think are a favorite against the maniac’s range.
To isolate, make a big raise with your quality speculative hands. Your maniac may or may not fold, but your other opponents will probably get out of the way. Now you can take your shot at your maniac.
Stacking off Preflop
Sometimes you’ll get a maniac that’s so completely insane that they’ll raise and re-raise with a super wide range. The only way to play against these drunken bastards is to grab two cards and hold on for dear life. Leaving the game is certainly an option. While players this crazy hemorrhage money, playing them is high variance.
In general, you can be confident stacking off with 99+ and AK.
Playing a maniac can be incredibly profitable in the long term but short term variations will be steep since you are making decisions for your entire stack much more frequently than usual. As always, our goal on this site is to set players up with free money to play poker and casino games among others. One major benefit is it allows the player to try out various strategies to find what works for them and better perfect their poker play before becoming a depositing player. Do yourself a favor and make use of the free offers on the following pages: