Mike Caro poker word is Online

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published (2008) in Poker Player newspaper.

Today, our questions relate to online poker. Despite current legislation aimed at preventing United States players from participating in worldwide poker games, poker’s future is online. That doesn’t mean real-world poker rooms won’t prosper. In fact, over the new few decades they’ll become much more common than they are today. But most poker activity will be online.

So, let’s get started with this short two-question interview. As always in this series, I get to ask the questions and answer them. Hey, it’s my entry.

Recommended related entries at Poker1.com:

Death of poker in America (text of Caro 2006 speech)

Legal online poker bill clears committee (Caro blog)

Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act

Question 22: When will online poker return to the United States?

Actually, it never left.

Current laws make it illegal for real-money online poker rooms (and other online gambling sites) to headquarter in the United States. All the major Internet poker rooms are licensed in and operate from foreign soil. They are governed by regulations, pay taxes, and act as respectable businesses.

The United States has never made an effort to arrest or inhibit poker players from participating online. And it’s unclear whether playing is even illegal in most states.

Clearly, most players don’t think of themselves as criminals and don’t believe they’re morally wrong when they take a seat at a poker table on the Internet. Legislation is aimed primarily at discouraging online play by putting the burden on financial institutions to prevent money from getting to those tables. This has partially succeeded. But many online poker rooms continue to welcome United States customers — including Doyle’s Room, FullTilt, PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, Bodog, and Absolute Poker.


The question is, really: When will the legislative madness stop? Truly, it is madness for our elected officials to act as our parents, instead of as our servants. This is precisely what they do when they try to prevent Americans from participating, while players from around the world legally sit at the tables, honoring our poker tradition.

The answer to when online poker will fully return to the United States is soon. You just need to visualize.

The exact scenario is cloudy, but it’s hard to see a future 10 years from now when Americans are still leaving empty seats in the worldwide poker arena. There will be too many opportunities for sanity to seep in.

We’re living in an age where increasing tolerance for diverse lifestyles and activities surrounds us. In an era where adult videos permeate, where state-sponsored lotteries are hyped, and where citizens are demanding less and less interference in their social lives, it’s hard to imagine that a little thing called poker will be forever forbidden. A ban like that doesn’t fit in. And it simply won’t endure. Trust me.

Question 23: Who’s really against online poker?

Almost no one.

Some politicians have sought to gain favor with a perceived powerful minority that is adamantly against online poker. They’re catering to a ghost they imagine, but that doesn’t exist. I know. I live in the Bible Belt — on a lake near Branson, Missouri, just a mile north of Arkansas.

Yes, I’m surrounded by fundamentalism and more churches than you can count on a 12-mile drive to the Wal-mart Supercenter. But these are friendly people who live and let live.


So, I began to ask: Do you care if I play poker online? So far, dozens of people don’t care and no one has expressed an opinion against online poker. It’s a non-issue.

In fact, out here there exist Texas hold ’em nights at bars and restaurants everywhere. Nobody pickets. Nobody complains. Nobody is shocked. There is simply no outcry against poker. So, clearly you offend more voters than you cater to by banning poker.

And it’s primarily the fact that, politically, there’s little to gain and much to lose by pretending to be anti-poker that means this short-lived blip in poker prohibition will fade. By being opposed to poker — online or in the real-world — politicians put themselves on the wrong side of an issue with no votes to gain.

Why waste energy doing that? No reason. So, eventually, prohibition won’t continue. We’ll just look back on it as a brief period of historic silliness and ponder why it was. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

Visit Mike on   → Twitter   ♠ OR ♠    → FaceBook

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.


10 thoughts on “Mike Caro poker word is Online”

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  1. Hi Mike!
    As allways I read poker1.com, but in this case, I wonder how much of the facts of this article had change, despite of it’s core still remains meaningful. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Best Regards from pensarpoker.com Argentina.

    1. Hi, Carlos — Actually, much has changed AND much has stayed the same. I’ll be revealing new online research in the near future. As far as legislation, if not tomorrow, maybe next week — or next century. Hard to handicap right now. — Mike Caro

  2. i personally dont care for online poker love face to face inter action at table as longas people still come out once in a while let them play where ever there comfortable

  3. I Probably wouldnt have gone broke if i didnt listen to that guy. He’s a very successful player though. But that play is higher variance.

  4. Continued – The opponent’s range is probably pretty wide. I recently had a couple of these situations occur after watching a poker video on youtube saying playing for 1st place is all you need to do and basically only worry about chip ev. I was already on a big downswing and listened to his advice. The results. i called with aq and aks and finished 5th and 4th. Both when i had the chiplead. I’ve always preferred to look at prizes and not call of my chips if it could cost me prize money. I recently played higher than i could afford. Something that hurt so much when i went broke i never intend to do that again. I’ve been very conservative with my bankroll and kept it for 3/4 years in online poker total. Until something unrelated to poker infuriated me so much i stopped caring.

  5. Hi Mike. Only just found out about this site. Love your work. What are your thoughts on the maths of the 3 bet shove. I personally can’t stand the play because it relies on complicated factors and knowing opponents call ranges etc, and the unknown factor of when / if they adjust. But i see top earners online frequently using this play and swear by it. I cant remember if im correct in the following statement, but i think the idea is that if you just 3 bet (raise a preflop bet) then you’d have odds to call if they went all in. I could be wrong. but it still doesnt add up to me. Youre still risking 14000 to win 2000. Some players risk 20000 to win 2000. Do you prefer the reraise or the all in?

    Ok, say there were 4 left in a turbo tournament.

    1st = $396
    2nd = $264
    3rd = $150
    4th = $97

    youre chipleader with 75000, then its 70000, 50000, 50000. Blinds are 2000/ 4000 with 200 ante or whatever it is. You min raise raise AQ off and a 50000 stack moves all in on you. Is this a fold?

    1. Hi, “limited donk” —

      There isn’t an easy answer, whether measured by tactics or mathematics.

      You shouldn’t ever move all-in to “protect a hand.” That’s a logical fallacy. You might move all-in, because that’s the most-profitable choice, but protecting a hand has nothing to do with it, at least in a regular game. In tournaments where the prize pool is divided proportionally among the winner and a close group of finishers, survival matters most until you’re heads-up. When it’s down to two players, survival no longer matters and you can play your best (and most aggressive) poker.

      You’ll find many entries at Poker1 that explain these concepts.

      Thanks for leaving your first comment and joining our Poker1 family.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  6. Hi, Sheryl, I can feel the frustration you r going thru, for
    Georgia which has other sorts of gamblling, definitely will prohibit to their last breath, the evils of gambling. I guess, to those others, Bingo & the lottery is not evil gambling.
    I was so excited one day, I said to one lady, I was going to
    Biloxi to get into some tournaments. She said, “Oh no, do not
    tell me things like that, that’s is evil”.
    I am in business, & I can’t be rude, so I just leave the floor
    when I see her coming in.

  7. Hi Mike,

    Good to hear more thoughts from you about prohibition of online poker. I, too, live in a town, county, and state where all the streets should be called Church Street. My neighbors are Christians, yet they follow my poker success or lack thereof — dare I say, religiously. However, I have relatives in areas not in the Bible Belt, who are more puritanical. They believe it’s wrong for me, or anyone else, to play poker. But you’re right — it’s not a huge slice of the population.

    It isn’t the voters who determine the legislative agenda of politicians, but rather, the people with campaign contribution dollars. In most states, I suspect we have more to fear from B&M casinos (tribal and otherwise) than from the voters.

    Washington state, for example, has lots of B&M casinos. I read somewhere that about 80% of WA residents believe online poker should not be a felonious crime. Yet, the government made it so four years ago and their State Supreme Court upheld the law a few weeks ago (though they acknowledged the absurdity of the law). Thus, PokerStars pulled out of WA nearly two weeks ago, which has crippled the livelihood of many players.

    With so much public support (or indifference, at worst) in WA, I hope the Poker Players Alliance or someone else will work on getting a simple voter initiative passed to overturn the anti-online poker law. If WA can get their law overturned within a year, perhaps other states won’t attempt the same law. Perhaps. The legality of online poker is murky at best in several states right now (WI, SD, OR, NV, IN, IL, MT, LA).

    While history may indeed end up showing this as a brief period of silliness, we online players have to live through it as it happens. I urge your readers to keep up on what is happening in their own state as well as other states. What happened in Washington state could happen anywhere. Massachusetts tried to piggyback an anti-online poker law onto another law recently. Fortunately, the PPA learned of it and helped eliminate it.

    Online poker players can’t afford to be lazy about this and wait for it to become history. We need to advocate for ourselves when our beloved hobby or necessary income is threatened and not just wait to see what history says about it in ten years.


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