McHaffie: MCU lesson 039 / WPP Conference III

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2004.

This is part of a series by Diane McHaffie. She wasn’t a poker player when she began writing this series. These entries chronicle the lessons given to her personally by Mike Caro. Included in her remarkable  poker-learning odyssey are additional comments, tips, and observations from Mike Caro.

Diane McHaffie index.

Diane McHaffie is Director of Operations at Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy. She has traveled the world coordinating events and seminars in the interest of honest poker. You can write her online at

Diane McHaffie

Lessons from MCU

— With bonus content by Mike Caro (pending) —

Lesson 39: World Poker Players Conference III

On November 6, I attended the 4th Annual World Poker Players Conference at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Mike Caro was the emcee. Poker visionaries Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Mark Tenner founded this conference four years ago.

I’m going to continue this lesson with the final speakers and the Question and Answer panel and then summarize what we have learned.

Mark Tenner and Linda Johnson followed after the break with their presentation, “Learn How to Eliminate Costly Mistakes from your Omaha 8 game.”


Some of the mistakes often made included: not value betting the river, especially when you have made a backdoor draw; misplaying ace-ace hands; being too worried about getting quartered; playing bad two pair hands; playing 3-2 in early position (don’t do it!); chasing non-nut straights (don’t do it!).


Mike Sexton followed with his presentation “Sexton’s Secrets to Success.” His secrets included these tips: (a) pay attention, (b) learn how to survive, (c) tight players don’t win tournaments, (d) don’t be afraid to play a pot, (e) chips are power, (f) be careful calling all-in bets, (g) stealing the blinds (h) bluffing-low level players don’t try.

He concluded by suggesting that you “Go for the Gold.”

The conference finished with a Question and Answer panel headed up by Doyle Brunson, Jennifer Harman, George Epstein, and Roy Cooke.


They were asked about the differences in tournament play vs. cash games. The answer was that you have to approach it as two different games, with two different strategies.

What adjustments have to be made between the two? With cash games you play immediately, whereas with tournament play it can last days. The first day you sit a lot and play tighter, the second day you can be more liberal, then the third day you can take more risks.

Mentally fit

George Epstein spoke about seniors who played poker and how beneficial he felt poker was in helping them to be more mentally fit. He also feels that poker is instrumental in providing new friendships for seniors. He frequently holds poker seminars for seniors.


So, in summary, we have learned from Lee Jones that some of the strategies needed for Sit and Go’s are patience, position, aggression, looking for chances to double through cheaply, getting good implied odds, and mistakes made by others. He advises us to sit down and observe the action before beginning to play.

Daniel Negreanu’s presentation focused on whether you’re playing to win or just moving up the ladder. He also stressed that position was important and playing against shorter stacks than you whenever possible was advisable.


Mike Caro then taught us that “thinning the field” could work against you if strong players are in and weak players are waiting to act. You don’t want to chase the weak hands out.

He said that in dealing with poker bullies you should call more, raise less, and “value bet” less. He then told us that you need a much better hand to overcall than to call, that players who just sat down are good bluff targets and that you should seldom bluff into more than two opponents.

Positives and negatives

Mark Gregorich spoke about the positives and negatives of poker. Some of the positives were the ability of having a flexible schedule, playing the games of your choosing, and playing whenever you choose to. The negatives were that sometimes you find it necessary to work weekends, and holidays. You’re responsible for paying the bills with your winnings, and for your own retirement, and insurance.

He suggests that you focus on winning each session and that you should play when you have an edge and quit when you don’t. He recommends that you don’t whine about bad beats or criticize your opponent’s play.

Barry Tanenbaum taught us about the six P’s: position, people, pasteboards (cards), predictability, pot odds, and planning. He too, stresses how important position is. — DM

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