McHaffie: MCU lesson 049 / College Tour 2005

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2005.

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 49: College Tour 2005

Doyle Brunson, who endorses the online poker room named for him — — teamed up with Mike Caro University of Poker and sent us on a whirlwind 10-day excursion. We began our seminar tour of seven colleges on April 19. We would go to San Diego State, Cal State Northridge in Woodland Hills, California, Colorado University in Boulder, Denver University, Ohio State in Columbus, Penn State, and finally on the 28th we would finish up at Northeastern in Boston. It was an exhausting schedule indeed, but a productive one.

However, nobody from Northeastern showed up. The public relations people had provided incorrect information and the actual locale where the event was held wasn’t anywhere near the campus. There were three colleges nearby, but unfortunately, they weren’t targeted. They were also using ‘Gorilla  Marketing’, which foregoes direct advertising for merely word of mouth. Let me tell you, that doesn’t always work!

Some of the players that did show up for the Boston seminar had driven three to six hours. Altogether, there were only 14. Yet, like a trooper Mike went through with that final seminar, anyway, and it was special. Doyle Brunson called during the first stages and, since there were only a few in the audience, Mike passed the phone around and many got to speak personally with Doyle. If there are any poker players at Northeastern, please e-mail me. I’m just curious.

College kids

There are many college students now playing on-line and we discovered in the seminars that they are also playing as much real-world poker as they are online poker. At the first six seminars, the audience enthusiasm was more than we’d anticipated. Anyone who still believes poker is an aging game for aging players needs to do a rethink.

One student inquired about how some people seem to play out of position at the table. Mike explained how he frequently does this. He observes the players who are waiting to act, when they look at the cards, watching for their reactions. In this way, he can determine who isn’t interested in playing for the pot. If a lot of players are planning to fold, then he doesn’t need as strong a hand to enter the pot with as you’d think.

Another question

Another student asked  how to determine the best table. Mike warned against sitting at a table devoid of laughter. These players are serious and are not having fun. They are determined to win and in a no-nonsense way. Tables with laughter mean that the players are looser and they are having fun.

He went on to tell them about “Caro’s Threshold of Misery” and how it applies not only to poker, but to real-life experiences as well. If you’ve determined, going in to a game, that you can only lose about $1500, and you go on to lose, $1800, then $2000, and then $2500, Mike declares that losing $2800 isn’t going to feel any different. You’ve crossed that threshold where you no longer feel the pain of losing any more money. It doesn’t seem to matter to you anymore.

Ah, but at some point, later, it is going to matter. That applies to real-life. If you’re going through difficulties in a relationship or with your job, you can reach that threshold of misery there, as well. The extent of the pain you’re suffering has reached a point where you don’t think it could get any worse. You don’t care anymore. How much worse could it possibly get? But it can, and you have to care and you have to make the right decisions, now.

Go win!

This was a point that Mike tried to stress with the audience. The right decisions really do matter. The decisions you make can affect you today, as well as in the future. That applies in everyday life, as well as in poker.

Then Mike finishes the seminar with a final affirmation, “I am a lucky player. A powerful, winning force surrounds me.” “Go win!”  — DM

Next entry in Lessons from MCU series


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