The Failure Of The Pot Limit Omaha/8 Maniac
Recently I was sitting in a $100 buy in pot limit Omaha/8 game with a complete maniac. He was raising every pot he was in with reckless abandon and seemed to be hitting every draw he needed. His stack quickly rose to over $600 and on top of everything else he started talking trash. He had started getting to a few of the players at the table with his luck, poor play and talking and they were starting to go on tilt. On the other hand there were three of us at the table who weren't affected by his “game” and eventually ended up with all of his money. Here is how we did it.
The first thing to realize is that in a pot limit or no limit game it only takes a few big pots in key spots to break someone. Next you need to understand that a maniac will eventually break himself or herself if you let them. You don't have to manipulate them or try any fancy plays. Just very patiently wait for the perfect situation. Forget trying to pick up small pots from the maniac and never bluff one unless you have a 100% read on them. Also, you cannot let anything loosen up your starting hand requirements. Many players start playing more hands because the maniac often plays poorer hands on average and/or they let the luck and talking make them want revenge so bad that they make poor decisions.
The correct playing style is to tighten up your starting hand requirements and wait for the perfect situation. This can be frustrating because you will see hands that you could have won with, but you folded. Do not let this change your plan. There will even be times when you won't be able to take advantage of the maniac in the current session, as the opportunity won't present itself. In these cases, make sure you make a note of the maniac so you can look for him or her at a later time. In the game mentioned above, the maniac didn't have much of a chance, as there were three of us picking our spots against him.
One of the perfect situations that I refer to above is a hand that is the best hand on the flop with a redraw to an even better hand. Here is an example. The maniac raises from early position and you call with A 2 4 8, with the A suited to one of your other cards. The flop comes 3 5 7 with two of your suite.
In this case you have the best possible low hand with counterfeit protection and a draw to the nut flush or a straight. In this situation, don't become too aggressive until the maniac does. Though the maniac will probably place a large bet on the flop, if he or she doesn't, make a small bet behind them to let them have a chance o bluff at the pot. If they do, then you make your move.
Finally, don't be intimidated by a maniac. You will more than likely be a much better player overall than they are, so there is no reason to feel intimidated. This also illustrates the importance of having the correct bankroll. You must have enough money to take a few bad beats and “weather the storm” long enough to profit from the maniac.