“The Mad Genius” gives his shortest poker answers

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Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was originally published (1993) in Card Player magazine.

Rediscovered and added to Poker1 in 2014.
Also enhanced with more questions.

Sometimes important poker questions can be answered by simply a “yes” or a “no” or a “true” or a “false.” That doesn’t mean that detailed answers are worthless. It just means that sometimes an answer can stand on its own.

Here are four categories of answers, each followed, by the questions that fit.


• If you begin rolled-up with three kings in seven-card stud, should you usually raise from an early position?

• If you begin with a pair of aces in hold ’em, you’ll make significantly more money by raising than by calling from an early position?

• Is the four-color deck (each suit identifiable by a different color) ever coming to a major cardroom, as Mike Caro has promised? (Note: It’s now more than two decades later, and the four-color deck is still “coming.” But its eventual acceptance is inevitable.)

• Would seven-card stud be a better game if the rankings were based on all seven cards, instead of five? For instance, would the game be more appealing if three pair beat two pair (or even three of a kind), a “full stadium” — such as 9-9-9-9-4-4-4 — destroyed any full house, a six-card flush beat a five-card flush, but not a seven-card flush, and so on?

• Would Mike Caro be willing to provide a major cardroom with the rankings needed to play stud correctly based on all seven cards?


• If you begin rolled-up with three fours in seven-card stud, should you usually raise from an early position?

• When you start with a buried pair of aces in seven-card stud, would you rather play against just one loose opponent than against three loose opponents?

• Is it always a mistake to check if you flop a small three-of-a-kind in hold ’em?

• Is it usually a mistake to check if you flop a small three-of-a-kind in hold ’em?

• Some players contend that typical card cheaters are really quite honorable away from the poker table. Is this notion correct?


• In $30/$60 limit razz, correct use of a “wild and playful” image can potentially turn a $5-an-hour loser into a $35-an-hour winner.

• If you could wire players to measure their pulse rate, you’d find that ace-to-five lowball generates more heartbeats of excitement per hour than hold ’em.

• If you could wire players to measure their pulse rate, you’d find that limit hold ’em generates more heartbeats of excitement per hour than no-limit hold ’em.

• Most players capable of winning for their lifetimes at poker end up losing because they play too big for their bankrolls.

• Suppose you cut a deck 1,001 times, or even a million times. You put the top portion on the bottom and the remaining portion on the top, which is the definition of a normal “straight” cut. The size of each cut is totally random; perhaps you cut 50 cards one time, 11 cards the next, and 31 cards the next. At the end of all that effort, after all that cutting, you deal the cards face-up clockwise in a circle. Now every card between the first and last will be adjoined left and right by the same two cards as when the cutting began.


• If you play high-stakes poker, you are more likely to be cheated in a public casino than in a home game.

• When you’re first to draw in ace-to-five lowball, you should often put in an extra raise to determine whether you should break a hand like 9-6-4-3-A and draw one to the six.

• You’re more likely to start with ace-king suited in hold ’em than with a pair of aces. (Note: You’ll be dealt a pair of aces three times for every two times you’re dealt ace-king suited, on average.)

• Under most methods of shuffling and dealing in casinos, you’re more likely to end up with the same cards you held last hand than random luck suggests for a full-handed game.  — MC

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Mike Caro

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mikecaro FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/caro.mike Known as the "Mad Genius of Poker," Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority of poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full biography at Poker1.com.

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