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Poker Maniac

Loose Poker Players - Maniacs

by Jesse Knight
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Maniac Poker Player
Maniac - An extremely loose and aggressive player.


Each poker player develops their own personal style of play. Some players play tight and others are looser. Some players are passive and others are very aggressive. There are many contributing factors that cause a player to adopt a particular style of play. These include, but are not limited to, the player’s personality, level of risk aversion, and knowledge of the game. A Maniac is a player who has a high level of comfort with risk, and even thrives upon it. Typically, they do not have very much knowledge about strategy or game theory, or do not care very much about them. Many maniacs do not care if they win or lose when they play. These factors and others lead them to play a hyper aggressive, sometimes erratic, style of poker.

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.

Conventional wisdom is that in most situations you want to have the maniacs seat as closely to your right as possible, while keeping the rocks to your left. The main reason that you want to keep the maniac on your right is that you want to have position on him. This way you will get to see what he is going to do before you have to act or get involved, and you will be in position to punish him when he gets out of line. You want to keep the rocks on you left because they are tight and predictable, they won’t float you or play at you very often, and they concede their position easily. Also it is fairly easy to push them off of a hand if you read the maniac for weakness and play at him. To a large extent, this setup allows you to control the betting that goes on in the game, or at least the betting that you are involved with. Being able to control the action this way makes it much easier to win.

While it is usually best to have the maniac on your right, in certain situations it can be very profitable to have him on your immediate left as well. When a Maniac sits directly on your left, you may be able set a trap for him. Trapping works best in pot limit and no limit play because of the size of the trap that you can set. It also works best when you have a hyper aggressive player on your left who bets everything. The goal is to get the maniac on your left to make a large wager when you are fairly certain that you have the best hand and are unlikely to get sucked out on. This can often be accomplished simply by checking a big hand when it is your turn to act and the Maniac acts after you. Since the maniac is constantly speeding and overbetting his hand, you can often get him to make a large position wager with nothing, simply by checking a strong hand. Given the maniac’s reputation, he is unlikely to get much credit from the other players in the game when he bets, and his wager may generate substantial action. When the action returns to you, there may be a large pot already built, and having set the trap, you will be in excellent position to now make a play at the pot. Trapping can be hugely profitable when done correctly, but it is easier said than done, and requires patience and discipline.

See also: Live One, and antonyms Rock and ABC player

Usage: Maniac Player, The Game Was Full of Maniacs

Previous Poker Term: Main Pot
Next Poker Term: Marked Cards

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