• June 18, 2021

Online Poker Dictionary: Maniac Poker Player

Are you a Maniac poker player? Do you need to know how to play against one? Find out! Keep reading
This player plays loosely and aggressively and are the easiest player type to spot simply because they are in at nearly every hand. Their play is unpredictable. They’ll play a lot of hands regardless of how good they are. Because of this they are forced to bluff a lot since they will rarely have the best hand at showdown.
A maniac/bad LAG player tends to win hands because they scare other players off the pot. They tend to win less showdowns than the other players. When maniacs come up against a table of tight players they can win well. They often become adept at reading weakness in other players.
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The polar opposite of a maniac is a “rock.” A rock is a very tight, risk adverse player who is focused on winning or at least avoiding unnecessary risk while playing. Rocks are very selective about the hands they choose to play, both before and after the flop, whereas maniacs are not. Because they are more careful, rocks tend to win more and play better than maniacs. Still, both types of players can be dangerous, and with excellent play both types of players are beatable. You just have to adjust your play.
Defending Against Aggressive Players
1) Fight back before the flop. Overly aggressive players thrive on taking control of the hand. Hence, they don’t like to be re-raised and lose control of the hand. You know that he can’t have Aces or Kings as often as he portrays, so most of the time you’ll catch him with a mediocre hand at best. If you have position on the raiser and pick up a better-than-average hand, consider throwing in a big re-raise. Most of the time, you’ll pick up the pot right there. I was at a no-limit table last night against this type of player, and I’d raise him 4x his bet every time with any pocket pairs higher than 9-9 or with any two face cards. I never had to see a flop.
This type of player doesn’t want a fight – he wants to stay in control and quietly take down lots of pots. Aggressive players usually excel by sensing weakness and capitalizing on it. If you’re going to take on a seemingly wild player, don’t play weakly into his hands; dictate the terms, play your own game, and make him pay before the flop when you have a strong hand. These players will often outplay you on the flop with their sheer aggression, so try to define your hand pre-flop if you have a tendency to fold to pressure.
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2) Trap aggressive players with your strong hands. Slowplaying your big hands against loose players can be a great tool to extract great profit. Let’s say that you’re on the button with pocket Aces and the resident maniac makes his standard raise from early position of 5x the big blind. If there aren’t any other callers, I might just call in this situation. Since this type of player usually continues his aggression on the flop, I’ll just call him again or if I’m out of position I might check-raise him. If you’re confident that you still have the best hand, just keep value betting or calling and build up a nice pot that will soon be yours.
Of course, you always risk being outdrawn here, but you should keep a close eye on the board for possible trouble. If you see an obvious straight or flush draw, you can throw in a raise. However, if the board is seemingly benign, I’ll often save the raise until the river. This allows me to take advantage of his blind aggression and extract more money from 3 additional betting rounds rather than chase him away before the flop. Usually you should reserve this play for your premium pocket pairs, or if you hit a monster on the flop. Let him continue to make mistakes and show him what will happen if he continues to bully you around.
Even with your premium hands, bad beats are going to happen – especially against players willing to play anything. That’s simply a part of poker that you’ll have to be able to manage psychologically. It happens to all of us, but what distinguishes winning poker players from losing ones is the ability to pick oneself up, play the best possible game, and mount a comeback. Keep in mind that you don’t have to win it all back the same night. If you’re really going on tilt and you can recognize that you aren’t playing your best game, be strong enough to leave the table and come back tomorrow or the next day. The game will still be there waiting for you – especially online.
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Steve Carr

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