Of course, that didn't
stop others from trying. The field consisted of
261 players and it was a 'super stack' tournament,
which had a starting chip count of 5,000 instead
This player really took the
poker term "maniac" to a new level.
He started by raising the bet pre-flop to a ridiculous
30-times-the-big-blind or more during the first
hour. He raised 5-10 and 10-20 blinds to 300,
400 and even 865 once. It was very frustrating.
"Can I see a friggin'
flop with 10-J suited please?" I finally
typed into the chat field after folding for the
Then I remembered what five-time
WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey said when he was
interviewed on a WSOP rerun. He said you can only
control what happens one hand at a time at your
table, so just make your decisions based on that
hand. You can't control how all the players are
playing, but once you've sized up each player
it will help you in your decision-making.
Ivey's comments made me focus
on the situation, and were a needed reminder for
me to remain patient and make sure I had the goods
when the moment came to put my chips at risk.
Then it happened. I got my money in with the best
hand after I flopped two pairs in the small blind.
But my opponent called with pocket 8's on a board
with one over card and then hit a trip eight to
knock me out. I didn't finish in the money, but
neither did the maniac, who donked off his remaining
chips at another table.
So what do you do when you're
faced with this situation? Basic poker strategy
says to play loose at a tight table, and play
tight at a loose table. That applies in this case
because you will get paid off if you just have
the patience to wait for a premium hand. In Bodog
multi tournaments there is plenty of time to wait
for big hands because the blind structures are
very low in the first few levels, and that plays
to a tight-aggressive player's advantage.
Sometimes I'll re-raise these
maniac types after the flop early on, and that
will slow them down (only in multi tournaments,
never in sit n go's). However, you couldn't use
that strategy against this particular maniac.
Why? Because when the blinds went up, he continued
to raise to such high amounts over the big blind,
he was leaving himself pot committed to any re-raise
post flop. That sure was annoying.
The ironic thing was this:
The maniac had most of the players at this table
on tilt, although most of the players thought
he was on tilt.
Bottom line: Your patience
will usually get rewarded at some point, and hopefully
your big hands will hold up, because once all
your chips are in the middle, luck will determine
Send your comments/questions
on how to deal with a maniac at the poker table
to On the Button, and we'll publish them in our
Playing at a table with a maniac can feel like
you're stuck in the Texas Holdem Chainsaw Massacre.
(Courtesy New Line Cinema)
Nick Lanteri is a freelance
writer based in Long Island, N.Y.
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