Poker Tips by George: Maniac to My Right

By George Epstein
June 12, 2023

The effective use of aggression by raising while playing poker can be a very profitable skill. There is a right time and way to do so. But it can be overdone, and that can be very costly. Some players are just too aggressive. We call them “maniacs.”

It takes considerable skill to play effectively against such an opponent. However, when done well, it can be very profitable. I had just such an experience. I was playing an online no-limit hold’em game on a site that was recommended to me by and one player was such a maniac, often going all-in before the flop. The way he was playing, he may have been on tilt.

All in

Those of you who have followed my column through the years will note that normally I much prefer playing limit hold’em in live games. I was playing online in this instance because I was still uncomfortable playing in live games since the coronavirus pandemic began. In this particular online game, we played for points –  not real money.

Over the long run you can expect fewer than 25 percent of your hole cards to be playable – worthy of investing your chips. But this “maniac” played every hand he was dealt. He won small pots – the blinds – when all of the other players folded to his big bets before the flop. On one occasion, an opponent called his all-in and beat him out when he connected on the flop. Maniac folded without revealing his hand. Then he promptly bought in again for another $1,000.

What would you do in this case?

Maniac was seated to my right, so he acted every hand just before me. He was in the cut-off position, and I was the button. A few players before him had limped in to see the flop. Then he pulled his all-in move. I studied my hole cards – pocket Aces. My hand was well ahead of his. As you may know, pocket aces become an underdog if more than three opponents stay in the pot. Fortunately, I was well ahead. So, I responded to the maniac by going all-in myself. All of the other players folded their hands, leaving us heads-up.  It was no surprise when I won the pot – a huge one!

READ ALSO: Poker Tips by George: Betting Patterns

That did not change the maniac’s ways. After a few hands, he was back to going all-in. This time, I was in the hijack position, again with the maniac to my right. Once again, maniac went all-in before the flop. This time I held A-Q off-suit. With only two limpers, I again went all-in, so it was heads-up again. Neither of us improved our hands and I was pleased to take a huge pot once again.

The next day, a loose player who seemed to be on tilt went all-in from a middle position. The players before me all folded so, with a strong starting hand and lots more chips, I again went all-in and took another huge pot with only a small improvement.

It is so much fun when you win big pots, especially against a maniac – or a player who plays like one when he is on tilt.

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Written By.

George Epstein

After a long and productive career as a leader in the aerospace industry, upon his retirement in the 1990s, George Epstein chose poker as his “second career.” George has been widely recognized for his many significant accomplishments and contributions to our society. These include pioneering and innovations in various materials, testing and manufacturing technologies for […]

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