Saturday, January 20, 2007

Countering A Maniac

I have been holding back, but I wanted to discuss a hand from the blogger 200NL a couple weeks ago. It was a hand I played against lucko, and it illustrates how you can play back at a cash game maniac. I have always found these types pretty easy to beat in cash games, but you can't just sit around and wait for the nutz. You actually are going to need to mix things up a bit, and at times out bluff the bluffer to do it right.

When I play online, I always use the autofold button. I have disabled it for a blogger tourney or two, but I pretty much always have it selected. As such, I never show my hand unless it goes to showdown. With my tight-aggressive style, I do not go to a lot of showdowns, so you give out almost no information on what you are doing. If you show your hands, you have to keep track of what you have shown, and what type of adjustment you need to make in the future based on the info you have revealed. To me this is way to much work. Just keep them guessing and play your A-game. I think most of the pros follow this except the more jack-assish like Mike the mouth. So now for the hand below, which I did not show, though it would have felt good:

FullTiltPoker Game #1569221639: Table Carey Grove - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 2:05:14 ET - 2007/01/10
weak_player: doh
Seat 1: lucko21 ($611.70)
Seat 2: smokkee ($263.30)
Seat 3: csquard ($191.15)
Seat 4: Fuel55 ($165.65)
Seat 5: weak_player ($226.40)
Seat 6: Blinders ($200.05)
Seat 7: FittSmurf ($219.40)
Seat 8: Troublecat ($224.25)
Seat 9: ScottMc ($245.40)
weak_player posts the small blind of $1
Blinders posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [9c Ks]
FittSmurf folds
Troublecat folds
ScottMc folds
lucko21 raises to $6
smokkee folds
csquard folds
Fuel55 folds
weak_player folds

Lucko has been raising about 40% of the pots, and seeing over 55% of the flops. 3x is his typical raise size. I have a decent hand, and will be out of position. My hand is actually ahead of lucko's 40% preflop raising range. Since I am in the BB, I am easily priced in to see a flop. Reraising would not be a good idea with this hand, because lucko could pop me back with air and force me off my hand before the flop.

Blinders calls $4

*** FLOP *** [3c As Th]

Well, I missed the flop. I am pretty positive lucko will c-bet. His range is so wide, that although it includes "any ace", it is more likely that he does not have one. If I bet, it is pretty likely that he will reraise me weather he hit the flop or not. I check to let him c-bet, and go for the check raise.

Blinders checks
lucko21 bets $8
Blinders raises to $20
lucko21 calls $12

There was the c-bet as predicted. I check raise him, because that is how he would expect me to play an ace (I am weak-tight remember). His call tells me that he does not have the ace. He is probably floating me, figuring I will not fire again on the turn without the ace, and he can push me off my hand on the turn if I check. Also with a maniac, you must beat them to the aggression. If not they will run over you, unless you catch the nutz, which does not happen very often.

*** TURN *** [3c As Th] [9d]

Well, I have a piece now, and am likely in the lead. I have to fire again an amount that would be consistent with me having a good ace. I bet again.

Blinders bets $30
lucko21 has 15 seconds left to act
lucko21 folds
Uncalled bet of $30 returned to Blinders
Blinders mucks
Blinders wins the pot ($50.35)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $53 Rake $2.65
Board: [3c As Th 9d]

Ok, that was not a huge pot, but it is a good example of how to apply pressure to a maniac. If you combine plays like this, with rope-a-dope type moves when you have a big hand, its just a matter of time before you get their stack. Playing like a maniac in middle to late stages of an MTT can be very productive, but that style of play in a cash game is generally suicide. With lucko's read on me that I am weak-tight, he has to give me a ton of respect when I play back at him. If I play back at him with air, it really screws with his whole program, and makes it difficult to find a strategy that will work against me, without tightening way up preflop.


At 11:28 AM, Blogger Guin said...

very nice hand and well thought out.

I still think you have to play this one with a reraise preflop.... sort of puts him back on the defensive right away.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

Checkraising the flop out of position followed by a turn bet is pretty strong poker and makes your opponent think hard about the strength of your hand. It works fine at 3/6 (and under) but at 10/20 NL (and higher) you'll see the position player retaking control and reraising you on the turn making YOU seriously consider the nature/strength of your hand. (The latter is especially true when the stacks are really deep.)

I highly recommend taking $5000 and giving $25/50NL a try.


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