In poker and online poker, there’s a sort of player called a “maniac”. Such “maniacs” will bet and raise with any hand, hoping to intimidate their opponents into folding or into committing a mistake, simply by keeping them under constant pressure. The reason why there are so many players out there practicing this “sport” is that it simply seems to work, especially at the real money tables, and especially with a NL betting structure.
Obviously, maniacs aren’t exactly throwing hundreds of dollars around on a whim at the high stakes tables, but they certainly do plague the low and micro stakes, making life miserable for whomever they can.
Different tables will react differently to the presence of maniacs and sometimes, the other players around the table will turn into maniacs as well in an effort to confront the original bad apple. In such situations, there’s not much a reasonable player can do. Dealing with a single maniac is easy and straightforward: one just has to tighten up a bit and wait for a good hand. By definition, the maniac exposes himself to this sort of basic ABC tight-aggressive poker. The problems start when one is facing several maniacs at his table.
One of the reasons why decent players fear a maniac is that they think he/she may be playing a semi-bluff most of the time. Obviously though, a player who plays every hand like it’s a monster, cannot possibly be playing a reasonable semi-bluff most of the time. That’s statistical impossibility.
While successfully tackling a run-of-the-mill maniac isn’t a particularly daunting task as pointed out above, one may still want to know some of the maniac’s weaknesses and fears.
One thing a maniac doesn’t like is when he gets check-raised. The check-raise is possibly the ultimate sign of strength, and the bully never likes to go up against real strength. Some maniacs are pushed off-balance when they pick up a good starting hand: it often prompts them to slow-play the hand.
Obviously, it is much easier to bust a maniac when one has position over him. Just watch him act and wait for that decent hand he won’t be able to match. Re-raising and check-raising him is the way to go then. Some maniacs tend to be so embroiled in their own antics that they simply don’t want to let go of any hand, even when it becomes clear that their opponent has them where he/she wants them.
This makes these players prime victims for those who are in it for the long-haul and not just for the sake of a sudden rush.
One has to be aware of the fact though that when dealing with a maniac, there may be another good player at the table who decides to apprehend him through the same approach, and that may complicate the issue.