Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published (2007) in Poker Player newspaper.
True, I care about poker and the people who play it. It’s not an act. But it’s not a noble trait, either.
It’s just some sort of neurosis I’ve developed while straying from life’s freeways and hacking my own silly path. Something deep, deep in the core of my conscience compels me to exaggerate the importance of poker and to empathize too deeply with its practitioners.
So, I care. But there are things I don’t care about. And that’s what I want to address today.
Look, I’m an egomaniac; I know that. I’m proud of my accomplishments.
But others have been busy living their own lives, so they don’t know all the magnificent details of mine. But I don’t care.
My director of operations, Diane McHaffie keeps telling me I should be concerned about people rewording my advice without my permission (or even attribution) and loading up web sites and books with what she calls “their own versions of your ancient wisdom.” That’s a direct quote and I’m assured it was meant to be a compliment.
More troubling, says Diane, is that you can find pirated copies of my books and videos all over the internet. She keeps bringing me examples. Then she involves me in the legal discussions and gets upset because I don’t seem to care.
See, here’s the deal: It’s not only that I don’t seem to care; I actually don’t care. If those varmints end up falling on the tracks and are run over by a locomotive, I won’t care about that either. You see, caring sometimes takes too much energy.
Not caring about luck
It’s the same at poker. Not only do I think I’ve had some of the worst high-profile luck in modern poker history, actual televised hands seem to back that up.
Since I so seldom venture into the tournament arena, it would be nice if the relatively few times I’m seen on ESPN, Poker Superstars, WPT special events, or the NBC heads-up world championships (mostly by invitation) would reward me with great cards and excellent results.
But, instead, I have to hope that viewers see that I was usually beaten when I had a great advantage. And in the long run, that’s all that matters — to get your money in with the best hand. Beyond that, you shouldn’t care. And I don’t.
I’ve had my share of great luck in poker. I’m satisfied with my lifetime results.
I could moan and groan about televised bad beats. But, since I’ve resolved not to speak of my own misfortunes, I’ll never put that complaint in print — except for making this point today. I’ll never share that misery with anyone. And nobody will ever know how I feel.
In fact, I’ll go about my poker life not caring if I’m dealt good hands or bad hands. I really, really don’t give a damn if those invisible dastardly demons who’ve singled me out as a poker lab experiment — to see how much torture I can endure — continue to torment me.
Repeating: I don’t care. I hear you — I’m stealing your thoughts. You imagined that the dastardly demons were only treating you that way! Now you learn they’re sometimes doing it to Mike Caro, too. Come close and listen. Everyone feels that way sometimes. The best players. The biggest winners. The fattest wallets. The sore losers. The rank beginners.
It’s a universal mental meltdown at poker, thinking you’re secretly suffering the worst fortune in history. You feel as if you’re suffering alone. And the cure is not to care.
So, I don’t care. There will be good days and bad days. There will be people who try to steal my stuff, publishing it as their own, and people who will praise me. There will be times when the cards will seem magic and make me richer. And there will be times when the dealer makes me poorer. I don’t care.
The right science
I care about using the right science to decide whether to call or fold — that’s what I care about. And if my decision is right, I’ve done my job. After that, I don’t care how the story ends. Really — I don’t care!
I don’t care if history forgets me in some monumental, hideous oversight. I don’t care if I never win another stupid pot and go broke, suffering egregiously for every moment of the rest of my life because of the hideous, biased, cruel decisions of whoever oversees the distribution of cards.
I don’t care if I’m never invited to another TV show by those unbelievably misguided producers with teeny-weenies who say I’m too white and male and old for their “demographic,” as I haven’t been after unwisely turning down my last invitation.
I don’t care if I never win another poker tournament, being I haven’t entered a single event in 13 months, anyway, or if my career ambitions and my happiest dreams never materialize because of jealousy and politics and idiots. Why should I care?
Sometimes it makes me angry, thinking about all those things I don’t care about. But at least it helps me realize how little they matter to me. — MC