Ah maniacs. Who doesn’t love them? Whatever their reasons for playing crazy (high stakes player blowing off steam, 14th beer), we know that they are playing very erratically and aggressively. And they are spewing off money about as fast as possible. These types of players can routinely be found on microstakes tables especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The most extreme example of this is the “open shoving maniac.”
The strategy advice here is pretty straightforward. Wait for a good hand and call. How good of a hand you should call with depends on your appetite for variance. Q7 is the average hand. So if you call with Q7 or better, against their completely random hand, you will profit in the long run. However you can reduce your variance by tightening up your range quite a bit more than that. I will usually call them with something like 66+ and A9o+. This range gives me a decent edge over them most of the time while not exactly waiting for aces either. And that last point is an important one. You want to make sure that you get their money before somebody else does. If you don’t lower your standards quite a bit, somebody else will and you will lose out on the fun.
However you always have to be aware of who is left to act as well. Sometimes you will need to fold a pretty good hand in EP like AJ or 99 against the maniac’s shove because there are so many people left to act behind you. You don’t want to put your stack on the line so easily against the more sane opponents. Use some discretion as well if you are deep and there are deep players left to act.
Most maniacs however just splash around a lot by raising or re-raising every hand and betting every street. Again, there isn’t much in depth strategy advice to be offered here. Get a pair or a good draw and let them do the betting for the most part. You want to use their insane aggression against them. And it kind of goes without saying that you should not try to bluff these types of players under any circumstances.
My last bit of advice for dealing with maniacs is to limp re-raise them when you pick up a big hand. You can pretty much depend on a raise from these guys most of the time so limp re-raising allows you to trap even more money in the middle. Make sure you check their 3bet% though. Often these guys will be min 3betting every hand as well. In that case it would be better to just make a normal raise and 4bet when it comes back to you.
When you notice one of these guys I suggest that you put that table off to the side and pay a little bit more attention to it. You really want to make sure that you are the one getting his money. There is nothing better for you winrate than free stacks.