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Bodog.com Poker Room Tournaments - Offshore Poker - Pokerrooms Online Tips

Online Poker Maniacs Pt 2

ON THE BUTTON: Dealing with a Maniac Part II - by Bodog.com, located in San Jose, Costa Rica, From articles on poker strategy to fresh commentary on the burgeoning culture that is poker, 5th Street is the one-stop shop for sharks, little fishies, and everyone in between.

"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Feb 20th, 2007

By Nick Lanteri
Bodog Nation Contributing Writer

In the last installment of On the Button I detailed my experience in a $30 buy-in, $7,500 guaranteed Bodog tournament, where an absolute maniac ran roughshod over the table during the first hour when the blinds were too low to make foolish plays against him with marginal hands.

Texas Chainsaw

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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 of 1,500.

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 umpteenth time.

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 your fate.

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 next column.

PHOTO: 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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