Perhaps the biggest donator in the Bike's $500 NL game is "Indian" Jay. According to Jay, he is actually Pakistani (which is probably true, but he also claims he gets his money from being a pimp, which I suspect is untrue). In any case, he's in his early 50's and gets his kicks by asserting verbal dominance over the table by insulting everyone, making vulgar jokes, and making ridiculous overbets to give people difficult decisions.
Many players like to sit to Jay's left, following the conventional wisdom that you should sit to the left of weak, loose players, because you will get to act after them on every street in every hand, giving you the best chance to win their chips. While this is probably true in moderate cases, especially if the weak player is passive, I think this logic is far too simplistic in extreme cases such as Jay, who is aggressive. With some types of loose players, especially in full-ring no-limit games, I think it is much better to sit to the player's right.
Let me explain what I mean. The logic behind the conventional wisdom goes like this: sitting to the left of a player allows you to see what he does before you have to make a decision, and this will give you an idea of what he might be holding. If that player is playing every hand, you maximize the number of times you can use this advantage. This logic breaks down, however, if the player is crazy or doesn't know what he's doing, because his actions are nearly random and will actually give you very little information about his cards. If this player often raises instead of merely calling, you are in even more trouble because you are now at a disadvantage against everyone else at the table; you have to respond to the maniac's raise before you get to see what everyone else does. By sitting to the maniac's right, you can observe how everyone responds to his raises before you decide what to do. This can save you a lot of money, and sometimes suck in a few extra bets when you have a big hand. In the Bike's $500NL game, the advantage of sitting to the right of a maniac is increased even further because you are allowed to straddle from any position. Maniacs tend to take "advantage" of this, so sitting to his right means you act after everyone else before every flop.
Jay fits this definition of a maniac far better than anyone else in this game. He goes through long stretches where he straddles and raises 90% of his hands, sometimes without even looking at his cards. Then he makes terrible decisions after the flop. For example, I once saw him in a three-way hand with one player all-in. The flop came 567, and the pot was about $500. Jay checked, and the other player still in thought for a few second. Jay showed the 2c. The other player went all-in for $500, and Jay called. What could the other card be? A 7 or an 8 maybe? Nope, he had a J2.
Needless to say, I like to sit to Jay's right and just let him do the betting for me. Admittedly, betting into him will also work just fine most of the time, but why bother when he will bet it himself and I can watch how the rest of the players react? When he is in one of these moods (which is at least half the time), I will limp with a wide range of hands and fold the rest. I simply will not raise before the flop. Let me give you four examples from Thursday and Friday (incidentally, I lost all four). To be fair, I want to point out that these are picked from several hours of play, but Jay had plenty of other similar hands that I was not involved in.
Hand 1: Jay straddles for $20 in late position. I am to his right and limp with AKs after several limpers. Jay raises to about $100 and gets two callers. I raise to $500. Jay raises all-in to about $600. Everyone folds. I call. Jay shows 76o.
Hand 2: Jay straddles. A few limpers. I limp with A5s. The player to my left limps. Jay recklessly tosses in about $100 of yellow $5 chips. All fold. I raise all-in to about $600. The player to my left folds. Jay calls and shows T3o.
Hand 3: Jay straddles, I limp with A4s after a couple of limpers, Jay raises to $200. All fold to me, I raise all-in to $800. Jay calls and shows ATo. (Whoops!)
Hand 4: Jay straddles. A couple of limpers. I limp with ATo. Jay raises, all fold to me, I go all-in for about $500. Jay calls with AQo. (Oops again!)
Hmmm, looking at that progression it seems like Jay may have set me up a bit for those last two hands, but I still don't think I should play those hands any differently.