March 8, 2008

5 Hands, 2 Maniacs… How Do You Play This?

by @ 11:22 am. Filed under My Poker Game, Poker, Strategy

EDIT: This post got big, apologies for the long hand histories but I think this is an interesting series of hands against some pretty crazy opponents. If reading hand histories doesn’t do it for you than you might want to skip this one.

Playing micro stakes full ring limit hold’em on PokerStars as part of my bankroll rebuilding process.

Preflop this table is typical loose/passive with many players seeing flops and not many raising preflop. Post flop there has been some strange and unpredictable play with some unusual holdings being shown down three or four ways.

I’m multi-tabling and have been playing fairly tight until I’m dealt the following five hands in succession:

Hand #1:

:Qs: :Qd:

In middle position at this stage (3 off the button) it’s raised in early position, I re-raise and the small blind who is playing 100% (I’m not joking) of his hands and seeing 66% of showdowns with what some would describe as manical aggression on all streets calls. Flop comes:

:4s: :5s: :7h:

Small blind bets, early position calls and I raise. Small blind calls and early position folds. Turn comes:


Small blind bets again and I just call this time. Against most players the 8 of any suit is a crappy card for me and it may well be here but given that he’d play this same line with as little as a pair I believe I can call. Raising is also an option but I tend to get myself in trouble doing that against these maniacal players, too often taking a stand in the wrong spots. Nothing wrong with folding either but I can’t bring myself to give this guy credit for a real hand.

River is:


He bets again, I call. He shows:

:Ad: :5h:

Nothing too exciting, gives us some information on the small blind player who we’ll call “Looney23″ for the rest of this post.

Hand #2:

I’m dealt:

:As: :Ah:

Now four off the button, an early position player calls. I raise for the second hand in a row which is unheard of at this table. Looney23 calls and the big blind calls. The flop comes:

:Kd: :Td: :5d:

I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. BB checks, early position checks, I bet, Looney23 folds(!) and the big blind check-raises. Early position folds and I have a decision to make.

Do I just fold? Is a check-raise from this player enough to put him on the flush. I’m not sure. If he has four to a flush I’m about a 60% favourite, if he has the flush I’m drawing nearly dead but on this table I wouldn’t rule out just a pair of kings. I decide to put him to the test and I three bet. He calls and when the turn comes:


He does something interesting and checks. To me this screams two things either “scared of full house” or “didn’t make my flush”. I bet intending to check the river if he calls. He calls, river is:


He checks, I check and I win the pot over his:

:Ad: :3c:

Good result, not sure about how I played it though.

Hand #3:

:Jh: :Jc:

Unbelievable, three premium pairs in a row. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Earlier position this time UTG+2. Folded to me, I raise Looney23 calls, same player from the last hand who we’ll call “CrazyMan” raises and I cap it hoping in vein to get rid of Looney23. They both call we go to the flop three handed:

:2h: :7c: :5h:

Good flop for me. CrazyMan bets, I raise, Looney23 re-raises, CrazyMan calls and I’m confused. Against normal players I’d be worried about sets, there’s also a chance CrazyMan has a bigger pair. I call.

The turn is the:


CrazyMan checks I bet, Looney23 calls (flush draw?) and then CrazyMan check-raises.

What the?

Logically I should be thinking about hands like straights, two pair, sets but instead this just feels wrong. I can’t explain why but I don’t put either of them on a hand at this point. My gut and my mind can’t come to agreement so I call. For the record I hate this call.

The river is:


CrazyMan bets out and now I have to believe one of them has a straight or a flush. I fold fully expecting Looney23 to raise. He surprises me and calls, showdown.


:Ks: :Ts:

(king high)


:7s: :3s:

(rivered two pair)

My gut was right but my head didn’t let me punish them enough. I should have 3 bet the turn but really I had no chance of getting rid of Looney23, it is clear from his play that he considers top pair no kicker a monster hand.

This hand set the precedent for the big hand #5.

Hand #4:

I’m dealt:

:7s: :3c:

In early position.

I fold.

Hand #5 – The “big” hand:

UTG now I’m dealt:

:Ks: :Kd:

I raise, Looney23 calls, CrazyMan re-raises, small blind calls (nearly all-in) I cap without much thought and everyone calls.

Flop comes:

:Tc: :4s: :8d:

SB checks, I bet, Looney23 calls, CrazyMan raises, SB calls all-in, I re-raise, Looney23 calls, CrazyMan caps it and we both call. Phew.

Given the previous hands I don’t give either of them credit for a bigger hand than mine. Turn comes:


I bet, Looney23 calls, CrazyMan raises, I re-raise wanting to get heads up with CrazyMan but Looney23 calls, CrazyMan caps and we both call again.

The action on this street has me worried, no idea what they have but I decide in advance to just check/call the river. This pot is big enough, I only let the turn get capped because of the players I’m against but even against players this crazy surely KK can’t be good here too often.

River is the:


I check, Looney23 wakes up and bets now (damn straight, I think to myself) CrazyMan just calls this time (very odd) and I make a crying call into a pot that’s given me somewhere close to 30 to 1 in odds.

The all-in player shows:

:Kc: :9h:



:3s: :2s:

(runner, runner straight)


:4h: :3c:

(pair of fours)


So tell me, in this last hand, given the previous play of these opponents do you lose big with these kings or did I get out of line here and build too big a pot?

In hindsight I think there were a couple of points in the 5 hands where I may have made the wrong decision but when you’re being hit over the head with premium pocket pairs pre-flop and then facing the kind of play I saw from CrazyMan and Looney23 it’s hard not to get caught up in the moment. Remember these hands happened in succession, the whole train wreck took no more than 5 or 6 minutes from start to finish. I also had 3 other tables open and playing. That’s a lot going on.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to log off now and get over this tilt ;) Thanks for reading!

6 Responses to “5 Hands, 2 Maniacs… How Do You Play This?”

  1. GaryC Says:

    hey Simon,

    I attribute those hands to bad luck mostly and don’t play them altogether differently than you did. Of course, I’ve been known to be called a donkey in some parts.

    Thanks a bunch for the comment, bro, I do appreciate it.


  2. Andrew Says:

    Hi Simon,

    I liked the hand analysis with the exception of the last hand. I think you should have been 3-betting (and 4-betting all in if required) preflop with your kings. I think this would have pushed Crazyman out and the rest of the hand would have been what it is. You may not have won a big pot but most likely you would not have lost a big pot either. I think with the crazies (we have one at our weekly game) you have to be very very careful. Sure you can punish them, but when the hit (because you let them in cheap) and win you are kicking yourself for not reraising or raising more to begin with.

  3. Simon Says:

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Andrew – totally agree with your preflop advice, if you take another look at the hand you’ll see the betting was capped preflop. Not unusual against these kinds of players and certainly the correct play with KK. Just got to get your money in with the best of it and hold on for the ride.

  4. Says:

    5 Hands, 2 Maniacs… How Do You Play This?–Simon’s Poker Blog…

    Playing with maniacs…

  5. UK Poker Player Says:

    I’m not sure what to make of the hand – maybe just bad luck dude! With 3 premium pairs in a row and then the flop, I would have called it like you did. Keep putting up these articles, I like analyzing the play.

  6. Michelle Says:

    Good advice, now I just have to try it lol

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