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When to let maniacs bluff . . .

SnOwHIO Posts: 114Subscriber
So there is a gambler/maniac poker player at my table. He is great for the game. I have seen him triple barrel bluff big bets 3 times in 3 hours with stone cold air and he is happy to show it. The read I have gotten is that he slows down a bit when he gets SD value and since he is bluffing everyone, he thinks everyone is trying to bluff him. It makes for the interesting dynamic in this hand.

$2/$3 $500 cap game.

Maniac straddles to $6 on the BTN. In this game action starts UTG and skips the button going to the SB, BB and the BTN is last to act pre-flop.

Eff stacks: I have $500 and he has $450.

It folds to me in the SB. I know that Maniac will raise any two, (this play is debateable, but I have been raising him a lot) I limp in for $6 with A 7 . BB folds. Maniac makes it $41. I call.

Flop: Q J 5

I check. Maniac bets $75. I contemplate raising, but the $75 is actually less than he usually bets, so I am actually concerned he has a pair and I have seen him get very sticky with pairs cause he thinks everyone is bluffing him, so I flat call the $75. My main question is, when is it best to let a maniac bluff of his stack if he has shown the propensity to do so? If I raise, I think he will fold all his air hands. If I check, I think he will bet with a super high frequency. My plan is basically to realize my equity while getting to as cheap of a showdown as possible cause I think A high is good here A LOT. (good plan?)

Turn: K

I check. He tanks for about a minute and finally checks.

River: 8

I check. And he tanks for about 2 minutes and checks again and shows A 2 for a rivered chop.

I am about 60% that if he did not have Ace high, he would have barreled turn. I know it gets super sticky, but do I ever want to take that ability away from him by semi-bluff raising the turn?


  • hectorjelly Posts: 47Subscriber
    Very bad call pre, your going to end up check folding so much after the flop so it will cost you a lot in the long run. Flop is a mandatory check raise, most of the time you are going to face a huge turn bet which will be unprofitable to call.
  • tomorrow33tomorrow33 Posts: 485Subscriber
    I agree with hectorjelly, preflop I'd tighten my range when OOP against this maniac and let him bluff away into me when I've got some better holdings. On to the hand you posted, I know you want to get to cheap showdown with what might be the best hand but your OOP and are you really going to call turn and river with A high if he bombs away like before?

    c/r flop and yeah he's likely to fold out hands your beating but it's going to be so hard to get to show down against this guy. Your also building a pot so that if you hit your hand you can get max value. Remember, you don't have a made hand yet so if you c/r raise and he folds out worse that's not so bad.

    I like a c/r to $200ish and if he jams (worst case scenario your up against a set) your getting the right odds to draw to the nuts. You might even get him to spaz off with Ace high if he's completely mental
    by 1SnOwHIO
  • SnOwHIO Posts: 114Subscriber
    Note taken. I can understand that and knew this hand wasn't going to be the easiest to play, but felt confident playing this person OOP. I was not folding on many flops at all. My point though is that hypothetically (and this situation was close to this) what good is semi-bluff raising flop if opponent will continue with all better hands (his favorite hand is deuces and he never folds pairs) but raising will stop him from bluffing air (majority of his range)??? His bluffing frequency was through the roof.
  • SnOwHIO Posts: 114Subscriber
    Good points Tomorrow33. Thanks for the input!
  • tomorrow33tomorrow33 Posts: 485Subscriber
    edited August 2015
    Yeah c/r raising will stop him from bluffing on later streets cause he is likely to fold, but you don't exactly have the best hand to catch him with at that stage. He could very well be bluffing with a better Ace or even small pockets and if you call him down on multiple streets you are playing the guessing game as to whether he is barrelling with a made hand or a bluff (some of which you don't beat).

    Let's say he never ever folds a pair on the flop, so if you put in all combinations of pockets and all combos of hands with a Q, J and 5 in them, your basically flipping with that range. So you can happily build a pot on the flop to get the money in. By just calling, yeah you allow him to bluff on more streets but you also give him the opportunity to A) improve to a hand that your currently beating, B) barrel you off your hand which may or may not be good. Let's say the river was an off suit 2 and he checks behind and shows the winning hand (results orientated I know) would you be disappointed you didn't raise the flop with what is likely to be the best hand against his range?

    If you had a hand like KQ, AQ? KJ etc that crushes his range then by all means let him bomb away into you but with A high you've got the weakest of bluff catchers and by the river he could very well "bluff" with the best hand.

    And no worries. This hand is a close one cause I understand how you want him to keep bluffing but I'd pick my spots with a hand that crushes his range as to not get in a spot where I'm simply guessing whether I have the best hand or not.
  • tomorrow33tomorrow33 Posts: 485Subscriber
    Also if he knows your capable of semi-bluffing draws, next time you get in a hand with him and you c/r with a made hand, he very well might talk himself into jamming on you with a pair because he thinks you could be drawing
  • FreeLunch Posts: 1,311Pro
    edited August 2015
    SnOwHIO said:
    SMy plan is basically to realize my equity while getting to as cheap of a showdown as possible cause I think A high is good here A LOT. (good plan?)

    To "Realize your equity" you would need to shove. The term does not mean what you think it means - its a PLO concept more than holdem but when you check call you are letting your equity change - the point of realizing your equity is to lock in the equity you have as of that moment.
    tomorrow33 said:
    I agree with hectorjelly, preflop I'd tighten my range when OOP against this maniac and let him bluff away into me when I've got some better holdings.
    While the second part of that sentence makes sense it conflicts with the first. Against a maniac you want to have a tighter range then he has but you still often need to widen your normal range (just not as wide as his). Since you can get value from hands like KJ against a guy like him you need to add those hands to your range against him. If you tighten up you are doing exactly what he expects and wants you to do.

    Back to your original question. You really want him to keep bluffing. He tank checked this hand because his instinct wants to bluff but something made him slow down. This is where social game and giving action is often more important than strategy. You want to talk a lot with these guys. Show him you call with a shity hand once in a while. On a hand like this say "dude if you bet $100 I would have folded" (lie to induce later). This loops back to why you cant tighten up against him. These guys know that other player like to trap him. So even though they suck, they have trap radar and will slow down if they think someone is trapping. They can sense weakness and strength better than you give them credit for because they do this all the time and most people react the same way - tighten up and trap. You should want him to think you are not one of them and that you are here to gamble like him but are just luckier. I was in this situation last night with the maniac to my right and I spent all night telling him how unlucky he was, that he would run these guys down once their luck changes, how I would have done the same thing he did in various hands he lost, and I showed him all kinds of hands and complained back at how lucky they all were to beat him. I also won the most off him and I dont even think he noticed or cared. - because "dude - I had to call - no one folds that."
    by 1SnOwHIO
  • SnOwHIO Posts: 114Subscriber
    Haha! That's pretty smart. In regards to my "realizing equity" comment, I was thinking in terms of seeing both a turn and a river and was even questioning that saying as I typed it. Good to know! The dynamic between me and this guy was that he was clearly out to get me. I was the only one at the table really playing back at him. I was doing so with premium hands too. Had AQ against him 3 times and whiffed each time and one time it put a 4th spade on the board so I had a naked AQ high on a 4 flush board and he shoved 315 on the river and I almost heroed telling him I have nothing and it would be a crazy hero call. Probably shouldn't have done that so he would continue thinking all of his bluffs were so smart. I was really expecting to value town the guy but couldn't make the value part on my side happen LOL. I would have loved to call down with middle pair, but hitting middle pair is hard :/
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