Targeted poker quiz 07: Motivation (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)

Attitude and motivation (level: beginner)

  1. If you know how to win, then the most important secret to actually winning at poker is…

    (a) finding games that are challenging;

    (b) dressing like a winner;

    (c) keeping at least 10 buy-ins in your purse or pocket for psychological assurance;

    (d) playing your best game all the time.

  2. You will do better if you treat opponents…

    (a) politely;

    (b) indifferently;

    (c) contemptuously;

    (d) as you would enemies at war.

  3. You should go into a game…

    (a) hoping to play hands;

    (b) eager to make correct decisions;

    (c) certain you’re going to win;

    (d) unwilling to accept a loss.

  4. You should…

    (a) strive to win each time you play, even if it’s only a few dollars;

    (b) not care whether you win or lose for a session, as long as you make good decisions;

    (c) expect that the cards will break about even over a month of play;

    (d) decide whether you’ve been on a lucky streak lately when considering what limits to play.

  5. The limits you play should be…

    (a) large enough to give you at least some chance of doubling your poker bankroll in a 14 hour period;

    (b) large enough to motivate you, but not large enough to be uncomfortable;

    (c) about half as large as you played yesterday, if you lost;

    (d) about twice as large as you played yesterday, if you won.

  6. Of the hands you play, the bigger the percentage you get drawn out on…

    (a) the better you’re probably playing;

    (b) the worse you’re probably playing;

    (c) the more likely you are to be playing too many hands;

    (d) the more you should complain to management.

  7. You should realize that…

    (a) bad players often will be winning at your table while you’re losing;

    (b) you can’t overcome the luck factor at poker – even in the long run;

    (c) luck will even out for everyone over the course of a year’s play;

    (d) good players will eventually get luckier than bad players.

  8. The statement: “Good players eventually beat bad players” is…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

  9. One of the worst money management habits that keeps skillful players from succeeding professionally is…

    (a) reading too many poker books without bothering to take notes;

    (b) not bluffing often enough;

    (c) spending too much of their bankrolls;

    (d) buying in for just the minimum.

  10. Complaining about your bad luck won’t affect your expectation for profit…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Attitude and motivation (level: beginner)

  1. If you know how to win, then the most important secret to actually winning at poker is…

    (a) finding games that are challenging;

    (b) dressing like a winner;

    (c) keeping at least 10 buy-ins in your purse or pocket for psychological assurance;

    (d)playing your best game all the time.

    Answer: (d). You can learn a lot and become very skillful at poker, but the most important secret to actually winning is to play your best game all the time. The majority of players who are capable of winning fail to win because they don’t do this.

  2. You will do better if you treat opponents…

    (a) politely;

    (b) indifferently;

    (c) contemptuously;

    (d) as you would enemies at war.

    Answer: (a). Treating opponents politely gives you an image that has more potential for profit.

  3. You should go into a game…

    (a) hoping to play hands;

    (b) eager to make correct decisions;

    (c) certain you’re going to win;

    (d) unwilling to accept a loss.

    Answer: (b). When you enter a game, make sure your primary goal is to make the right decisions.

  4. You should…

    (a) strive to win each time you play, even if it’s only a few dollars;

    (b) not care whether you win or lose for a session, as long as you make good decisions;

    (c) expect that the cards will break about even over a month of play;

    (d) decide whether you’ve been on a lucky streak lately when considering what limits to play.

    Answer: (b). Since making the right decisions is the primary key to profit at poker, you shouldn’t care whether you win or lose for a single session – as long as your decisions are solid.

  5. The limits you play should be…

    (a) large enough to give you at least some chance of doubling your poker bankroll in a 14 hour period;

    (b) large enough to motivate you, but not large enough to be uncomfortable;

    (c) about half as large as you played yesterday, if you lost;

    (d) about twice as large as you played yesterday, if you won.

    Answer: (b). Try to choose limits that are large enough to be meaningful – so that you’re motivated – but not uncomfortably large.

  6. Of the hands you play, the bigger the percentage you get drawn out on…

    (a) the better you’re probably playing;

    (b) the worse you’re probably playing;

    (c) the more likely you are to be playing too many hands;

    (d) the more you should complain to management.

    Answer: (a). When you get drawn out on a large percentage of the hands you play, that’s usually a sign that you’re playing better than your opponents. When you go in with the better hands most of the time (as you should if you intend to win) the main way you lose is to get drawn out on. That’s why superior players get drawn out on more often than they draw out on inferior players.

  7. You should realize that…

    (a) bad players often will be winning at your table while you’re losing;

    (b) you can’t overcome the luck factor at poker – even in the long run;

    (c) luck will even out for everyone over the course of a year’s play;

    (d) good players will eventually get luckier than bad players.

    Answer: (a). Don’t get discouraged when you see bad players winning. This happens often. And the next time you play, you’re likely to see bad players winning again. But it probably won’t be the same bad players – because, over the long run, bad players lose, despite the fact that there are so many of them that a few are winning at any given moment.

  8. The statement: “Good players eventually beat bad players” is…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a). It’s true that good players eventually beat bad players. If you’re playing well enough to win, let that single truth inspire you whenever you’re frustrated by bad luck.

  9. One of the worst money management habits that keeps skillful players from succeeding professionally is…

    (a) reading too many poker books without bothering to take notes;

    (b) not bluffing often enough;

    (c) spending too much of their bankrolls;

    (d) buying in for just the minimum.

    Answer: (c). You must avoid spending too much of your poker bankroll if you expect to succeed professionally. If you start with a $3,000 bankroll, build it to $25,000, then think that’s more than you need and spend $20,000, what happens? Then you’re very likely to lose your remaining $5,000 and go broke. If you do, you will have won $22,000, spent $20,000, and lost $5,000. You should be $17,000 ahead, but – instead – you’re broke and begging, not even having your initial seed bankroll. This type of thing happens often, so beware of the danger.

  10. Complaining about your bad luck won’t affect your expectation for profit…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (b). Complaining about your bad luck will affect your expectation for profit in very bad ways. Specifically, opponents will be motivated by your misfortune, become inspired, and play better against you.


Next MCU Targeted Poker Quiz in this series

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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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