Last night, I sat down at a1/2 NLHE table after a hand had just finished. The chat displayed some pretty harsh words for one of the players (for lack of a better term, the “maniac”) whose only response was LOL. Another player chided the original complainer for playing his pocket Ks so badly and told him to shut the hell up and play cards. A few hands later, the chider had his big PP go down to the maniac’s turned two pair of 63. They weren’t even sooted. HE then joined in on the chorus of degradation.
This pattern continued for thirty minutes as the maniac seemed to stay in every hand, raised liberally, and turned over a seemingly endless stream of pathetic looking winners, 74, 63 (again), 96 and so on. GRob had nothing on this guy. Not once did he show a “big” hand, just a series of little ones that put most of the table on tilt. Everyone wanted to play with him but no one seemed to be able to extract a big chunk from his growing stack.
After a few orbits, I felt I had some idea of what he was doing. Holding K9c, I raised to 6 and he called, I bet 8 into a raggy flop and he called. The turn did not help me but I stayed consistent with my 8 bet which he then raised to 16. BAM. Online tell alert. Each time he had min raised on the turn when acting after the initial bettor, he had folded to a reasonable river bet. Another blank on the river and he obliged by folding to my ½ pot bet. Of course, I gave it back to him a few hands later when he hit a runner, runner flush with Q2 but it was a pleasant learning experience. Rather than focusing on the “bad” cards he was playing, I tried to concentrate on how he was betting them. While most of the table was railing against the way he was playing and trying to beat him every pot, a few players bided their time and chipped away at what he was taking from the complainers. Remoras can eat pretty well sometimes too. When faced with a maniac, look for the method to his madness rather than getting caught up in trying to get him back for the beat he put on you.