Targeted poker quiz 33: Motivation (advanced)


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)

Motivation (level: advanced)

  1. If you decide not to do something harmful to your poker bankroll, and you stick to your resolution day after day, you might one day be in the wrong frame of mind, make a bad decision, and do the harmful thing. To avoid this (as Mike Caro University of Poker advises), you should…

    (a) use a stream-of-consciousness approach to let your good thoughts put your bad thoughts in a virtual “locked nest of inordinate security”;

    (b) punt;

    (c) divide yourself into two entities — one who makes the rational decisions at home and one that goes out to follow orders, but cannot give them;

    (d) find someone who will act informally as your advisor, always on call and willing to be at your side within 20 minutes of any infraction.

  2. Which is the only reasonable statement below?

    (a) Married poker players almost never bluff, so if you’re married, you can surprise opponents by making bluffs — which is a self-motivating endeavor;

    (b) About half the players go on tilt sometimes in their poker careers; the other half don’t, and that other half are mostly winners;

    (c) If you believe strongly enough in your poker abilities, you will win for any period of 17 weeks or longer;

    (d) You should keep in mind that you earn money when you correctly fold a hand, even though you lose the pot.

  3. If you talk about how badly your luck is running…

    (a) you can create a bond with your opponents by seeming honest, and that will help you win;

    (b) you set a trap by surprising your unsuspecting opponents when you finally get good cards.

    (c) you motivate many of your opponents and cause them to play better, because they may think, “Hey, there’s someone unluckier than I am — someone I can beat”;

    (d) that’s bad, because you’re wishing for bad luck by dwelling on it, and if you wish hard enough, bad cards are more likely to be dealt to you.

  4. The statement, “Sooner or later, any player is definitely going to be a lot of money ahead at poker for life, if he just studies a little and stays motivated” is…

    (a) false, because most players won’t have the tools to win by just studying a little, even if they stay motivated;

    (b) true, because a little study is all it takes, if you’re intelligent and friendly;

    (c) false, because even if a player studies enough to win and stays motivated, he’s probably going to lose, even to the weakest players;

    (d) all of the above..

  5. If you have a conservative image and are believed to be a “tight” player, you won’t be called as often when you hold big winning hands…

    (a) true;

    (b) false

  6. If you have a liberal image and are thought of as a “loose,” fun, and confusing player, opponents sometimes will give you extremely weak calls as gifts that they wouldn’t give other players…

    (a) true;

    (b) false

  7. You’re more likely to win if you …

    (a) imagine you’re being paid by the hour, rather than by pots won;

    (b) keep your bankroll divided into 55 segments and never lose more than 1.33 segments per session;

    (c) fold the hands that have given you psychological agony in the past, even if these seem like powerful hands now;

    (d) pretend you’re invisible.

  8. One powerful path to poker profit is to…

    (a) give your opponents “permission” to play poorly by playing poor hands and showing them, with the intent of making those opponents think you play these hands more often than you do;

    (b) leave the table for at least 12 minutes every hour;

    (c)bluff each player at least once in a session;

    (d) all of the above.

  9. Imagine you’re in a home game and you think you might be getting cheated, but are unsure. You should usually quit the game, because you won’t be playing your best poker while you’re worried about it…

    (a) true;

    (b) false

  10. Which statement is true?

    (a) If you’re a skillful player, you can motivate yourself to play better simply by understanding and believing in the power of probability;

    (b) You shouldn’t be concerned with winning or losing streaks;

    (c)Most players exaggerate their bad luck when they relate what happened to them when they lost at the poker table;

    (d) All of the above


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Motivation (level: advanced)

  1. If you decide not to do something harmful to your poker bankroll, and you stick to your resolution day after day, you might one day be in the wrong frame of mind, make a bad decision, and do the harmful thing. To avoid this (as Mike Caro University of Poker advises), you should…

    (a) use a stream-of-consciousness approach to let your good thoughts put your bad thoughts in a virtual “locked nest of inordinate security”;

    (b) punt;

    (c) divide yourself into two entities — one who makes the rational decisions at home and one that goes out to follow orders, but cannot give them;

    (d) find someone who will act informally as your advisor, always on call and willing to be at your side within 20 minutes of any infraction.

    Answer: (c) Part of the MCU motivational teaching is to imagine that you’re two people – one who stays at home and makes rational decisions about your long-term behavior and one who goes out into the world to obey. That way you won’t make irrational choices based on heat-of-the-moment emotions.

  2. Which is the only reasonable statement below?

    (a) Married poker players almost never bluff, so if you’re married, you can surprise opponents by making bluffs — which is a self-motivating endeavor;

    (b) About half the players go on tilt sometimes in their poker careers; the other half don’t, and that other half are mostly winners;

    (c) If you believe strongly enough in your poker abilities, you will win for any period of 17 weeks or longer;

    (d) You should keep in mind that you earn money when you correctly fold a hand, even though you lose the pot.

    Answer: (d) It’s important to realize that you earn money, not lose it, when you correctly fold a hand – even though doing so means you lose the pot.

  3. If you talk about how badly your luck is running…

    (a) you can create a bond with your opponents by seeming honest, and that will help you win;

    (b) you set a trap by surprising your unsuspecting opponents when you finally get good cards.

    (c) you motivate many of your opponents and cause them to play better, because they may think, “Hey, there’s someone unluckier than I am — someone I can beat”;

    (d) that’s bad, because you’re wishing for bad luck by dwelling on it, and if you wish hard enough, bad cards are more likely to be dealt to you.

    Answer: (c) You shouldn’t talk about bad luck, because – by doing so – you motivate your opponents to play better against you. That’s because they believe you can be beaten easily and they target your money.

  4. The statement, “Sooner or later, any player is definitely going to be a lot of money ahead at poker for life, if he just studies a little and stays motivated” is…

    (a) false, because most players won’t have the tools to win by just studying a little, even if they stay motivated;

    (b) true, because a little study is all it takes, if you’re intelligent and friendly;

    (c) false, because even if a player studies enough to win and stays motivated, he’s probably going to lose, even to the weakest players;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (a) Just studying poker a little and staying motivated doesn’t mean you’re definitely going to win.

  5. If you have a conservative image and are believed to be a “tight” player, you won’t be called as often when you hold big winning hands…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a) It’s true that if your image is conservative and you seem like a tight player, you won’t be called as often when you hold big winning hands.

  6. If you have a liberal image and are thought of as a “loose,” fun, and confusing player, opponents sometimes will give you extremely weak calls as gifts that they wouldn’t give other players…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a) It’s true that if you have a loose, liberal, confusing image and are fun to play with, opponents will sometimes make extremely weak calls against you – call they wouldn’t make against other players.

  7. You’re more likely to win if you …

    (a) imagine you’re being paid by the hour, rather than by pots won;

    (b) keep your bankroll divided into 55 segments and never lose more than 1.33 segments per session;

    (c) fold the hands that have given you psychological agony in the past, even if these seem like powerful hands now;

    (d) pretend you’re invisible.

    Answer: (a) You’re more likely to beat poker if you imagine you’re being paid by the hour for making the right choices, rather than by pots won.

  8. One powerful path to poker profit is to…

    (a) give your opponents “permission” to play poorly by playing poor hands and showing them, with the intent of making those opponents think you play these hands more often than you do;

    (b) leave the table for at least 12 minutes every hour;

    (c)bluff each player at least once in a session;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (a) A powerful way to win at poker is to give opponents “permission” to play poorly. You can do this by showing them that you play weak hands and conveying that you enter pots with more of those inferior hands than you actually do.

  9. Imagine you’re in a home game and you think you might be getting cheated, but are unsure. You should usually quit the game, because you won’t be playing your best poker while you’re worried about it…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a) Suppose your in an unfamiliar home game. It’s true that you should often quit that game if you’re concerned about cheating, even if those concerns are unwarranted. It’s too hard to make quality decisions when you’re worried about other things.

  10. Which statement is true?

    (a) If you’re a skillful player, you can motivate yourself to play better simply by understanding and believing in the power of probability;

    (b) You shouldn’t be concerned with winning or losing streaks;

    (c)Most players exaggerate their bad luck when they relate what happened to them when they lost at the poker table;

    (d) All of the above.

    Answer: (d) All of the first three statements were true. Skillful players can motivate themselves by believing in the long-term power of probability, you shouldn’t be concerned with winning or losing streaks, and most players exaggerate their bad luck.


Next MCU Targeted Poker Quiz in this series

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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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