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Playing the "Maniac"
My nemesis is the super aggressive player. Best strategy?
September 22, 2016
3:29 pm
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frogmoreace
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This is one of my most perplexing situations – a player who barrels constantly on many streets whenever he plays a hand. Many times I switch tables but today I stayed to get experience against such a player and felt when I got the right hand I could take his money. That did not work out for me.

His stats: VPIP 60  PFR 44  AGR 10  3Bet 70% when he was in the CO through the BB

Playing 2NL at BetOnline.

A large number of times when I did get to see SD when he was head-to-head with another player, he had total junk. His variance during the time we played was basically net b/e to down 1 buy-in over the 123 hands we had together. It was obvious he was just muscling. 

My problem with him – he was two seats to my left – I felt like he 3Bet 100% of the time when I open raised.

I was playing what I think is a wider TAG – I have opened up some from your Crush pre-flop guidelines after taking your Conquer course. My VPIP over this same number of 123 hands that session was 23, my PFR was probably low at 11.

I was open raising hands I felt I had good +EV so I would call his pre-flop 3Bets since so many times he had demonstrated junk. But if I did not hit any of the flop I would fold to his continued high barreling – and not stay in with just a “high card”. So I lost a fair amount of pre-flop high bet calls with these hands to him.

When I did hit a piece of the flop I would call his high flop bet if he was first to act, or I would bet the flop, he would raise, and I would call to see the turn. I would fold on the turn if I felt I had gotten behind when my equity dropped due to a turn card that did not help me but could easily make my hand second best. So I lost a fair amount of bets folding on the turn to his very high bets.

When I felt I had the better hand on the turn I would call his high turn bet if he was first to act, or I would bet the turn, he would raise again, and I would call to see the river.

This process repeated itself on the river. Once I got to the river I would usually stay against him because I only got there with what I thought was a good hand, but too many times he would end up with a hand beating me with his junk when he either lucked out at SD or proved to have a better hand all along from the flop or turn because his junk I did not expect him to have hit on a board on which I never felt he would be holding anything to make a hand.

I ended up losing over 2 buy-ins to him. 

Some players had to make money off of him though given his overall results were usually in the negative during the time I played against him.

When I got into that game he had 2.5 buy-ins at the time so he had some funds to play with, so when I say he was very aggressive his pre-flop 3Bets were in the $0.55-$0.75 range and his flop, turn, & river bets were consistently in the $1.50-$3.00 range each street, usually well above pot at that time.

Any advice when I see this type of player?

September 22, 2016
4:44 pm
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Alton - MicroGrinder Poker
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Bad maniacs are difficult to play against when they’re in position to you to the left. In general, you want them across the table or to your right so you have position on them. To provide feedback against this opponent, I’d actually need to see some hands to see exactly what you were calling 3-bets with, getting to show down with, folding post-flop etc.

In general, an easy strategy is to let the maniac hang himself and don’t fold anything decent post-flop.This means top pair bottom kicker if he is a habitual bluffer.

Pre-flop, if you find him 3-betting you light, then tighten up your opening range when you’re out of position to him, and widen up your linear 4-betting range whenever he 3-bets you. If he was 3-betting me with a 100% frequency over a decent sample with large 3-bets, I’d just 4-bet jam and make him fold his junk or call it off as an equity dog. In general, you can call his 3-bet in position, but you should be 4-bet folding out of position.

Post-flop, you also shouldn’t be playing fit-or-fold. You have tons of implied odds against this whale. If you have overs or any sort of draw, then you can expect to double up when you hit it.

Getting back to pre-flop, I would NIT up my opening ranges pre-flop when I’m out of position to him because I expect him to 3-bet super light, so I want hands I can value 4-bet light or flat for deception (JJ+, AQ type of hands). When I’m in position, I would loosen up my calling range since I know he is opening junk.

Definitely post some hands so we can discuss further specific strategy.

September 23, 2016
7:51 am
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frogmoreace
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Thanks Alton! – I am studying your advice. I will put some hand details together for you.

September 23, 2016
4:04 pm
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frogmoreace
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Does this hand history format work here on the Forum?

I chose an initial three hands to illustrate some of what I discussed above. I will continue to choose some other illustrative hands if this style is appropriate and you would like to see more of my (Hero) plays against the Maniac:

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

MANIAC BETS PRE-FLOP AN OVERSIZE AMOUNT ON A JUNK HAND AND HERO (me) FOLDS A SMALL PAIR PRE-FLOP: 

iPoker – $0.04 NL – Holdem – 8 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

BB (BB): 93.5 BB (VPIP: 12.10, PFR: 1.61, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 124)
UTG (UTG): 196.75 BB (VPIP: 17.65, PFR: 14.71, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 34)
UTG+1 (UTG+1): 106.75 BB (VPIP: 16.67, PFR: 16.67, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 24)
MP (MP): 124 BB (VPIP: 11.76, PFR: 5.88, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 18)
Hero (MP+1): 124.5 BB
CO (CO): 109 BB (VPIP: 33.33, PFR: 4.44, 3Bet Preflop: 6.25, Hands: 45)
BTN (BTN): 202 BB (VPIP: 59.50, PFR: 42.98, 3Bet Preflop: 44.83, Hands: 121) MANIAC
SB (SB): 99.75 BB (VPIP: 15.05, PFR: 4.59, 3Bet Preflop: 2.16, Hands: 399)

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

Dealt to Hero:
3s3d
fold, fold, fold, Hero calls 1 BB, CO calls 1 BB, BTN raises to 15 BB, fold, fold, fold, CO calls 14 BB

Flop (32.5 BB, 2 players):
8hTcAd
CO checks, BTN bets 15.5 BB, CO calls 15.5 BB

Turn (63.5 BB, 2 players):
As
CO checks, BTN bets 30 BB, CO calls 30 BB

River (123.5 BB, 2 players):
8d
CO checks, BTN checks

BTN shows:
9s5c
(Two Pair, Aces and Eights)
(Pre 34%, Flop 7%, Turn 0%)

CO shows:
QhAc
(Full House, Aces full of Eights)
(Pre 66%, Flop 93%, Turn 100%)

CO wins 116.75 BB

 

MANIAC CONTINUES TO BARREL WHEN HE DOES NOT HIT HIS STARTING HAND: 

iPoker – $0.04 NL – Holdem – 8 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

UTG (UTG): 111.5 BB (VPIP: 9.68, PFR: 2.15, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 93)
UTG+1 (UTG+1): 111.5 BB (VPIP: 33.33, PFR: 33.33, 3Bet Preflop: 20.00, Hands: 18)
MP (MP): 303.75 BB (VPIP: 32.14, PFR: 3.57, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 28)
MP+1 (MP+1): 49.25 BB (VPIP: 20.00, PFR: 4.76, 3Bet Preflop: 3.57, Hands: 105)
Hero (CO): 122 BB
BTN (BTN): 105 BB (VPIP: 25.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 8)
SB (SB): 202.5 BB (VPIP: 59.09, PFR: 42.05, 3Bet Preflop: 38.89, Hands: 88) MANIAC
BB (BB): 39.25 BB (VPIP: 14.65, PFR: 3.94, 3Bet Preflop: 0.78, Hands: 362)

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

Dealt to Hero:
9s2d
fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, SB calls 0.5 BB, BB raises to 3 BB, SB raises to 9 BB, BB calls 6 BB

Flop (18 BB, 2 players):
3s5c8s
SB bets 8.5 BB, BB calls 8.5 BB

Turn (35 BB, 2 players):
5s
SB bets 22.25 BB, BB calls 21.75 BB

River (78.5 BB, 2 players):
Jd

SB shows:
JhTh
(Two Pair, Jacks and Fives)
(Pre 62%, Flop 26%, Turn 0%)

BB shows:
4d5d
(Three of a Kind, Fives)
(Pre 38%, Flop 74%, Turn 100%)

SB wins 0.5 BB

BB wins 74.25 BB

 

MANIAC BETS PRE-FLOP AN OVERSIZE AMOUNT BUT HITS AND HERO (me) DID NOT EXPECT THAT BOARD TO HIT HIM: 

iPoker – $0.04 NL – Holdem – 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

MP (MP): 88.75 BB (VPIP: 7.89, PFR: 2.63, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 76)
MP+1 (MP+1): 134 BB (VPIP: 36.36, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 11)
MP+2 (MP+2): 122 BB (VPIP: 18.97, PFR: 3.45, 3Bet Preflop: 4.55, Hands: 58)
CO (CO): 64.25 BB (VPIP: 20.45, PFR: 4.55, 3Bet Preflop: 4.35, Hands: 88)
Hero (BTN): 68.75 BB
SB (SB): 107.5 BB (VPIP: 15.38, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 52)
BB (BB): 145.75 BB (VPIP: 60.81, PFR: 41.89, 3Bet Preflop: 35.29, Hands: 74) MANIAC
UTG (UTG): 99 BB (VPIP: 6.38, PFR: 4.26, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 47)
UTG+1 (UTG+1): 45.25 BB (VPIP: 15.09, PFR: 4.14, 3Bet Preflop: 0.83, Hands: 345)

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

Dealt to Hero:
8hAh
fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to 4.5 BB, fold, BB raises to 14 BB, Hero calls 9.5 BB

Flop (28.5 BB, 2 players):
9dAd2d
BB bets 18 BB, Hero calls 18 BB

Turn (64.5 BB, 2 players):
3h
BB bets 40.75 BB, Hero calls 36.75 BB

River (138 BB, 2 players):
Qh

BB shows:
9s2h
(Two Pair, Nines and Twos)
(Pre 34%, Flop 73%, Turn 82%)

Hero mucks:
8hAh
(One Pair, Aces)
(Pre 66%, Flop 27%, Turn 18%)

BB wins 134.5 BB

September 27, 2016
10:07 am
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Alton - MicroGrinder Poker
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Here’s my feedback on your play version villain.

Hand #1 with 33, don’t open limp. If you don’t want to call a 3bet with it and you know villain will most likely 3bet and huge sizing, then just fold it pre-flop. Also, his 3bet sizing is way to large for you to set-mine out of position anyways. I’d only call in position because you need to win around 130bb from villain just to break even set mining here given his 3-bet sizing.

Hand #2. There is nothing wrong with villain c-betting that low board texture flop because he can rep an over pair and has backdoor equity. But not sure why he checks back the river when he hits top pair.

Hand #3. Your sizing is way to big versus villain here as a button steal. I’d make it 2bb or just fold pre-flop because his 3-bet sizing is just HUGE and A8s isn’t doing that amazing versus his range. It decent, but not amazing. Folding or calling the 3-bet pre is fine because I think you have 33% equity against his range and that’s the minimum you need based upon the pot odds you’re getting. As played, I’m never folding top pair to him. What was your reasoning for making such a big pre-flop raise as a button steal when you know he is 3-betting super wide and so much pre-flop?

September 30, 2016
3:33 pm
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frogmoreace
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THANKS Alton – Your hand analysis helps bring focus to what you are educating me on regarding these players. Thanks so much for taking time to review these hands.

I had a short session with such a player today and your guidance helped me play better – but most of all I played against him calmer. And that helps in itself.

Have a nice weekend!!

Chris

October 4, 2016
2:54 pm
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Alton - MicroGrinder Poker
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You’re welcome Chris – glad my analysis and advice helped you to play better against crazy maniacs. 🙂

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