McHaffie: MCU lesson 070 / Hollywood poker awards

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2006.

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 70: Poker awards in Hollywood

I attended a major poker awards ceremony last night, February 15 in Hollywood. Mike was invited to present Doyle Brunson with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

I was amazed how well the diverse people in poker relate to one another. For one evening, well-known poker players put aside their egos. Mike tells me that often their personalities have a tendency to collide, but not on this night. Although the awards ceremony was sponsored by Card Player magazine, Stan Sludikoff, the publisher of Poker Player, was gracious enough to attend.


One thing about this event bothers me. The category choices seemed under control of the sponsors. Some of the winners, not surprisingly, were decided by a vote of the sponsoring magazine’s readers. I’m wondering if this provided an unintended bias toward players who are featured in or write for that magazine. Maybe all poker-related magazines and newspapers, including their readers, should come together in a massive campaign to decide who is most deserving of the selected awards.

I was personally disappointed when Mike Caro wasn’t nominated for the Most Entertaining Player Award. As I’ve written before, I think he’s the most fun to watch of any player and keeps his table mesmerized. I overheard several people blurt out his name, before the nominees were announced. Mike doesn’t agree with me on this, but I always thought that the requirements for someone to be entertaining would be that they possess good grace and humor, instead of a deliberately aggravating nature (which is what I think award winner Mike Matusow employs). Mike Caro thinks anything can be entertaining if it gets your attention.


I wonder whether the results might have been different in several of the categories had this been a ceremony that was governed by all magazines and all readers. There was, however, one choice that was made that everyone agreed upon and the sponsors got right. That was the Lifetime Achievement Award for Doyle Brunson.

Prior to the event, I overheard Mike and Doyle discussing whether they should mention, which they both endorse and which is named after the legendary poker master himself. In my opinion, everyone would have taken such a mention in stride. After all, there were others on stage that plugged online poker sites other than However, Doyle and Mike thought it would be in poor taste to mention Doyle’s Room, and kept their silence. I think that is admirable! This further raises Doyle’s stature in my mind.

An honor

In presenting The Lifetime Achievement Award, Mike Caro said it was more than an honor and a privilege to be the poker representative that handed the award to Doyle, it was also an act of admiration and was one of the most fitting things he’d ever done.

Mike said, “Not only is Doyle unquestionably the best recipient for the award, but no one else even comes close.” Mike then told a story about how Louise, Doyle’s wife, had to be the one to inform Mike that Doyle had been hurting badly because he needed a hip replacement, but wouldn’t tell anyone. Mike confronted Doyle about why he hadn’t said anything and Doyle responded, “Complaining wouldn’t make it hurt any less.” I think that’s something to think about.

Doyle took the stage, and talked about the celebrity status that now goes with top name poker players. He said that pretty young women often approach him nowadays, but unfortunately they say something like, “You remind me of my grandfather.” Then he paused, dramatically, as if cherishing the moment, and quipped, “That sucks!” This brought on a round of laughter that rivaled the reaction to emcee Brad Garrett’s many funny lines throughout the evening.

All in all this award show was a first class event, but I still wish it could be handled in a less proprietary manner. It’s possible Mike might be a little sensitive about this column because when I ran it by him, he said, “I don’t think I’d say it that way, but it’s your column.” — DM

Next entry in Lessons from MCU series


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