More hot, haunting notes from the past


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was originally published (1992) in Card Player magazine.


Once again, let’s peek into the pages of my old poker notebooks. Strange note begins . . .

Just had an unfortunate experience in an ace-to-five lowball game. Obnoxious kid kept cursing other players. While his opponents acted intimidated and yielded, the kid grew more and more outlandish, like a spoiled child testing his limits. Finally, I looked him dead in the eyes and said, “Go to your room!” He seemed stunned, angry, confused.

He started to protest, but no syllables penetrated the silence. Finally the kid shrugged and apologized, “I guess I needed someone to tell me I was out of line.”

It’s hours later than when I began this column. And now I’m in a lowball game, writing between hands. So, be patient. To me, my note about the kid points out what’s happening socially in America . . . Darn it, I just got a seven-five cracked. Serves me right, I was drawing dead . . . Anyway, some radical reformers must secretly be amazed that the establishment will not stand up to them, no matter how nonsensical their demands.

Just as these ordinary poker players sat by and let the kid spoil their game, Americans might sit by and let a few emotionally deprived radicals try to gain attention by perverting well-intentioned women and minority movements. I’m betting these movements will become causes more interested in getting a reaction than in achieving fairness. By 1990, much of what you say and do will be said and done carefully for fear of being deemed sexist or racist or worse.

Oops, just lost another big pot! This repression by hypersensitivity will fail, finally, under the weight of its own absurdity. Not because of strident right-wing opposition. Not because of a cry for moderation. Not because of logical argument. This modern madness will finally fall when people realize that they have been intimidated essentially by overage children seeking discipline from their “parents.” At that point, someone will simply say, “Go to your room,” and it will all be over.

. . . Note ends. I don’t get it. You?

Sandbagging: Fair or Unfair? In big-league poker, sandbagging (also known as check-raising) is a way of life. But in small home games, it’s often outlawed or believed unethical.

You and I know that sandbagging is a powerful weapon, and it’s a shame if you’re not able to use it.

So, another note from the past: A diplomatic way to sell sandbagging is to explain how opponents that act first have a disadvantage. Explain how you can partially compensate for this in the interest of fairness by allowing sandbagging.  — MC

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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.

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