Maniacs present a problem at the table. They greatly increase the volatility of the game. Let me share my strategy for dealing with them. I think you'll find it profitable. I was playing at my friendly neighborhood $10/20 Stud game at Foxwoods. I knew nearly all of the players at the table. All but one were tight players attracted to this tightly structured game.
Yeah I know you're an old hand. You read these columns more for amusement than instruction. Hell, let's face it. With all of your experience and common sense at the table you could write the column. I know. I know.
Even so, every now and then, it helps even the most seasoned veteran player to return to the basics - if only to remind himself of the rudiments of good play. It is possible, after all, that even the best of us, in our desire to be tricky and unpredictable, stray too far from the core elements of winning play. So with an eye toward fundamentals, let me return to the basics.
Let's be honest, shall we. It's more fun to play a hand than to fold. It's more fun to play a wild, careless, carefree rockin and rollin game than to play the careful, self controlled disciplined poker we know we're supposed to play. With that in mind, I have a list of some excuses you can employ during or immediately after your 7-Card Stud session to justify your wild side while not losing face to the many people in the poker room whom you imagine actually care about how you play.
It was Thanksgiving night at Foxwoods. I played short-handed $20/40 stud for a few hours. My experiences there might prove instructive for you. The house cut the rake down to $2.00 maximum instead of the customary $4.00. Even so, I wasn't sure if I wanted to play. My game is built around extracting profit from bad players. Were the other three players who remained bad enough for me to make a profit?
I play in many games; I read all the poker magazines and on line sites that I can find; and I read a lot of news groups too. I read a lot of advice. Some of it is good. Some of it is awful. Here's some of the worst.
A columnist who writes for low stakes players just starting out in poker opines, "...so never play a hand the same way twice in a row. It will make you too predictable."
In my last column I covered situations when you are willing to loosen up your normally tight stanars of play in a loose, low-limit game. But this oesn't mean that you will just be playing more loosely in general. It's important to ajust your play specifically to the change ynamics of these loose sprea limit games. Sometimes that means tighter play.
Back about ten months ago I wrote an article about running charity poker tournaments. I explained that they benefited the industry as a whole while doing good for a bunch of worthwhile causes. I recommended them highly.
It was, by all accounts, a miserable game. The players were miserable, the game was deadly boring, the rake was too high, the stakes were too low, and I was exhausted. I really shouldn't have been playing in this $1-5 game, but two friends without much in the way of poker-playing money wanted to play. And I had taken them down to the casino. So I felt obliged. The two of us sat down in this game. Obligation is a drag sometimes.
You probably already know what check-raising is. But just to be clear, here's my simple definition. A check raise is an act of deception designed to make your hand look weak initially, to induce someone else to bet so you can then raise his bet in the same round of betting.
If you've read this column before, or read my book Winning 7-card Stud, or read just about any serious poker literature, then you've certainly learned about the importance of record keeping. I won't go into much detail here, but the bottom line is that you want to keep track, carefully, of how well you do overall and in different game situations so you can see, at a glance, whether you are winning or losing.