Mike Caro poker word is Favorites


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published (2009) in Poker Player newspaper.


People have favorite colors, favorite chairs, favorite poker hands, and probably favorite underwear. I feel left out, because I don’t have emotional favorites like those. I simply prefer things after I’ve concluded they’re more valuable or more effective than competing choices. I don’t have a favorite food, a favorite restaurant, or even a favorite dog.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because this will be another in my series of self-interviews and it’s about my favorite poker tips. Go figure.

Question 1: You’ve often said that a winning player should try to make the game fun for opponents. Even though nobody likes to lose pots, if you can laugh and be friendly whether your hand holds up or is outdrawn, most opponents will find it less painful to lose to you in the future.

Because of that, they’ll continue to enter pots against you with hands that are weaker than the ones they’ll play against less-friendly foes. That results in extra profit for you.

You’ve pointed out that skillful players who belittle opponents are making it less likely that those opponents will compete with weak hands in the future, for fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed. Is that one of your favorite tips?

Answer: Yes.

Question 2: I’ve always remembered your advice about poker bullies. Those are the opponents who attempt to dominate the game through unrelenting aggression. They bet and raise with such frequency that other players are psychologically shell shocked.

As a result, players tend to focus on the bully, worried about what will happen to their hands if they bet or raise. That’s why bullies typically dominate games and win handily.

But you’ve pointed out that these bullies have a fundamental flaw in their strategy. In order to consistently play with that much aggression, they must necessarily be betting and raising with more hands than is mathematically correct.

You’ve said that you can defeat poker bullies simply by letting them have the stage – by betting into them less often and by calling them more often. If you do that, you’re taking advantage of their strategic flaw.

When you respond that way, you always have the advantage against a poker bully. Would that be among your favorite tips?

Answer: Most certainly.

Question 3: You teach that you can’t choose a lucky seat and that trying to do that is just superstitious nonsense. But you point out that you can choose a winning seat.

The trick is to sit to the left of two main types of players: loose players, and skillfully aggressive players. You want to act after they do. With the loose players, you want to sit to their left because you can trap them in the pot before you make raises with advantageous hands.

But if you sit to their right and raise first, you’re apt to chase them out of the pot – along with a shot at their weakly played money. And with skillfully aggressive players, you also want to sit to their left so that you can see what they do before you act and not enter with medium-strong hands.

As poker tips go, would that be one of your favorites?

Answer: Absolutely.

Question 4: You’ve said that in a poker tournament, you should seldom advertise if your table is on a list of ones that will break soon. It’s important to give your attention to the list of breaking tables, because paying to advertise at a table that will soon break is like buying a full-page ad in a magazine that doesn’t get distributed. Should I assume that’s one of your favorite tips?

Answer: No. That’s important advice, but I wouldn’t count it among my favorite tips.

Question 5: One of the key concepts you teach about poker tells is that players who are deliberately acting tend to portray themselves in a manner opposite of the true strength of their hands – strong when weak, weak when strong.

As such, sighs, shrugs and sad voices usually indicate a strong hand. Is that tip among your favorites?

Answer: Sure.

Question 6. Advice you’ve given at seminars suggests that you shouldn’t bet, raise, or reraise as often with small advantages in a tournament as you would in an everyday game. That’s because in a proportional-payoff tournament – where first place gets a percent of the prize pool, second place a smaller percentage, and so forth – the correct mathematical approach is to simply survive.

You often want to decline chances to earn what would be a small extra profit at a high risk. In regular games, every advantage eventually adds up and increases profit. But in a typical tournament, the risk outweighs the perceived advantage, because it reduces your likelihood of moving up in the money.

So, is that one of your favorite tips?

Answer: Definitely.

Question 7. Are there any other favorite tips you’d like to add?

Answer: Not at this time.

— MC


When this column was published in Poker Player, it included an editorial announcement. It’s repeated here, purely for historical purposes:

BREAKING NEWS… Mike Caro and Doyle Brunson will present six special seminars at the 2009 World Series of Poker at the Rio. Complementary tickets for the Power Poker Seminars be available at the WSOP.

Here is the schedule:

Saturday, May 30, 10 a.m. (one hour)

“Mike Caro’s 19 Big-Profit Poker Tips + Exclusive Q&A with Doyle Brunson”

Sunday, May 31, 10 a.m. (one hour)

“Mike Caro’s Tricks and Tips for Extra Poker Profit + Exclusive Q&A with Doyle Brunson”

Saturday, June 13, 10 a.m. (one hour)
“Mike Caro’s Best Hold ’em and Tournament Advice + Exclusive Q&A with Doyle Brunson”

Sunday, June 14, 10 a.m. (one hour)

“Mike Caro’s Best Real-World and Online Poker Advice + Exclusive Q&A with Doyle Brunson”

Saturday, June 27, 10 a.m. (one hour)

“Mike Caro’s Psychology, Tells, and Manipulation + Exclusive Q&A with Doyle Brunson”

Sunday, June 28, 10 a.m. (one hour, 30 minutes)

“Mike Caro’s Grand Seminar – 50 Best-Tip Countdown + Exclusive Q&A with Doyle Brunson”

Each of the seminars will begin by showcasing a presentation from Mike Caro and conclude with a featured, audience-participation, 20-minute question-and-answer session with Doyle Brunson.


Next self-interview: Mike Caro poker word is Bluffing

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

4 thoughts on “Mike Caro poker word is Favorites”

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  1. Just wanted to say thank you. :)Even though I’ve read a number of articles of yours pertaining to some of these tips, it’s always nice to have them brought to the forefront of the brain. Also, I love your little tidbit in your last response!

    1. Hi, Krystal — Thanks for taking the time to pass along your favorable comments. That kind of talk always makes me feel happy about being a human. And welcome to our Poker1 family. — Mike Caro

  2. Thanks Mike. I like the entries where you list several tips. It narrows down the things I have to do once a hand is dealt. Now I only have to determine the table type, loose/tight, aggressive/passive; analyze the action before me, calls, raises, folds; compare chip stacks; calculate pot odds, implied odds and the number of outs (after practice I can do these with only my fingers, I used to have to use my toes); I already watched for tells from the nine other players at the table except from the guys with sunglasses, hoodies or caps pulled down to their upper lip and the ladies with so much Botox they can’t smile or even blink; Oh Crap, I forgot to look at my hole cards, now I have to start over again…

    1. Hi, Rick —

      Funny.

      Actually, keeping track of so many factors is a problem for everyone, including myself. The trick is to focus on what you think are the most important things right now. Other factors might sometimes be spotted anyway, despite not being focused on.

      With tells, this is especially important. If your try to scrutinize all your opponents at once, you might never see any tells.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

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