Help me exploit this player type

jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,998 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited January 2015 in General Concepts
There are a few players in my local games that fit a profile that I have a hard time with.

I've been a winning player since my first day, but that's because a) I read poker books for 3 weeks straight before I bet my first nickel, and b) I go out of my way to search out games with bad players, and there are enough around. I have a reputation for playing very tight. I've worked toward opening up and improving my game in the last year or 2, and look for more exploits. At first I just beat people with cards, but now I look for more edges. By nature I'm conservative and will sometimes trade some EV for reduced variance. I'm a semi-professional in the sense that I have a real job that everyone knows about, but I rely on the extra side income from poker. Almost no one knows this since I never talk about it and just give the impression I play for enjoyment.

The players I'm trying to beat have plenty of money from their jobs. They are big donators in the long run, but they are also very tricky/aggressive. They are hard to put on a hand and willing to bet large amounts when you don't know where you stand. They have a tendency to play trash cards - not 72o, but low gapped connectors like 64o, and basically anything playable. Although they are pretty big losers, it's not so much because they lose all the time. Their general aggressiveness actually helps to win them money against a lot of the players who tilt against them.

They love to make a crappy 2 pair or hidden straight and try to stack you. They have a feel for when their opponent shows aggression, their opponent often has big cards that tend to only make 1 big pair. They win more than they should on their good hands because everyone is waiting to get aces or top pair, because they have a sense that's what the tighties have. It is difficult to play "small hand, small pot, big hand, big pot" poker because sometimes they force the issue and play big pots with any hand they wish to play. You don't have enough big hands to play a big pot with them very often. They don't just always aggress though. Sometimes it seems like they're floating or trapping, and just call. Sometimes this is with the nuts, sometimes it's with the intention of float/stealing, and sometimes it's a small one pair hand that is drawing to 5 outs.

Also, one of them in particular will sometimes fold if he's convinced you've finally got a big hand. I remember one hand where we were deep stacked and I had :8c:6c on a flop of :9c:7c:4h. He had :7d:4d. He bet, I raised, he 3-bet, I 4-bet and he folded. He felt I must have a set. So he's a semi-maniac, but he will fold if he really thinks he's beat. Frankly, I wouldn't have the nerve to 4-bet cold bluff him, because he doesn't normally fold enough there.

I would be happy playing a short stack against these guys - that would be super easy. But the problem is they buy in multiple times until they finally hit a hand and get a big stack. Meanwhile I can't go south with my winnings, so we end up playing 200+BB against each other a lot. Plus, beating them with a short stack just seems like a cop out. I know that money is going somewhere by the end of the week, I just don't know how and to who.

I don't mind playing against the occasional local pros because their games are more predictable and we can usually stay out of each other's way. But I've always struggled with extracting the most from the intimidating aggro-donkeys who take me outside my comfort zone of known math. I've been winning against them, but I just feel like I've left a lot on the table.

Any advice on specific situations to look for to exploit? Where to sit relative? (Sometimes it's good to be to the left of a maniac, and sometimes to the right to have relative position.) Multiway hand considerations? When to be passive or aggressive, when to be conservative and when to start splashing around entire buy-ins?


  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,998 ✭✭✭✭✭
    To be clear, while these guys lose a lot of money eventually, they are difficult to play against because they do some things well. They are very balanced - a big bet or raise could be a bluff, a semi-bluff, a thin value bet, or the nuts. They are aggressive. They are very difficult to put on a hand. They are also difficult to bluff, but they don't stack off by calling too light. Therefore I'm interested in narrowing in on the things that do lose them money.

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