Taming The Poker Maniac: How to make a profit against hyper aggressive poker players

Don’t be intimidated by the hyper-aggressive play of a poker maniac. You can tame these wild cards – and turn a tidy profit

Picture this. A man brings a brown grocery sack to a game, takes a seat and then dumps the entire contents of the bag – $25,000 – onto the poker table into one big pile. Bundles of hundred-dollar bills tumble onto the green felt. The man has everyone in the game covered at least five times over.

The date is winter 1996, the place Resorts International, Atlantic City, the game pot-limit Texas hold’em. The man posts his $5 blind and is dealt a hand. What happens next defies the imagination. He becomes an instant legend in poker circles. He proceeds to raise on each successive round of betting. This wouldn’t be unusual but for one crucial detail: he never looks at his cards. The man is an eccentric, a gambler, a freak, a risktaker, an oddball – and a godsend to any poker game.

He is the quintessential maniac, playing without any fear of losing and seemingly lacking any regard for money. Incredibly, he wins a few hands early on and busts two players at the table before meeting his inevitable destiny. The $25,000 lasts 20 minutes. His fate sealed, the man toddles out of the casino, never to be seen nor heard of again.

While this was an extreme example of what a maniac does to a poker game, it epitomises the grave risk and tremendous upside potential of having a maniac sitting at the poker table. The maniac is certainly capable of breaking his opponent with a combination of good hands and reckless aggression. However, in the long run, the maniac always meets his doom when confronted with the appropriate counter-strategy – specifically designed to neutralise the maniac’s hyper-aggressive tendencies. Crafting a counter-strategy to deal with maniacs is the intent of this article.

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