Friday, June 4, 2010

Part VI: Slayer of Maniacs... WSOP 2010 Event #3 - Level 5

Level 5 Blinds 100-200
Looking around the table I found level 5 to be quite gratifying. After just 4 hours of play Sklanksy and Yang were gone...but really everyone was gone. The only originals from this table were Seat #6 and I. I had more respect for seat #6 at this point. Although he was loose aggressive it was well controlled and well applied.

What are you when you have poor control of your loose aggressive game? A maniac.

How to identify a maniac:

A maniac will be in a majority of hands
A maniac will bet and raise fearlessly and relentlessly
A maniac will have wildly fluctuating chip stacks
A maniac will call bottom pairs hoping to draw out
A maniac will look for huge implied odds but often miscalculate them

In addition to never bluffing an elephant (calling station), you might as well add maniac to that list.

As I look back at this next hand that I am about to describe, I question the safety and intelligence of what I did. I welcome any discussion on this.

Somewhere 20-30 minutes into level 5 I have a stack of 11 k. There are a few others with comparable stacks, but it looks I am 2nd largest stack, largest being seat #9, who looks to have close to 14k...

Seat #9 is the loosest, most aggressive player I have observed so far.

He is the Maniac.

Notable Hand #6 (criticism welcomed/encouraged)

I look down in late-middle position and find two black Jacks. Everyone folds to me and I raise to $450. Seat #9 immediately raises me to $1200. Everyone else folds and I am left to act.

What should I do?
a. Re-raise
b. Call
c. Fold

Re-raising can be a smart option, mainly to see where I am at in the hand, but I don't care much to test a maniac. The antithesis to the maniac is the elephant. The elephant is the rock to the maniac's sharp scissors. The maniac cannot bluff an elephant because the elephant will call all his crap with mediocre hands. The maniac can only beat the elephant by drawing out. I deliberately become the elephant.

I call, with a strong assumption I have the best hand, but really no objective information that I am right.

The Flop: 4c5d4d

Maniacs bring a lot of rope to the table. They use it to hang themselves when you act passive and give them the lead. I check my hand, expecting the maniac to bet and plan to come back over his top.The maniac doesn't just bet. The maniac goes all-in with his 12k+ stack, on a $2700 pot. I have seen him do some crazy sh*t, but "all-in" stopped me for a second to think.

Why do people go all in?

1. They want to end the pot...a very common reason
2. They are not only confident they have the best hand, but they are confident they will get a call. They have to be confident, because they do not want to scare their opponent away.

I can't say that this guy was confident I would call. He was a bully and used sheer aggression to get his chips. I guess it is possible he had a set or a full house, but I didn't really think too long. I thought to myself that if he hit a set of 4's I'm awfully unlucky and felt it was much more likely he was just trying to end the hand.

I call.

I turn my Jacks and he turns 10d7d hoping to hit his flush. Although his draw did not leave me with warm cozies, I am still a 68% favorite. Two out of every three times I do this I will win.

The turn shattered my soul when the Q of diamonds came. Suddenly I had less than a 10% chance. He had me covered by at least 2k. My goose was cooked.

Then came divine intervention, karma, the poker whatever brought that 4 on the river what you will. I call it the luckiest hand of the series.

The adrenaline going through me at that point was unparalleled. I could barely think straight. The dealer never made a gesture to count the chips out and award the winner. I announced full-house...twice. The arrogant maniac ass on my side was staring me down. "You're gonna have a heart attack if you make it to day 2," he said snidely. When the dealer, who he had already been berating, did not count out the chips, he spewed: "Do I have to do everything?" ...and began counting the chips out himself. Although I was in a state of stupor from the roller coaster I just survived, I was able to double check his count and happily took all his chips.
Crippling him. Like the little loose aggressive maniac girl he is.

~ $22,000


  1. Well that's why Jacks are widowmakers so often. QQ and you re-raise pre-flop.

    I'd have been happier to get my chips in pre-flop against this guy than I would to call his all-in on the flop -- although maniacs get dealt aces too, there aren't that many hands that beat Jacks pre-flop that he could be holding, compared to the number of hands he might test a late-middle position raise with.

    Once he pushed the flop, I would have put him on four to a flush *or better*. You have lot of other ways to get beat there -- trips, 2 pair, straight draw, not to mention overs -- with 2 cards to go. Many of your outs also improve those holdings.

    On the other hand, after you called his pre-flop raise, he had to put you on straightforward strong cards -- a high pair, AK, suited AQ, something like that. He could have been betting a board that looked scary and pretty obviously didn't help you unless you happened to be holding diamonds....

    Given how close your stacks were, though, I'm pretty sure I would have given him credit for more than a cold bluff and would not have called that push.

    But I also think you have to get lucky once or twice to win a tourney like this. Now you can afford to shift gears a bit -- good luck!

  2. You make volumes of sense. To be honest I made up my mind about this guy and did not give a whole lot more thought. There are times when I peg someone and I have a hard time changing my mind. It is a weakness that I have. It is probably why I hate loose aggressive players. I fail to give them respect, and when they hit hard, they get the best of me.

    I was lucky that I was right on the money with his hole cards. I was way luckier that the river gave me a boat.