Poker Basics – Maniacs

The first step when reading hands is to categorize your opponents into distinct player types based on his playing style. Assigning a certain player type to your opponent will help you narrow down his range.

These lessons will teach you how to differentiate between the five most common player types and their fundamental characteristics. This information will be useful when adjusting to their playing style.

The maniac

This kind of opponent plays a lot of hands and is often overly aggressive, even with weak holdings. His playing style leads to very high variance, but in the long term, maniacs will lose a lot of money.

How do you recognize a maniac?

Expect a wide 3-bet range

The maniac is a loose and very aggressive opponent. You will often see him bet, raise and reraise. Similarly to the calling station, he will rarely be found sitting on more than one or two tables and will also frequently have less than a full stack of chips.

A maniac will often display the following betting patterns:

  • Cold calling an open raise
  • 4-betting when he has been 3-bet
  • Frequent pre-flop all-ins, even with hands like 99 and AJs
  • Many open raises and 3-bets pre-flop
  • Frequent bluffs
  • Frequently bets and raises very big, possibly bigger than pot size

What range does a maniac play?

Just like the calling station, the maniac plays a very wide and therefore weak range. The difference is that he plays his hands aggressively. He bets and raises a lot more than average and thus creates a great deal of variance and – more importantly over the long term – losses for himself.

How do you play against a maniac?


Against a maniac you should:

  • Play tight.
  • Try to induce bluffs.
  • Try to avoid bluffing him.
  • Lower your standards for a good hand.
  • Be consistent and have a plan: call down or fold right away

The maniac is especially weak to lines which induce bluffs. He likes bluffing, so give him the opportunity to do so. If there is any kind of player where slow playing makes sense at the lower limits, the maniac is that player.

A maniac frequently bluffs, and hands which you would consider weak against the vast majority of players may sometimes turn out to be the best hand. You should apply the concept of relative hand strength. Against a maniac, you will have many situations where you can go broke before the flop with hands such as 99+ and AQ+ without fear. Post-flop, top pair and top kicker is very often going to turn out to be the best hand.

poker hand

Try to be consistent and have a plan: either call down on all three streets or fold right away. Your opponent isn’t known for suddenly giving up along the way so do not play as if he will.

Maniacs are very talented at provoking tilt from other players. If you start losing your temper and letting it affect your play, you should leave the table.

To learn more about the types of players you will encounter in poker check out this article or watch the video below:

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Click to watch the video

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