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Beating The Berserko

Pre-flop Against a Maniac

To know a maniac's mind is a peculiar thing. As a one time psychotherapist, I am fascinated by and little sympathetic toward the emotional disturbance seen in the abnormal behavior of a maniac at the poker table. But being now basically a play poker player, I will assume no analysis of the psyche of this kind of player. I will give you with some ideas, intended to explain on what has been covered elsewhere in the poker literature concerning how to play against this problem, but troublesome rival. Let's go deep into this to explore some of the abstract correct pre-flop anti-maniac strategy.

The Debate over Where to Sit

Whether you wish to place a maniac on your right or left is still a matter of debate. On the Internet, for example, players often debate the advantages of each option. The reason where each has the advantage is because it can be best alternative depending on the situation of the game in which you find yourself.

As Skylansky and Malmuth describes in Hold'em Poker Game for Advanced Stud Players: 21st Century Edition, the time when other players in the game are going to interfere with the normal strategy you deal is when he is on your right. That means, if you are close to the maniac's immediate left, and re-raise him pre-flop, you want to be able to knock out the players behind you so as to isolate him. But when players in the game come in behind you with less than best hands despite your making it three bets, this approach is disastrous. In that case you can choose the maniac on your immediate left so that you can check to him, let him bet, then observe how the rest of the players react before deciding how to play your hand. This is helpful as it is similar to giving yourself last position.

Though the strategy of placing the maniac on your left does have little significance, I lean toward placing him on my right very often. The reason is that as long as I do not carry it to an extreme, in the games I play in, three-betting a maniac generally does knock out the players behind me. Not carrying it to the extreme means for example, not three-betting too freely in an early position and not often playing against him with the weaker hands which should hypothetically show a profit against a typical maniac.

Trying to play every possible hand against him runs the risk of increasing the frequency with which you are seen trying to isolate him, affecting rivals to start jumping in and focusing your plans.

There is one more reason I prefer keeping a maniac on my right. The holdem strategic of putting the maniac on your left should work best against a consistent, predictable maniac. If he raises pre-flop, and bets after the flop about every chance that he gets, then by pulling him on your left you do get the benefits of putting everyone else between you and the maniac before deciding what to do, but I hardly confront such a predictable maniac. Most of the time, I have encountered the players who might be termed as "semi-maniacs." They significantly qualify as maniacs, but do have some combination to their play, do not play every hand and sometimes just limp in. Furthermore, though they are aggressive after the flop, they are also capable enough to lay a hand down, and cannot be counted on to bet into the area for you.

Because of the merit of sitting to his right is therefore lost, I favor to sit to the left side of the maniac. This may of course have to do with the particular games I played in. You should decide first what kind of maniac you are playing with, and how the other players are going to respond to you before deciding where to sit in a game. However, the rest of this essay and two other related essays have been addressed playing only with the river reading maniac on your right.

Continue Here: Maniac In Poker : Hand Selection And Pre-Flop Play

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