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On Into the Storm

Playing the Maniac After the Flop

Here in this essay, we will be discussing on the play after the flop - on into the storm, if you will, of a hand played against a maniac. Again my attempt is to go little beyond what the about poker literature has said about this topic till now.

There are Maniacs, and Then There are Maniacs

According to my experience, maniacs vary more in their play after the flop than they do pre-flop. Two reasons for this stand out: First, hold'em itself becomes more varied, more complex after the flop.

From that point on, the maniac is responding to more complexities in the cards, is confronted with more complex decisions (even if he does tend to approach them one dimensionally), and has more playing options available to him. Second, fourth street separates those maniacs who are actually willing to blow off a lot of money from the sizeable percentage who quickly need some discretion when the bet doubles.

You may confront after the flop with the maniac who remains aggressive all throughout the hand, or one who cools down on the turn. He may play straightforwardly or play deceptively. He may play much better than he did pre-flop. Some maniacs show surprising flashes of style in their play on the later streets. Others are thinking all the way through. Hence, as the Play Poker problem is so often in this case, you should know your player so as to make better decisions against him.

Anti-Maniac Strategy

We can however identify some strategic manipulations that are helpful against the "typical" maniac. Let's say that he plays very aggressively on the flop, that he will continue betting through the river, but that he often slows down when raised on the turn. Also let's assume that you are heads-up against the maniac. This will often be the case if you are seated to his left and have re-raised him before the flop.

An essential concept in dealing with a maniac is that of using his aggression to your own advantage. If you keep this in mind as you read the rest of this essay, every strategy I suggest should be easy to understand.

Big Hands, Little Hands, and In-Between Hands

Suppose you are heads-up and have flopped a big hand such as a set without many drawing possibilities present for your rival. This is a good situation. Your main aim is to get more money into the pot. If your maniac is one who can invest number of bets on the flop with an average hand, then you should possibly keep raising until he finally stops, or you are sure that he may have you beat (if your hand is not the nuts). Some maniacs will raise enough on the flop difference final comments that the money to be made there offsets whatever you could expert to make by stopping early on the flop in order to raise in on the turn. (Moreover, you may want to think about how playing in this way, mean to extract as much money as possible on this hand, will affect the maniac's play against you on future hands. Sometimes this may lead to different approach.)

If you are against someone who thinks a bit more about the meaning of your continued raising, you have to go for that point where he will back off on his aggression and just call you down, or even fold. There you will need to determine whether or not you could collect more by slow-playing less on the flop and waiting for the turn (or the river) to raise. The reason to this is the likelihood that he will call your fourth street raise. Even with this poker strategy concept against many maniacs you will have some problem working in three bets on the flop, without risking your chance to raise on the turn.

You have to make a decision when dealing with the sort of maniac who remains very aggressive on the turn. While playing against him you will often make more by getting the bets in on the turn. On the other hand, you will be unable to do this if you have shown much of aggression on the flop, thus kicking him off the strength of your hand.

What about a hand at the other end of the playable extent? It is not uncommon against a maniac to find you holding what may well be the best hand with something like low pair or ace-high. At this point you should know your rival perfectly. If you know your rival will automatically bluff or bet something worse than your hand, then you can take the approach of allowing him to bet for you. By checking and calling (or just calling when you are behind him) you give him an opportunity to bluff off his money all through the hand. Therefore, you avoid being raised while playing an insignificant hand.

You should try your best to read him though, anything regarding you knows about what kind of hand he may have played given his position and actions before the flop, and in addition to his subsequent actions and the board as it develops. Low pair on the flop of deceptive winner

always does not play the same as low pair on a flop of

You can sometimes play to the river with the above hand, but you should fold such hand very often.
In between the best and average hands I have explained there are many hands such as top pair with a reasonable kicker, and two pair. With these decent but not great hands you should adjust your play to the player and the situation. For instance, there are times when acting on what you know about your rival's behavior, you can play high pair very often and very aggressively, while waiting until the turn or even the river to raise. Again there are times when you can diverge to checking and calling even with two pair after being raised once on the flop. It is al based on your rival and how well you read him.

Continue Here: On the River and Reading a Maniac