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Old 01-06-2019, 02:35 AM   #1
pwnerer
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How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

Hi,

I have recently started to play at a local game that is literally as wild as play money poker on Facebook or something similar.

The table will usually have only 1-2 tight players, 3 loose aggressive players, and 3-4 complete, absolute, out of this world maniacs.

Info about the game: it is 1-2 game, but once the stacks get deeper, they allow buying in for even 250+ BBs. Mississippi straddle is allowed (with no limits on it), and each hand somebody straddles for 10-20 BBs, with someone raising, and several callers. Just getting to the flop means you're now playing for a 100-150 BB pot, with 3-4 players in more often than not. CBETs, big bets, and raises are pretty much mandatory at this game. The skill level is low, and I have even seen a guy play 100 hands in a row a few nights back. Most of the table will play pretty much 80% of all hands, and much of the table's VPIP is probably 50%. Last time I played there were several 1000 BB stacks at the table. The average pot size by the river is probably around 200 BBs (I kid you not), with many going over. This game is in some random country in the world, with only one table running, with the same clientele over and over (potential to learn all their games).

Now, this may seem like poker heaven to a very skilled player, and I am skilled, but not an expert. I understand the theory and strategy and the numbers quite well though.

Against ONE villain, I know exactly what to do: 3BET and 4BET preflop more often, loosen up the range a bit, check and call him down more.

However, when you're in a BIG hand every single time you play a hand, and you're facing 3-4 maniacs who will play pretty much any 2, and who will call down with the 5th pair, and who will call 100 BB bets/raises with just an inside straight draw on the turn, you're running into a LOT of made straights, flushes, 2 random pairs, etc.

I have tried playing classic ABC, very tight, the problem is that when you miss the flop, you're almost certain someone has hit something, no matter how small, and even a 100 BB bluff won't get them off of the hand. In addition, your premiums get cracked by like J6 regularly with 3 people in the hand with you with random 2 cards. I have tried loosening considerably, but then I ended up playing extremely big hands with fairly mediocre holdings - which was quite successful to an extent. All ins preflop happen about 0% of the time due to the sizes of the stacks. However there is lots of raising and re-raising. And with most hands going to the river and show down for some 200 BBs, it's like a minefield for your AA or TPTK. One would imagine that just betting and raising HUGE on the flop would be good, but with 3 crazy maniacs there with you, whichever one calls has probably hit something, or will just call down his flush/straight draw all the way and hit fairly often for big money. Next time I plan to go back to ABC, and call down often, play very tight pre flop and when I do enter either open HUGE or raise HUGE.

Dear 2+2 community, as I mentioned earlier, this game is probably every poker player's dream. Help a brotha out and share with me your vast wisdom, and help a man take these maniacs' money. They clearly have more of it than I do, and do not care for it much. Please discuss and debate, please offer advice.

Thank you!

p.s. I used to study poker quite hardcore for a couple of years, but have not played in about 3 yrs or more, and am extremely rusty now, forgot much of the stuff, don't even remember all the different odds off hand, but am still probably 2nd or 3rd best poker player at the game going by knowledge of the fundamentals, etc.

Last edited by pwnerer; 01-06-2019 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:33 AM   #2
krilleater
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

If it's truly 150BB preflop as standard, the easiest way to play is just to work in l/rr shoves with a solid value range. Print hundreds when they fold and make even more if they decide to call.

Long term, you should study up on deep stack play and get better at hand reading. And never bluff.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:36 AM   #3
pwnerer
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

What when your stack gets very deep as well? Still l/rr shove with 3 pre flop raise callers in the hand and potential that someone truly woke up to a hand?
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:38 AM   #4
mikko
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

Essentially you are not playing 1/2.

Non of the strategy you read pertains to these type games.

Game will have huge variance. Obviously playing tight will prevail longterm. I wouldn't consider a game deep where SPR are generally below 4 on everyflop.

I would be looking to squeeze alot and very wide.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:25 AM   #5
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Essentially you are not playing 1/2... I wouldn't consider a game deep where SPR are generally below 4 on everyflop.
Correct. You are playing short-stacked 1/2/20 (or more), apparently. You are never playing deep. $600 is still short, being only 30"BBs."

Quote:
Game will have huge variance. Obviously playing tight will prevail longterm.
Correct. Even when you are crushing it and playing the optimum strat, be prepared for big swings.

Quote:
I would be looking to squeeze alot and very wide.
Incorrect, imo. You should be playing a classic short-stack strategy, which is very tight, not wide. You should be looking to GII pre or OTF every hand you play, but you should be playing almost rock-tight. Just do a search on short-stack strat.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:37 AM   #6
pwnerer
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by Garick View Post
Correct. You are playing short-stacked 1/2/20 (or more), apparently. You are never playing deep. $600 is still short, being only 30"BBs."


Correct. Even when you are crushing it and playing the optimum strat, be prepared for big swings.


Incorrect, imo. You should be playing a classic short-stack strategy, which is very tight, not wide. You should be looking to GII pre or OTF every hand you play, but you should be playing almost rock-tight. Just do a search on short-stack strat.

Short stack strategy here would be in a nutshell: jam or fold pretty much. What about missing on value when you'd get paid 100-150 BBs with a strong hand, but the villain folds due to it? The times you get paid just offset that, or is it missed value?

Edit: As I mentioned, the villains never go all in pre with bigger stacks.. only with 200ish BB's and even that is rare!
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:44 AM   #7
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Short stack strategy here would be in a nutshell: jam or fold pretty much. What about missing on value when you'd get paid 100-150 BBs with a strong hand, but the villain folds due to it? The times you get paid just offset that, or is it missed value?
Not quite. There would be a lot of PF jamming, but also a lot of raising to sizes that allow an easy flop jams on favorable boards. Basically depends on how much money is already in the pot when it gets to you.

Quote:
As I mentioned, the villains never go all in pre with bigger stacks.. only with 200ish BB's and even that is rare!
Sweet. Than you are jamming and winning $80+ without the risk of getting outdrawn. I'll take that every dang time.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:48 AM   #8
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Sweet. Than you are jamming and winning $80+ without the risk of getting outdrawn. I'll take that every dang time.
But, you're bound to run into a premium pair sooner or later and get called and then all the work to build up your stack is wiped instantly. Is this me being a noob or?

What range would you suggest for this?
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:06 PM   #9
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

That's why you need to play tight and why it's high variance. Seriously, just search for a SS primer. Range depends too much on position, action so far, what people are telegraphing, etc. Generally never wider than 88+/AJ+ though.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:08 PM   #10
mikko
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

I would be looking to squeeze alot and wide (sorry garick).

77+

A10s+ AJo+
KQS

Likely A2s-A5s also. Depending on amount of dead $$$ and current stack size.

Also 3 betting this range after $20 opens from said maniacs without a bunch of dead money.

But I honestly would spend time finding an enjoyable poker game rather than a bingo game.

But knowing a SS strategy pays off huge in LLSNL because games deteriorate alot and turn into this often. Usually only for short time though.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:10 PM   #11
mikko
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

As time goes on. Guys will adjust to what you are doing. So you will also have to make adjustments.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:12 PM   #12
pwnerer
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by Garick View Post
That's why you need to play tight and why it's high variance. Seriously, just search for a SS primer. Range depends too much on position, action so far, what people are telegraphing, etc. Generally never wider than 88+/AJ+ though.
So, let us say I am the button and 3 people have come in and the pot is now roughly 100 BB. I am holding 88/AJ. I have 400-500 BBs and the villains are all equally deep or deeper.

I am still to jam here? The chances of someone having a much stronger hand are extremely high. And the chances that someone woke up to AA/KK (hands that are no brainers, especially against someone who's been jamming a lot) over several hands are near 100%.

And when it happens, I am basically playing for a BIG stack (effective depth notwithstanding) with a "solid" hand.

Am I still to jam here against 3 villains?
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:14 PM   #13
Garick
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

Clearly our definition of "wide" is pretty different, as the range you posted is pretty close to the one that I did. I think it's a tidge too loose, especially in EP, but not ridic.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:14 PM   #14
pwnerer
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by mikko View Post
I would be looking to squeeze alot and wide (sorry garick).

77+

A10s+ AJo+
KQS

Likely A2s-A5s also. Depending on amount of dead $$$ and current stack size.

Also 3 betting this range after $20 opens from said maniacs without a bunch of dead money.

But I honestly would spend time finding an enjoyable poker game rather than a bingo game.

But knowing a SS strategy pays off huge in LLSNL because games deteriorate alot and turn into this often. Usually only for short time though.
When you say squeeze, do you mean a huge raise or a jam?
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:18 PM   #15
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by pwnerer View Post
So, let us say I am the button and 3 people have come in and the pot is now roughly 100 BB. I am holding 88/AJ. I have 400-500 BBs and the villains are all equally deep or deeper.

I am still to jam here? The chances of someone having a much stronger hand are extremely high. And the chances that someone woke up to AA/KK (hands that are no brainers, especially against someone who's been jamming a lot) over several hands are near 100%.

And when it happens, I am basically playing for a BIG stack (effective depth notwithstanding) with a "solid" hand.

Am I still to jam here against 3 villains?
Yes, though with 3 Vs already in, I'd prob tighten up that range a bit.

You should basically never be calling in that scenario. Raise or fold. Seriously, you are playing maniacs, and you want to call to try to hit flops? Do you know how hard that is?

Quote:
The chances of someone having a much stronger hand are extremely high.
If this is true, then fold. It's not true, though, if the game plays as you describe. It's possible, but not extremely high
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:40 PM   #16
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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When you say squeeze, do you mean a huge raise or a jam?
Seriously, OP. Please stop asking basic questions about what a standard SS strat entails until you've read a primer on it. Here's one. Remember that whenever it mentions BBs, they are actually "straddles" in your game.

Once you've read that, please feel free to ask questions about what it meant, adjustments to make in your game, etc. You need to know the basics before you ask about what to do in specific scenarios, though.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:57 PM   #17
pwnerer
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by Garick View Post
Seriously, OP. Please stop asking basic questions about what a standard SS strat entails until you've read a primer on it. Here's one. Remember that whenever it mentions BBs, they are actually "straddles" in your game.

Once you've read that, please feel free to ask questions about what it meant, adjustments to make in your game, etc. You need to know the basics before you ask about what to do in specific scenarios, though.
Just read it. I played mostly tournaments online, a lot of them. Quite familiar with the SS strategy due to it. My big concern here is, that even with the 10-20 BB straddles making it a 20-40 game essentially, if I build up my stack to say 500 BBs and I keep utilizing the strategy, I will eventually run into AA/KK (this is a certainty) and get stacked off.

This is where I am stuck. Try to build up the stack and then adjust the strategy to more post flop play?
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:22 PM   #18
Garick
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

If you have 500BBs effective and people are regularly straddling to 20BBs, you are playing 25"BBs." That is still a very short stack.

Yes, you will sometimes run in to AA/KK. That is why this game is high variance. Losing 25BBs should be no big deal. If you are not rolled for the game, don't play it.

If the straddle is for 10BBs, you are playing half-stacked, which is closer to a regular strategy, but still no place for set-mining, SCs, etc.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:38 PM   #19
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by pwnerer View Post
Just read it. I played mostly tournaments online, a lot of them. Quite familiar with the SS strategy due to it. My big concern here is, that even with the 10-20 BB straddles making it a 20-40 game essentially, if I build up my stack to say 500 BBs and I keep utilizing the strategy, I will eventually run into AA/KK (this is a certainty) and get stacked off.

This is where I am stuck. Try to build up the stack and then adjust the strategy to more post flop play?
Well, I’m not particularly good at poker, but you could beat the game you are describing by simply waiting for AA/KK before you put any money in the pot besides the blinds. In a ten-handed game, you will get one of those hands on average once every 11 rounds. You’ll pay $33 waiting for the hand and should have more than that in EV.

It wouldn’t be fun, or the most profitable way to play, but you would have a positive expectation.

Fundamentally though, I think you are just uncomfortable with the variance this game will have. Yes, sometimes the maniacs wake up with Aces. You either need to be comfortable getting stacked once in awhile with the worse hand, or you need to nit it up to silly levels.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:43 PM   #20
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by pwnerer View Post
Just read it. I played mostly tournaments online, a lot of them. Quite familiar with the SS strategy due to it. My big concern here is, that even with the 10-20 BB straddles making it a 20-40 game essentially, if I build up my stack to say 500 BBs and I keep utilizing the strategy, I will eventually run into AA/KK (this is a certainty) and get stacked off.

This is where I am stuck. Try to build up the stack and then adjust the strategy to more post flop play?
As Garick mentioned, it's more helpful to think of the straddle as an effective blind. This is a 1/2/20 game, so the BB = 20 not 2. With a 1k stack, you have 25BB not 500BB.

Anyway, if a pf raiser makes it 80 and gets 2 callers, the pot is now 260. If the pf raiser is actually opening 50% of hands, then he really shouldn't have AA/KK all that often, and even just shoving 1k into the pot of 260 will turn a profit -- I would use a relatively tight range when you do this. I would say, something like 99+,AK,AQ,AJs,KQ.

Once you get a little bit deeper, like a stack of 1500 or more, it might make sense to 3bet to something like 400. This will allow you to get away from the weaker part of your range in case you get 4bet to 1500.

Another relevant question in trying to build accurate ranges is: do you see players making weird plays like overcalling a pf open with AA/KK/QQ or are they always 3betting?

Last edited by aisrael01; 01-06-2019 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:59 PM   #21
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Another relevant question in trying to build accurate ranges is: do you see players making weird plays like overcalling a pf open with AA/KK/QQ or are they always 3betting?
Yup, passive AA/KK/QQ plays to be had a good percentage of the time as they try to "trap".
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:03 PM   #22
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Fundamentally though, I think you are just uncomfortable with the variance this game will have. Yes, sometimes the maniacs wake up with Aces. You either need to be comfortable getting stacked once in awhile with the worse hand, or you need to nit it up to silly levels.
Indeed I am. It's like playing roulette. Freaking wild. I will nit it up to silly levels.
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:14 PM   #23
mikko
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by Garick View Post
Clearly our definition of "wide" is pretty different, as the range you posted is pretty close to the one that I did. I think it's a tidge too loose, especially in EP, but not ridic.
Ya, I saw you posted same time I was typing with similar range.

Which I feel is wider than most guys are squeezing with.

Obviously action, stack size, position and pot size all play major roll.

I would be squeezing even wider with right combination
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:16 PM   #24
aisrael01
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

I mean, this is a fairly simple math problem:
If we assume players are only calling our shove with AA,KK,QQ, then we can work out how often that happens.

If a player has a 50% VPIP then they're playing half of the approximately 1300 possible combos. AA/KK/QQ accounts for 18 combos. Therefore each player has AA/KK/QQ at most 18/650~ 3% of the time. Against a field of 3 players, they will have AA/KK/QQ at most 3 times that, or 9% of the time.

The profit in EV of shoving is roughly given by the formula

EV = P*F + (P+S)*(1-F)*E - S*(1-F)*(1-E)

where P is the size of the pot, F is our fold equity (% of the time all Villains fold), S is our stack size, and E is the equity of our range against Villain's range when they call us. (This formula is not entirely accurate, but good enough for finding an approximate answer).

In the example I gave, P=260, S=1000, F=90%=0.9.
To find E we need an equity calculator. Several good options are available for free online (here's one: http://www.propokertools.com/simulations). Plug in the ranges of {AJs+,AQo+,99+} against {QQ+} to find the equity. I used pokercruncher, which costs like 15USD, and found that E=30%=0.3. Therefore even when our shove is called, we're still in pretty good shape -- we rate to win almost 1 out of 3 times.

If you want to take poker seriously, I do recommend you work this out yourself and learn to play around with equity calculations to convince yourself of the profitability of these sorts of plays.

Last edited by aisrael01; 01-06-2019 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:29 PM   #25
pwnerer
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Re: How to play against a table of maniac with DEEP stacks?

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Originally Posted by aisrael01 View Post
I mean, this is a fairly simple math problem:
If we assume players are only calling our shove with AA,KK,QQ, then we can work out how often that happens.

If a player has a 50% VPIP then they're playing half of the approximately 1300 possible combos. AA/KK/QQ accounts for 18 combos. Therefore each player has AA/KK/QQ at most 18/650~ 3% of the time. Against a field of 3 players, they will have AA/KK/QQ at most 3 times that, or 9% of the time.

The profit in EV of shoving is roughly given by the formula

EV = P*F + (P+S)*(1-F)*E - S*(1-F)*(1-E)

where P is the size of the pot, F is our fold equity (% of the time all Villains fold), S is our stack size, and E is the equity of our range against Villain's range when they call us. (This formula is not entirely accurate, but good enough for finding an approximate answer).

In the example I gave, P=260, S=1000, F=90%=0.9.
To find E we need an equity calculator. Several good options are available for free online. Plug in the ranges of {AJs+,AQ+,99+} against {QQ+} to find the equity. I used pokercruncher, which costs like 15USD, and found that E=30%=0.3. Therefore even when our shove is called, we're still in pretty good shape.

If you want to take poker seriously, I do recommend you work this out yourself and learn to play around with equity calculations to convince yourself of the profitability of these sorts of plays.

Oh, it makes perfect sense. In English: the amount you expect to win times the percentage of the time you expect to win MINUS the amount you'll lose times the percentage of the time you expect to lose given your range and theirs.

I agree. But it's hard to put in 500 BB with like 99 and 3 clowns who already called. I could see myself going with this with AA KK QQ AKs.. possibly jacks (I do not like to play big with jacks because any calls I get will either be bigger pairs or overcards that can easily hit a bigger pair, such as AK.
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