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How to Handle Maniac Table w/Large Pre-Flop Raise Sizes & Tight Image?

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  • How to Handle Maniac Table w/Large Pre-Flop Raise Sizes & Tight Image?

    Last weekend I played at a $1/$2 live game with the following dynamics. First, the noteworthy players were as follows:

    - 2 of the players were insane maniacs
    - 1 player was a loose passive fish that called to river nearly every hand against the 2 maniacs (often folding on the river)
    - 1 good LAG
    - 3-bets were rare, but whenever initiated often involved all-in pushes.

    Second, the standard pre-flop raise size was $20 (i.e., 10BB). About 1/2 of the flops were limped around, and the other 1/2 of the flops someone raised $20 and got multiple callers.

    Third, nearly every hand was multiway all the way to the river.

    I kept telling myself "just wait for excellent hole cards, and call down". Here was the problem with that strategy:

    1. I had a bad run of hole cards. The best hand I got in 3 hours was TJs and 44. This gave me a super tight image. Yet I thought I couldn't bluff this table because everyone was so loose. Was this a mistake? Should I have been bluffing with my garbage hands? Are maniacs more bluffable than I realize?
    2. There was one hand that I had TJs and got mid-pair (tens). I thought "OK, this is a loose table, so I can call at least one street with this". The problem is that after I called a flop bet, another bet came on the turn and there were like 3 people still in the hand. So the chances that I had the best hand were low in a multiway pot, right? Was it a mistake to fold on the turn?
    3. I was very disciplined with folding garbage, but whenever I got decent hands (TJs, 44) I decided to limp since everyone else was also. My reasoning was that players at this table are so bad that no one would notice that my range was capped when limping with them, so I might as well try to minimize the cost for me to get into a pot. Was that good reasoning? Should I have been limping with garbage like T6s and K3s to try to flop flushes, etc?

  • #2
    #1. Since you labelled them as maniacs, I assume you saw them opening more than 25-30% of hands. In that case, their mistake is opening too wide so you exploit them by 3betting. See what they do and adjust from there (for example if they fold a lot to 3bets, 3bet as a bluff more). Ultimately, you want to figure out how to play pots with the loose passive fish heads up and/or take advantage of the wide opening ranges of the maniacs.

    #2. Depends, would need more of a hand breakdown to really decide, but in general folding 2nd pair without a draw against 4 players on the turn facing another bet is almost certainly a fold for me.

    #3. I would not start playing T6s or K3s unless I am on the BTN with limpers in front or facing a small raise in the BB. If 3bets aren't much of a concern and lots of folks seem to call, I would open to 2.5x with my standard ranges when first in the pot. When facing an open to 10bb, if the effective is less than 200bb I only call with 22-TT and 3bet the rest of my range. If stacks are more than 200bb, I call with suited/connected hands (connected meaning like 1 gappers at widest but mostly no gappers).