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Poker Guy: Maniacal Jaka keeps opponent, and everyone else, guessing

SOME PLAYERS are maniacs. Faraz Jaka is one of them. His variance can be huge, but putting him on a hand can be impossible.

SOME PLAYERS are maniacs. Faraz Jaka is one of them. His variance can be huge, but putting him on a hand can be impossible.

However, even without seeing all the cards in this hand from the $25,000-buy-in 2010 World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio, you might gain some insights on facing this type of player.

With blinds at $400-$800 plus a $100 ante, Jaka limped from middle position with a hand he refused to completely divulge, other than the deuce he showed at the end. The player on the button, who had a big stack but smaller than Jaka's, raised to $3,500. Jaka then re-raised to $11,500.

"Sometimes I do that with aces; sometimes I do that with junk," said Jaka, who has more than $2.3 million in tournament prize winnings.

The button called, and the flop came 2-6-10, two diamonds. Jaka checked. The button made it $11,000.

"It doesn't tell me anything," said Jaka, who called. "My instinct was he was kind of weak. I don't think he had a monster pre-flop, like aces or kings."

The turn came the 10 of spades, pairing the board. Jaka min-bet $800.

"I just like to mess with people," said Jaka. "Sometimes I'll do that and people will do something stupid and I'll win the pot. It frustrates people. I'm trying to get in their heads and mess with them."

The button raised to $30,000.

"It was a pretty large raise," Jaka said. "I thought it showed weakness because the 10 is a pretty scary card and he should be concerned with it. But when he put in such a large raise, I thought it was a sign of weakness. I thought he was trying to make me fold a middle pair."

Jaka called.

"I either had a good hand or just a deuce. If I just had a deuce, I'm calling because I think he's bluffing and I'm good. If I had a big hand, like pocket deuces or deuce-10, then I'm calling because I still think he's weak and I don't think he'd call a raise. So, whether I had it or not, it doesn't matter. Just the fact that I thought he was weak was why I could play it that way."

The river came the ace of diamonds, completing a possible flush. Jaka bet out $26,000. The button folded.

"If I had a good hand, I picked that amount because I don't think he had much and couldn't call a bigger bet," Jaka said. "If I am going to bluff, there's no reason to bluff big. He either has it or he doesn't.

"I showed a deuce, but I don't want to say what the other card was. I'd rather keep people curious. The cards matter to some extent, but that whole hand is just me messing with someone, trying to predict how someone's going to respond to my action on every single street."

Table talk

Min-bet: To wager the amount of the big blind.

Steve Rosenbloom is a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the author of the book "The Best Hand I Ever Played." He can be reached at