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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons from MCU
— With bonus content by Mike Caro (pending) —
Lesson 74: Poker tips from Mike Caro
Today we’re going to go over my selection, from among tips that Mike thinks are important, for your learning experience. I’ve discovered that this collection is especially helpful to me, personally. I’m not presenting them in any particular order, and most of them invite more in-depth explanations. A few of them I’ve covered in previous lessons. Perhaps I’ll devote whole columns to some of the others in the future. For now, here’s my list…
- Asking your opponents how they would play hands will often gain you valuable information by making them feel important. Many times the players’ egos will take over, and they’ll throw caution to the wind to proudly bask in the glory of answering you.
- If you’re considering bluffing, keep in mind that if your opponent acts as though he’s going for his chips, or staring at you, he probably isn’t holding a strong hand and doesn’t want you to bet, so he’s hoping to discourage you. This is a good time to bluff.
- If you’re going to bluff, be quick and be sure about it. If you hesitate, you’re going to make your opponent wonder if you’re truly holding something threatening.
- When you’re in the blinds, it’s often better to just call instead of raise, as you’ll be getting better pot odds. The amount of your blind becomes diluted and less important if you raise and the pot odds (the size of the pot weighed against your total wager) are reduced.
- Always treat your opponents as you would want to be treated. If you’re friendly and cheerful, other players will enjoy being at the same table as you. They will be more likely to give you extra play with their weak hands, because you’re fun to play against. They don’t mind seeing you win, and they aren’t going to be quite as upset with you, because you’re a likeable person.
- Scout the tables, observe the players and choose your game carefully. That way, you’ll have a better chance to make your business as a poker player a more profitable one.
- If you’re on a losing streak, moaning about it to other players will motivate them to play better. They’ll perceive that you’re someone they can beat. Instead, you should act confident, stay cheerful, and remain upbeat, even if things aren’t going as well as you’d expect. By keeping your spirits up, you can deal better emotionally.
- If you notice a tell, don’t let on that you did, because that will alert your opponent, and he’ll be more careful about revealing that tell in the future.
- When you’re losing, it is better to be conservative than aggressive. Opponents notice your bad fortune and believe you’re an easy target. They play better against you, meaning that many of your aggressive plays backfire. So, just sit back, be patient and conservative, and the cards will often come back around for you. That’s when you can go back into attack mode.
- You want the player on your left to be your buddy. This endeavor could provide more profit to you as he has positional advantage and you don’t want to incur his wrath.
- Many times simple play is the wisest, instead of being fancy and trying to impress your opponents.
- When you’re holding a debatable hand that you’re going to pitch if challenged, pause before checking, to give your opponent a chance to wonder, and he’ll often check, too. This gives you a free card and a chance to make a better hand.
I hope that these tips give you something to ponder. — DM