McHaffie: MCU lesson 131 / Lesson for Dan

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2008.

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 131: A lesson for Dan

I recall as a kid watching Grizzly Adams, starring Dan Haggerty. Well, today I had the pleasure of watching a rare video tape that featured Dan Haggerty and Mike Caro, attired as Mississippi Riverboat gamblers. It was a real treat, as well as a learning experience.

Dan was requesting tips on how to be a winning poker player from Mike. Mike pointed out that in due course good players would triumph over poor players. This inspired Dan, giving him hope that Mike could teach him how to be a good player.

As Dan pointed out, Mike transformed the game of poker in 1983 with ORAC (Caro spelled backwards), his computer that had the ability to beat world champion players. Mike remarked that most players have a tendency to ignore the established scientific research and plod on in their own merry ways. If you apply these recognized methods, you can be a winner.


Dan expressed a concern about the necessity for memorizing the statistics from Mike’s section in Doyle Brunson’s Super/System, in order to help his game, thinking it a formidable chore. Assuring him that there wasn’t a need to memorize the charts, Mike pointed out that they are just one of the valuable tools that can assist you in understanding poker.

When playing poker, there are several important concepts to bear in mind, which Dan and Mike discussed. You should be an “aggressive” player. You want your image to be one of strength, courage, and confidence. Yes, it is necessary to be “selective” about the hands that you play, but you can’t just sit and wait to win.

You should be “assertive”, as that eats into your opponent’s confidence level, thereby resulting in terrible decisions on his part. Because of that, assertiveness can gain you more money by the hour. Appearing meek will cut into your profits and cost you money.

It’s necessary to be “confident” and “crisp” in your bets. Bet like you have the best hand. Show your opponent that you are someone to be concerned about. These concepts will affect both you and your opponents hugely. You will notice a difference in how you feel and how your opponents treat you.


Don’t let superstition influence your play, Mike tells Dan. Mike doesn’t believe that there is a “lucky seat” but he does believe that you can choose your seats carefully. You want the loose, wild players to your right, as well as skilled, forceful players. You will have the advantage of acting after these players. As Mike pointed out, most of your profits will come from your right.

Protect your bankroll

Mike warned Dan that traditional money management advice can be harmful. If you’re in a profitable game that you can afford, there isn’t any reason to jump up and leave, just because you’ve hit a predetermined, magical, maximum loss. You could be costing yourself potential profit if you practice this “Stop Loss” method. However, if you’re in a game where you are continuing to lose, your image may suffer and you might slip into an unprofitable situation. If so, it’s better to leave. Protect your bankroll.

Dan put Mike’s advice to the test when he finally had the opportunity to play. Dan’s jovial personality made the game pleasant and he sympathized with an opponent who left the game with a damaged bankroll. Dan was in the process of winning all the chips.

As the video demonstrated, it’s necessary, as a winning player, to be “selective, confident, aggressive, assertive, and friendly.” That’s a winning combination. And never forget that “your decisions matter!” — DM

Lesson 132 currently unavailable. We’re trying to find it. When we do, we’ll include it in the library.

Please proceed to Lesson 133: To rebuy or not to rebuy

Next entry in Lessons from MCU series


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