Strategy Series

How to Play Poker Against Maniacs


It’s evening and you sit down on a heads-up hyper-turbo tournament lobby and an unknown player joins the game. Right away, he goes all-in on the first hand. After that, he continues to go all-in in with every single hand. You fold a couple of mediocre hands and soon you notice that you have lost third of your stack. Then you decide to call all-in with K2o and the villain turns up A3o and wins the pot. Does this sound familiar to you? In this article, I will tell how to play optimal poker against maniacs in heads-up hyper-turbos.

In heads-up hyper-turbos, you face maniacs frequently. Especially in the evening when people are getting drunk, they come to heads-up hyper-turbo tables to gamble. You could imagine that these maniacs are one of the most profitable opponent types to face on the tables, but the reality is often different. When the game is completely based on preflop actions, you need to have a solid strategy on how to maneuver.

How to Know Hand Equity Against Villain’s Random Hand?

First of all, if our villain is going all-in on every hand, we need to have a good understanding of how much equity our hand has against the villain’s random hand. When I started to play heads-up I calculated every single starting hand’s equity against a random hand with Pokerstove.

Unfortunately, looking at hand equities from notes during a fast-paced heads-up hyper-turbo is not optimal, which is why I have made a hand equity chart with HTML/CSS. From this chart, it is easy to check how much your hand has equity against a random hand. Another situation when I use the chart is under 10 big blind play. Usually, 80% of the hands are allin situations under 10bb and it is useful to check up each starting hand’s equity.

Hand Equity Matrix

What is the Right Strategy Against All-In Maniacs?

After we know the hand equities, we need to have a strategy to follow. When our opponent is going all-in with every hand, we should not raise any hands before the flop. We don’t have any incentive to make our villain suspicious with betting before the flop.

The answer, how to play optimal poker against maniacs in heads-up hyper-turbos is fairly straightforward. We should fold all the hands which have less than 50% of equity against a random hand, and call with hands more than 50% of equity. Not so complicated after all.

You can purchase the Hand Equity Chart from here. The price of the chart is 2,52€.

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