Targeted poker quiz 06: Opponents (beginner)


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. This 39-part series of quizzes, originally published (2004-2006) in Poker Player, is based on the Mike Caro University of Poker library of research and advice. In each entry, Mike Caro presents 10 questions covering a category of poker, targeted for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players. Answers with explanations appear below each quiz, with the questions repeated for easy reference.


The MCU Targeted Poker Quiz series

(See the index to this series)

Understanding your opponents (level: beginner)

  1. In public poker rooms, what most closely reflects the number of long-term winners to long-term losers?

    (a) fewer than one out of 10 players win;

    (b) the ratio of winners to losers is almost exactly even;

    (c) nobody wins;

    (d) strangely, there are almost twice as many winners as losers.

  2. On average, women poker players are…

    (a) vastly superior to men;

    (b) more likely to play bigger limits than men;

    (c) harder to bluff than men;

    (d) more likely to quit a poker game to go deer hunting than men.

  3. Players with tattoos are…

    (a) usually very tight;

    (b) less likely to play conservatively;

    (c) almost never going to bluff;

    (d) usually planning to quit the game if they start losing.

  4. It is more important to make friends with…

    (a) the dealer;

    (b) players sitting to your left;

    (c) players sitting to your right;

    (d) players who are not at your table, regardless of whether you like them.

  5. Most of your opponents come to the table with…

    (a) the strong belief that they’re going to get rich playing poker tonight;

    (b) the expectation that they’re almost certain to lose;

    (c) too little money to last for the first hour;

    (d) a bias toward calling.

  6. If opponents who are losing heavily try to raise the limits and get rejected by the other players, they will usually…

    (a) quit the game immediately;

    (b) play more loosely in an attempt to get even;

    (c) enter into a physical fight;

    (d) get so boisterous they’ll be barred by management.

  7. Opponents whose spouses are looking over their shoulders tend to…

    (a) bluff;

    (b) play more conservatively;

    (c) get unlucky;

    (d) get lucky.

  8. The player you should least consider bluffing is…

    (a) one who is losing heavily;

    (b) one who wins consistently;

    (c) one who is wearing a green shirt;

    (d) one who is wearing blue slacks.

  9. Players who have been drinking a lot of alcohol usually…

    (a) are too distracted to bluff;

    (b) realize they are going to lose a lot of money quickly;

    (c) are the toughest to beat;

    (d) call more often.

  10. Younger players are typically…

    (a) easy to bluff;

    (b) unprofitable to call;

    (c) playing poker mostly to meet potential dates;

    (d) worse at poker than older players.


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Understanding your opponents (level: beginner)

  1. In public poker rooms, what most closely reflects the number of long-term winners to long-term losers?

    (a) fewer than one out of 10 players win;

    (b) the ratio of winners to losers is almost exactly even;

    (c) nobody wins;

    (d) strangely, there are almost twice as many winners as losers.

    Answer: (a). In public card rooms, you don’t need to just be better than your opponents. You need to be better by at least enough to overcome the rake or the rent that the casino receives as fair compensation for its facilities and services. Fewer than one out of 10 players are able to do this.

  2. On average, women poker players are…

    (a) vastly superior to men;

    (b) more likely to play bigger limits than men;

    (c) harder to bluff than men;

    (d) more likely to quit a poker game to go deer hunting than men.

    Answer: (c). Women poker players are harder to bluff, possibly because they’re used to men taking so many shots at them that they realize it’s often profitable to call.

  3. Players with tattoos are…

    (a) usually very tight;

    (b) less likely to play conservatively;

    (c) almost never going to bluff;

    (d) usually planning to quit the game if they start losing.

    Answer: (b). Players with tattoos are less likely to play conservatively, but the older and more faded the tattoo, the less reliable this indication is.

  4. It is more important to make friends with…

    (a) the dealer;

    (b) players sitting to your left;

    (c) players sitting to your right;

    (d) players who are not at your table, regardless of whether you like them.

    Answer: (b). It’s important to make friends with players to your left, because they hold a positional advantage by acting after you. You can sometimes tempt them to take less than full advantage of their position, just by being friendly.

  5. Most of your opponents come to the table with…

    (a) the strong belief that they’re going to get rich playing poker tonight;

    (b) the expectation that they’re almost certain to lose;

    (c) too little money to last for the first hour;

    (d) a bias toward calling.

    Answer: (d). Most players have a bias toward calling. They want to find reasons to play pots and call bets.

  6. If opponents who are losing heavily try to raise the limits and get rejected by the other players, they will usually…

    (a) quit the game immediately;

    (b) play more loosely in an attempt to get even;

    (c) enter into a physical fight;

    (d) get so boisterous they’ll be barred by management.

    Answer: (b). If opponents find themselves losing heavily, try to raise the limits, but are rejected, they’ll usually play more loosely in a desperate attempt to get even.

  7. Opponents whose spouses are looking over their shoulders tend to…

    (a) bluff;

    (b) play more conservatively;

    (c) get unlucky;

    (d) get lucky.

    Answer: (b). Most people play poker more conservatively when spouses or friends are watching.

  8. The player you should least consider bluffing is…

    (a) one who is losing heavily;

    (b) one who wins consistently;

    (c) one who is wearing a green shirt;

    (d) one who is wearing blue slacks.

    Answer: (a). You should seldom try to bluff an opponent who’s losing a lot of money. They’re often not thinking critically and likely to call.

  9. Players who have been drinking a lot of alcohol usually…

    (a) are too distracted to bluff;

    (b) realize they are going to lose a lot of money quickly;

    (c) are the toughest to beat;

    (d) call more often.

    Answer: (d). Players who have been drinking typically play a less-selective brand of poker and call you more often.

  10. Younger players are typically…

    (a) easy to bluff;

    (b) unprofitable to call;

    (c) playing poker mostly to meet potential dates;

    (d) worse at poker than older players.

    Answer: (d). While there are excellent young players, as a group they are more likely to be inferior to opponents with more experience.


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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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